Chatta Workshop: Helsinki Education Week
A Chatta Visit to Daycare Arabia Kindergarten, Helsinki
It has been an honour for Chatta to be asked to contribute to the first Helsinki Education Week and this has included a Chatta workshop at Daycare Arabia.
Today I worked alongside staff with a number of groups of children. As with everything to do with Chatta, meaningful activites involving the children provided valuable starting points. Images captured through the Chatta app were combined with modelled language and oral rehearsal.
Some of the children began to use English words and phrases, but most spoke in Finnish, allowing us to create bi-lingual Chatta resources.
The children responded well to the workshop and during the morning completed a number of different activities each leading to outcomes which supported progress in oral narrative competence. Meetings with staff focused on the evidence-base, evolution and wider impact of the simple Chatta approach.
The Kindergarten is relatively new and moving forward strongly under the leadership of Kindergarten Director Olli Kamunen and his team. The setting of a former office block has provided a number of spacious rooms and long corridors with plenty of opportunities for play, exploration and discovery. I enjoyed learning about the Finnish approach to early education and see lots of parallels with the EYFS although there is a definite sense that in England learning is formalised much earlier.
Olli Kamunen explained how relationships and partnerships with parents are the cornerstone of the provision at Daycare Arabia along with staff who have the confidence to enable learning through experiences, play, creativity and physical activity.
There is a clear focus on the wellbeing of every child. Olli talked about the importance of developing good social habits, respect for others, independence and resillience supported by an environment tailored to support language enrichment and communication. The sense of a deep understanding of what ‘school readiness’ means, looks like, why it matters and how to achieve it shone through completely.
I look forward to supporting Olli and the staff, children and families at Arabia Daycare, as they move forward in the use of the Chatta approach, which I am very happy to have seen, is entirely complementary of the existing vision and direction in the setting .
Huge thanks to Olli Kamunen and the staff and children of Arabia Daycare for welcoming me to their setting and allowing me to share the Chatta approach. Special thanks to Christel Manninen and Helsinki Education Week for the opportunity and arranging the workshop.
Chris Williams, Helsinki, November 2018