Sunday, 21 October 2012

Its started here.... and reflections three years later...

One has to start somewhere - and this is my start.

Sometimes my head is so full of ideas that I do not know where to put them - so I have decided to put them here.

Not at all sure where this journey is going to take me...

It just a case of finding out now.

it has begun...


I can hardly believe that three years later I am still writing and sharing my learning journey... and what a journey it has been... not only one in my setting with the preschoolers... but also one that has taken me far and wide... to Canada, to USA, to Iceland, to Palestine and to my home country of UK...

I continue to share my reflections of working with early years education here in Stockholm, Sweden... and sometimes people from the rest of the world have come to me... Australia, USA, Palestine, Turkey, Iran, Norway, UK, Singapore... 

it is such an honour to meet  all these people, these educators, these philosophers, these citizens of the world passionate about children's right to be heard, to play and to learn... to be valued. We learn together we share our experiences and I feel richer and wiser for having met these people.

My journey is far far from over... the more I travel and learn the more I realise how little I know, how much there is left to explore, to discover, to try and understand better and deeper and wider. And there is so much joy in that.

I have also, during this time gone from working as a preschool teacher to working as a head teacher/director (but still have my role as teacher of young children too!!). This means my journey takes another turn... I am facilitator with the children and my colleagues... to facilitate our learning and our growth.

Three years ago I never imagined I would be holding workshops both here in Sweden and abroad - and yet I do... and I enjoy it so much... I feel it is so important that we share our knowledge with each other - because we don't do this for our own prestige... but for the children... and by sharing our wisdoms, our failures, our successes, our reflections etc we can enable children, we can empower children... and hopefully contribute to a btter world.

I often shake my head with sadness at the state of the world, the horror of war, of injustice, of occupation and how that impacts people of all ages... not least children as it limits play immensely... and it is through play that children learn, that children are creative and learn social skills... social skills are essential if we hope for a world of peace... so I am blogging for play... play for peace.

the magic of this play with light felt right to be the magic of play, of imagination of interaction... and so seemed fitting to be the image for my blog...

playing with children in Jenin Refugee camp... getting down on my hands and knees WITH the children was something that took the teachers there by surprise...

the joy of visiting other settings to be inspired... here is an image from my visit to Ekudden that I did together with Diane Kashin from Canada... a friendship forged in the play and learning of young children.

over the last two years I have been documenting the parks and play-spaces in Stockholm... its not a speedy project... its done when we have the time at the weekend and my children come with me...

I have been lucky to visit Boulder Jourey School twice... once as part of their summer conference... and also when I gave a workshop there.

of course the children are always central in this blog... reflecting on my interactions with them... as well as their interactions with each other and the world.. a strong belief in their comepetence and thirst to learn... and the joys and wonders of play... ALL kinds of play.

Together with Tom and the wonderful Hulda, who sadly passed away this year at a far too young age, the International Fairy Tea Party was started in 2013... to celebrate children's play and imagination... each year more countries join in the celebration. I fell in love with the products of Fafunia in early 2013 - and I get to watch the wonderous imagination of the children transforming themselves and the clothing in their play on a daily basis. These sets allow the children the freedom to play THEIR way.

My journey did not start at Filosofiska, but in January 2013 I have been sharing my learning journey of working philosophically with children. I thank my colleagues for their time, their energy and their passion for young children. They inspire me on a daily basis.

I started a project "Through the Eyes of the Child" in 2014 to explore how children could share ideas and reflect using the medium of photography. It is an ongoing project. It started with its own blog, but now I incorporate it here so that it does not consume so much time... in the end this is not a well designed blog... but an organic blog... and some day I might start spending more time on making it easier to navigate, but for now it is the children, reflection, listening, play and sharing those ideas as they come...

Of course I am a mother to three amazing children who teach me how to be a better human every day... and test me on it!! My girls, identical twins, are now 14, soon 15 and my son is 11. My son has autism/ADHD and has been a steep learning curve... but a curve that has enable me to be a better teacher...

listening has been an important part of my learning journey... and this year I have dedicated myself to learning more about listening and becoming better at it.

My connection with Canada... Ontario... Toronto... Diane Kashin... is a strong, important one for me... something that I value enormously... allows my brain to do pedagogical somersaults. My trip there in 2014 was the start of me feeling brave about giving workshops... the open, passionate nature the educators had that I met there was truly inspiring... and my friendship with Diane I am grateful for... her blog Technology Rich Inquiry Based Research is a treasure trove of reflection and inspiration for thsoe working in early years.. and education.
Diane visited me here in Sweden this year... and I will be going back to Ontario next year to take part in Rhythm of Learning in Nature #Rhythm2016.

back to thinking, reflecting... and the importance of not telling the children what to do... but scaffolding their learning so they find their own learning rhythm

I do have a Reggio Emilia inspired approach to how I am an educator... in the sense of listeing to the children, seeing the competence, wanting to explore the languages and learning styles of the children and myself and how all of this interacts... so much more that I can hardly explain here... but you can explore my posts to discover more...

I also see children for who they are NOW... and feel this is VERY important. I don't want to be thinking about what am I preparing them for, but how i can meet their needs now so that THEY can prepare themselves for the future.
gender equality is another important area for me... children deserve to be who they are, to feel important, to be valued no matter what their gender is... I have several posts exploring this. BUT it is not just gender... it is all areas of life... religion, sexual preference, culture etc etc...

of course I am also VERY grateful for having a husband that understands my passion of early childhood education... and allows me to take him to the children's area at the Expo2015 in Milan because it has been designed together with the folks from Reggio Emilia... this was on our romantic weekend away... like our first weekend away from the children in 14 years!!


And I would like to thank all of you who read my blog, give feedback, share the posts and use them as a seed to reflect... I hope your learning blooms and flourishes.
 

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