Sunday, 8 January 2017

observations... (Palestine 5)

I spent a few hours at the preschool, here at the Freedom Theatre, this morning.
it of course left me with the frustration of not being able to speak the language... and without a translator we did our best, and I am grateful for the words of English the educators there speak with me.

This is a centre that is trying hard and is extremely interested with the idea of learning THROUGH play... and not the concept of making lessons "playful".

It is an enormous jump to make... it is a leap of faith... in the children, in play, in each other, in themselves. I have a great deal of admiration for these educators striving to do something very different from the education they have had themselves... and having never really seen it being modelled.

The whole morning the children I was with were indoors... I felt that if they had been outside for a while for some of that energy to be run off the focus on indoor activities would have gone smoother.
it was a lot of free play, there was a meeting, more free play, a story, more free play and then some colouring pages were brought out for the children to colour in, with pencils that were brought out for the activity.

But, outdoor play is not a natural thing in this culture as it is in Sweden... and I no there are educators in UK and USA that complain about the lack of outdoor play and learning in their settings... but really it is virtually non existent here.

The camp though is a very cramped urban area so there simply are not the large areas for running around for children in the vicinity... this preschool does go outside, and has gone on excursions. They also have a small play yard including a sandbox... which is a rare thing in the area and has apparently become quite an attraction outside of preschool hours... sadly others do not always respect the sandbox and rubbish is left behind and sand thrown around. (Swedish preschools can have problems sometimes in their yards as they are freely available to the public out of hours... this has meant that I have found broken glass, cigarette butts, stolen goods and even refuse after drug use in the children play areas over the years... thankfully not often).
Finding a balance between making the area available to others for play and keeping it in good condition for the preschoolers play can be a tricky one.

Tomorrow will be the first day I hold the course..
I will start with exploring the educators ideas on their own childhood education, reflecting on the good and the bad, and how we can create a preschool that focusses on those good points and avoids the bad... and why were they bad/good?
We will explore the circles of being a teacher... you can read this post called "What it takes to be a preschool teacher" to find out more. And ending with a presentation about listening... to the children, children-children... and also professional listening as colleagues...
There will be a game to play, possibly two, depending on focus and time.

when I first arrived everything was spread all over the floor, I helped picking things up, and one of the children helped me set the table... that encouraged other children to come and start a orange juice party

furniture was rearranged so that the children could do some colouring in... there was not enough room for all children... but that seemed to be to each child's preferred way of drawing/colouring in

the sandbox with mudkitchen


  1. I'm really enjoying hearing of your experiences in Palestine- it is fascinating to hear of how preschool is out there and inspiring to know how open they are to developing further the early years system through exploring International Perspectives. I am sure that you are benefitting greatly and I am really looking forward to your next installment and ultimately your book. At college we have put a link to your blog for the students on their information portal. We are all learning from your work - enjoy and keep going you are doing an amazing thing.

    1. it is an amazing experience for sure... to be in a culture so different from my own... to see the similarities amongst the differences... to see the love for children in a place that is filled with the sounds of gunfire on a daily basis... sometimes keeping you awake at night...
      But those thoughts are for another post...