Seven educators from Iceland came to visit and stayed to play. They engaged the children, and quietly observed classroom routines. One participant said afterward, “I saw happy children and the teachers were really “there”, listening to the children and giving them their full attention.”
They were interested in learning about how Bloomingdale implements its HighScope curriculum which emphasizes attentive listening and observation of children learning.
We are interested in the school system they come from: a network of 14 kindergartens and 3 elementary schools that follow the Hjalli model. The children work in small, same-sex groups groups for the greater part of the day, and then spend time in mixed settings where the focus is on mutual respect and positive collaboration. This approach is to ensure that all of the children get equal attention and opportunities. Their central aim is equality for all people and an atmosphere that will lead to creativity and new ideas, all within a democratic framework that encourages everyone to have a voice. Read more about the Hjalli model on their website, and look at their interviews and videos.
Hjalli founder Margrét Pála Ólafsdóttir gave a TED talk on the model: Not only children- they are boys and girls Take a look to get a sense of this vibrant educational community!