The purpose of this exercise was to encourage the teachers to find out what the children already know, and how they understand a subject/topic, and from that be able to provide experiences, books and research opportunities for the children to deepen their learning or to discover new perspectives and new information.
The educators told me about what their children had said about Jenin and Palestine. What I found really interesting was that it was pretty much the same sort of things that children I have worked with in Stockholm have said about their city and country.
For young children their city is not a place as much as a series of relationships. Their relationship with their home, often the best place in a city because their parents are there. Relationships with others - educators and friends, relationships with play spaces, many children talked about the "playlands" that can be found in and around Jenin. These are not playgrounds but more like the indoor playlands that can be found in Sweden... these ones here have inflatable castles, trampolines and rides.
The children also talked about shoes, food... not so much talking about the shops, but the things that can be bought in the shops... just as I have heard the youngest children in Stockholm recount to me.
The educators here in Jenin and myself marvelled at this new understanding we had of children. That despite the miles, despite the cultural and lingual differences these children of Stockholm and these children of Jenin viewed their city with the same perspective.
We are now putting a book together about Jenin and Palestine... using the children's words and perspective as well as those of the teachers... many of them have been displaced from their homes and have found themselves here in Jenin.
At the end of the week we should have created a small book that will not only share the children's thoughts (that I will be able to share with children and educators in Stockholm when I return) but also with more information for the children here in Jenin to discover about their own country.
Since the teachers marvelled at the young children's ability to see the beauty, even within the refugee camp, the book will focus on the beauty of this land.
|view from my home from home window.|
|up on the mountain overlooking Jenin... the refugee camp if the part closest to the hill, with the water tanks on the roofs and the buildings much closer together|
|at this time of year it is beautiful and green... and the smell of orange blossom is amazing... I wish these photos could share aroma! Although these are olive trees!|