A day filled with visits and meetings.
The sun shining warm and glorious, oranges and lemons growing on trees, flowers blooming a perfect start to the day.
We started by meeting all those involved in The Freedom Theatre's new play "The Siege" that will be touring UK later this year. The Siege - UK tour - if you click on the link you can find out more about the play - and also about a small piece of Palestinian history. I recommend you taking the time to check out this link, it will allow you to understand the background of where we are right now.
During the rest of the day we have visited three preschools..
The first setting we visited was a large Christian preschool open for all children aged between 3 and 5. Ninety children attended the setting and there were four teachers and two volunteers working there with the children.
There is a focus, we were told, on reading and writing as this is what the teachers in school expect (that the children already know this) and also what the parents are expecting - a visible learning, which is the academic learning of reading and writing. So of course the rooms and walls reflect this expectation.
The second place we visited was a Christian setting for 0-3 yr olds - here there was a 1:5 ratio of adults children. There was little furniture and the setting had no access to an outdoor area. The teachers interacting with children believed in each child as a unique individual and that love is essential foundation in learning - if a child feels safe they are able to learn and build upon that. The largest rooms of the apartment turned into a nursery school was used for sleeping with mattresses and cots.
The last place we visited was a newly started nursery school with just five children and a teacher… there is room for up to 60 children, so there are plans to expand. They also have a large outdoor area, where only part of it is in use as a play area at the moment. We will be going back there tomorrow to see more. Today was an opportunity to meet the women's co-operative that has started this nursery as part of a way to support women - those without work, they also have a catering business - the idea is not so much to give women money, but to give them an opportunity to earn money.
Right now my head needs to rest after a whole evening reflecting on what I have seen today, and planning a presentation/workshop for the nursery school tomorrow based on what I have seen today. So this is all you are going to get for now… I have to get that presentation finished...