Margrét Pála Ólafsdóttir
Margrét Pála Ólafsdóttir was born in 1957 in Akureyri and raised in Northern Iceland. She graduated as a preschool teacher from the Icelandic college of education in 1981 after having worked for a few years as an unqualified preschool-teacher. After graduation Margrét started working at a Reykjavík daycare center but in 1982 she became a director of the preschool Steinahlíð where she started developing the basics of the pedagogy that later was named the Hjalli method. In 1989 Margrét became the director of a new preschool in Hafnarfjörður called Hjalli. There she continued developing rather unusual pedagogical methods such as sex-segregated classes, natural play material instead of conventional toys and a long forgotten belief in discipline as a way in training social skills. These methods were considered provoking and the school was a matter of much dispute in the beginning, but in later years the Hjalli pedagogy has been gaining ground and today about 11 preschools in Iceland use the Hjalli Methods partly or in whole. Margrét Pála Ólafsdóttir finished her M.Ed degree from the Icelandic University of Education in 2000 and a MBA from Reykjavík University in 2011 and is now directing her own company, Hjallastefnan ehf, which specializes in preschool management. In 1997 Margrét got the prize of the Minister of Equal Rights for her work on the Hjalli Pedagogy. On June 17th 2006 Margrét Pála received The Knight’s Cross of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon from the President of Iceland for innovation in Education.
1981 B.ed. degree (preschool teacher) from the The Icelandic College of Education.
1996 60 ects units (diploma) in school management from The Icelandic University of Education.
1997 20 etcs units of quantitative and qualitative research methodology from The Icelandic University of Education.
2000 M.Ed. degree from The Icelandic University of Education.
2011 MBA from Reykjavík University.