Two staff members from Midford Road Nursery in Bath, Lily Holland and Katie Victor-Trott, recently travelled to International Play Iceland in October to experience pre-school education with other early years professionals from around the world.

The trip allowed educators learn about how Icelandic preschools support borth the development of their children and in-turn their whole community through their ethos and practice.

“The outdoor play focus and belief that all children are confident, capable people in their own right, which was clear throughout the pre-schools visited in Iceland, is in line with the ethos of Midford Road and Oldfield Road Nurseries,” said Lily. “Children learn and develop through play, through having freedom to explore their world and their abilities, and through knowing they have the love, support and knowledge of adults alongside them. We saw this in Iceland, and we see it every day in our settings which is lovely to reflect on!”

Play Iceland 2019 was an exceptionally breath taking experience,” added Katie. “The dramatic, sensory and moody skies acted as the perfect backdrop to bring together a mix of dedicated professionals. The focus of the experience was to share and enhance what determines best practice in early childhood education. Play, as a concept, would often take centre stage within discussions, with its importance debated and considered.

“It was truly stimulating to pull ideas apart, rethink current education and welcome suggestions that can potentially enhance the services we offer to children. It was refreshing to be alongside like-minded people, that just want children to be children, learning to be playful.”

“We spent the week with some truly inspiring colleagues, including Tom Hobson (known online as Teacher Tom) and Tom Shea, who are both international champions of the play-as-learning approach that we embrace at Midford Road and Oldfield Road Nurseries,” Lily explained. “Play is truly the most important and fundamental experience for children, and it was just so exciting to share ideas, discuss problems and hear how other experienced professionals embed play into their settings. The things we learnt and friends we made will be shaping our practice, helping us develop our environment and taking us on all kinds of inspiring new adventures in 2020!”