Shelby in Copenhagen

Shelby is a junior President’s Scholar majoring in dance and psychology. In Spring 2009, she is taking classes at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad in affiliation with the University of Copenhagen and also will be taking dance classes at Dansens Hus professional training school.

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Children and croissants

Today, I went to the Danish Institute for Human Rights for a field study with myDSC03256-300.jpg Danish Politics class. We had a very interesting presentation from four workers at the Institute, addressing a number of “hot topics.” Among those discussed were the political history and importance of political interest groups (specifically the Institute for Human Rights), issues of ethics concerning immigration and assimilation, the Danish prison system, etc.

In the afternoon, I visited a special after-school program for children with movement disabilities for my Children with Special Needs course. The school worked with young children with a wide range of cognitive, physical, and learning disabilities. The children were divided into small groups with others with similar needs and a high pedagogue-to-student ratio. They participated in a number of activities based on the ideas of sensory-integration theory.

Most notable was an obstacle course created by a physiotherapist on staff. The obstacle course was constructed in such a way that the children always had to change levels and/or textures when walking or moving from one space to another. They had to walk along a soft, unstable mat, step over a block, crawl over an incline and under a hanging block, and walk across different colored and textured blocks. Such changes increased the sensory stimulation and responses in each of the children, helping them to gain a greater spatial awareness (particularly of their body in space) and improved sense of balance.

DSC03262-300.jpgThe methods the pedagogues employed to stimulate and teach the children were simple but effective. A great emphasis was also placed upon achieving a sense of community and kinship among the children in each small group so they wouldn’t feel isolated or limited by their disabilities. Compared to some other facilities, the school I visited was modest, but the theories and goals were inspired. I was very much impressed.

Later today, I made homemade croissants with Szymon from his Grandma’s recipe. Homemade dough filled with either apples or dark chocolate – yum! (Well, technically he made most of them. I was cooking dinner after I returned home from the Albertslund gym, so I only made a few on my own. I did, however, make an inspired apple AND dark chocolate croissant that was quite tasty!) I’m still trying to convince Szymon to give me a copy of this recipe!!

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