Safe Learning in kindergarten includes children, employees and parents and is implemented by using systematic measures that combine instruction, activities that foster a harmonious and secure environment and by the use of conflict management. This work involves a continual focus on strengthening the social competency skills of both children and adults. Safe Learning uses methods that stimulate the development of empathy, foster cooperation, self- assertiveness, self- control and responsibility.
This is in accordance to the Framework Plan from Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training that outlines and specifies the content and requirements for kindergartens (2011) with reference to values, academic competency and specialized areas of focus. The key words associated with values (Chapter 1 /framework plan) include participation (article 1.5 /framework plan), equality and increasing awareness / thought process. With reference to academic competency the Framework Plan refers to fostering social as well as language skills (article 2.4 and 2.5/framework plan), specialized areas include communication, language and writing skills (article 3.1 / framework plan), ethics, religion and philosophy (article 3.5 /framework plan).
In addition to working proactively by implementing systematic measures (i.e teaching techniques and activities) it is also necessary to provide instruction for the use and application of conflict resolution techniques. Conflict resolution methods can be applied to remedy the situation when the child to child relationship or child to adult relationship has broken down. Although conflict resolution is an important element, it is necessary to note that preventative measures requiring the development of fundamental social skills and relationship building are the most comprehensive part of the Safe Learning model.
The most important tool for Safe Learning in kindergarten is the use of dialogue circles where everyone sits together in a circle and talks about how they feel and what their needs are. The dialog circle is arranged according to age. In addition to dialog, music and singing games can also be incorporated. Safe Learning methods are not intended to be an additional activitity, but rather should be incorporated into the kindergarten’s existing activities. Preventative work can include dialog circles during regular gatherings for the children. Dialogue circles can also be used for regular staff meetings and incorporated when concluding parent-teacher meetings.
The most important criteria to ensure that these systematic measures will succeed is commitment from management. Continual focus must also be given to reflect on how methods can be modified to fit into the existing plans in the kindergarten. Safe Learning for kindergartens is not a program that should be followed rigidly, but rather a thought process to reflect on methods that can be used in the kindergartens’ work to ensure a healthy environment for and around children, employees and parents.