Conversation with Bryndís Gunnarsdóttir from Iceland

In this podcast we welcome our guest Bryndis Gunnarsdóttir who speaks about the Icelandic National Curriculum and the Icelandic context for playschool teachers. With passion, Bryndis also shares her research which examines friendship relations and social interactions in the toddler peer group in an early childhood education and care setting in Iceland using conversation analysis (CA). Throughout the conversation, we weave perspectives of early childhood educators/ playschool teachers, instructors, and students.

We welcome your thoughts and comments,
Antje, Selena, Patricia, and Bryndis

2 thoughts on “Conversation with Bryndís Gunnarsdóttir from Iceland

  1. I just want to say thank you for everyone who took the time to discuss these valuable things, and the opportunity I had to gain an international perspective of infant and toddler curriculum.
    I have reflected on this recording in my personal blog for one of our courses, and thought I would add them here!:

    In Iceland, there seems to be high value placed on the education of the playschool teachers, with an extensive knowledge base including a masters degree to become an educator. I found this interesting, with contrast to our own diploma to work in early environments only being two. As well, there is a guide to curriculum, but the way it is implemented can vary depending on philosophies. They hold to 6 pillars of learning within early learning, which flows into the other levels of education children will follow. According to Bryndis Gunnarsdottir, they are ‘literacy, sustainability, health & welfare, democracy & human rights, equality and creativity’. As in BC, many approaches such as Reggio, Waldorf and High-scope curriculums are seen. However, one area I would be interested in looking into more, which I have not heard of over here (and correct me if I am wrong) is the philosophical method of Multiple Intelligences from Gardner. I would be curious to see how teaching in this manner supports individuals and the many ways of learning. Children are given opportunities to learn in exploratory manners, using sensorial experiences to gain understanding of the world and communicate in the ways they know how. I enjoyed Gunnarsdottir’s view of even young children being capable communicators and ‘little scientists’, focusing on children being capable and competent. There has been a shift with how adults view children here, not just being empty vessels to fill, but that they have more ability than we may see, though there is still progress to be made with toddlers.

    • Thank you for your comment. I do know that there are some playschools here in Iceland that use the Multiple intelligences from Gardner as the basis of their school curriculum. And interestingly enough, I used Gardner’s theories as my theoretical framework for my bachelors thesis. His ideas do indeed go very well with the Icelandic national curriculum and this view of the child as capable and competent, as there really isn’t one way of being capable and competent. And when you are working with the youngest children in ECEC, looking at what they can do differently that had traditionally been done, does indeed allow us to see them as able to do so much more than previously thought.

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