Yesterday was my second session.
I have such admiration for these educators... listening to my very different approach to learning... with eyes wide and a desire to implement much of it. They are also aware that the culture they find themselves is not ready for this... parents want to see proof of a different kind of learning... the writing, the reading at ever younger ages.
This is a difficult thing... because learning is not isolated to schools and preschools... learning is life... and learning should be life-long.
This time I finished off the presentation about listening... showing more examples of activities and play that enable the children's listening skills - their empathic listening, their critical listening (listening to understand), their creative listening (listening to build on ideas), their sensory listening (listening to experience the world around them) and their cognitive listening (listening to gain knowledge/wisdom). Their is no science behind these phrases... I have just made them up now to try and explain some of the listening that we develop (they might already exist as ideas... this is something I will be exploring more of as I return to Stockholm).
We played the labyrinth game that I have played with my preschoolers in Stockholm, and analysed together the learning that was happening... turn-taking, understanding that another person does not "see" the same way as you, learning about left and right, learning about angles, learning direction, learning to follow instructions, learning to take responsibility for each other, learning empathy, learning to trust... just to get started on the learning areas...
The idea is that children develop their theory of mind... my preschoolers would point the direction the third child should move in... forgetting that they were blindfolded and could not see and was relying on verbal instructions. The reason for two people to guide is for these children to develop their collaboration skills...
We have also done this outside using sticks to draw in sand/mud/gravel.
When the children had done this a few times we put obstacles in the way to climb over to add to the verbal explanations and directions. It's a game that the children think is fun... a little scary, but the fun kind of scary. The first time, not all children completed it... it was too scary being that dark... but with more attempts and more chances they progressed until they too could manage the course with enjoyment.
The final part of the session was exploring history... Ibn Sina, Comenius, Piaget, Vygotsky, Dewey etc etc and of course one of my favourites... Malaguzzi and the Reggio Emilia Approach.
There were lots of questions about the needs of children with autism and other children with "disabilities" within the school system... and what support was made available so that these children could share their abilities.
Questions about the size of groups/classes, the number of teachers and what the parents felt about risky play, getting messy and playing outside in all weathers.
The minister of education, Kindergartens, Jenin, was there again. I feel that this is a wonderful opportunity for these educators, not only to be pioneers, but to potentially have support through policy.
Today I have spent the day with the 3-5 year olds at The Freedom Theatre preschool, visiting a sheep farm, and drinking fresh sheep's milk. I photographed the excursion and have prepared two simple documentations... from the viewpoint of developing skills for writing (hand strength) and also for learning about nature... I could have gone on to share the learning of math and science too... but felt two were enough for us to talk about on our full day Saturday workshop.