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Greenland: the land where snow and SOLE come together


  Author - School in the Cloud

  Location: Greenland



It seems fitting that in the lead up to Christmas we should take a visit to the most northerly SOLEs we know: in Greenland.

Nestled just beneath the Arctic Circle where spectacular Northern Lights displays are a common occurrence, children in two villages – Atammik and Kangaamiut – are learning more about the world beyond their classroom through the Granny Cloud.

These remote Inuit communities rely on fishing and tourism and the region is sparsely populated – each school has only around 20 children. It’s a very different environment from the usual Granny Cloud locations and as a result a ‘granny cluster’ of four volunteers was created to Skype in each week from all over the world to talk to children from Grade 1 upwards.

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It seems fitting that in the lead up to Christmas we should take a visit to the most northerly SOLEs we know: in Greenland.

Nestled just beneath the Arctic Circle where spectacular Northern Lights displays are a common occurrence, children in two villages – Atammik and Kangaamiut – are learning more about the world beyond their classroom through the Granny Cloud.

These remote Inuit communities rely on fishing and tourism and the region is sparsely populated – each school has only around 20 children. It’s a very different environment from the usual Granny Cloud locations and as a result a ‘granny cluster’ of four volunteers was created to Skype in each week from all over the world to talk to children from Grade 1 upwards.

I spoke to Anna Bolethe Rakel Heilmann, who originally brought the grannies to Greenland, via Skype from her workplace in Maniitsoq, a haven for ski enthusiasts. The snow there is currently about half a metre thick, with skiing now possible on the small fjords inbetween the islands. Usual transportation, however, is by boat, plane or helicopter.

Last week Anna set foot on the sea ice for the first time this winter, an experience she says always makes her a ‘little nervous’ as she’s about to cross, especially when she can hear the ice cracking beneath!

While we were speaking she had to shed a layer of clothing, remarking that, at -15 Celsius, it wasn’t really that cold (it can be more than -20 during the day at this time of year). It’s worth noting that they use the term ‘day’ loosely in Greenland this time of year as there’s not a lot of daylight to go round: in Anna’s hometown the sun rises around 10.30am and is on its way down again by about 1.30pm.

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Granny Cloud | Northern Lights