For education to evolve, no matter where you are in the world, parents need to be involved.
This is so the case here in Jenin.
The participants on the course have told me how it is not easy to implement a play approach to learning because parental expectation of education requires them to show completed worksheets and homework... even for the young children... and school teachers are expecting kindergarten children to be learning to read and write before they start school.
My focus with the parents was about being physically and emotionally ready to read and write... to build up motor strength in arms, and hands and the whole body to enable the child to sit down and focus and write, and how through play this can be done. About the need to self regulate, the need to be able to truly listen... to understand and not just hear... so that learning in school can happen... if a child is still learning how to self regulate in school then there will be less energy for learning "lessons" is a child does not have the body strength to sit, most energy will be wasted on trying to sit rather than on the "lessons". AND that children before the age of 8 do not learn in the same way as we do when we are older...
This is something I will be going into more later with the participants too... as this coming week we will be talking about brain research, and various development areas... as well as learning more about observing and documenting learning through play.
After this presentation I visited a women's centre in the middle of the refugee camp... where i could see some women being trained in making jewellery - a way for them to earn money... and also children being taken care of... a sort of out of school care... the blocks were taken out (since it is one of the course participants that works here) and we played together with the children... we built and talked and explored different ways of building... it became clear how the children inspired each other in their constructions and how children tried and tried again to make things work, trying different approaches until they succeeded. The participant and I talked about what we had seen, the learning we had observed as we walked back to The Freedom Theatre.
After lunch I went to see the teacher training centre and the kindergarten that will open there next month... large grand building on the outskirt of Jenin. It appears to be somewhat like a lab school.. with observation rooms for the trainee teachers to watch and observe children learning.
This is a very exciting move for Jenin to have its own training centre... until now there has not been one... hence the desire for The Freedom Theatre to start such a training.
I also met here another member of the ministry of education, the man who is responsible for the schools, including special needs children. So we talked about this to some extent too... how children with special needs can be included in the education system.
It truly feels wonderful to start this collaboration with Jenin's Ministry of Education and to exchange ideas about learning, and how The Freedom Theatre has started something special in Jenin that is so relevant to the direction the ministry of education is taking - learning through play.
Collaboration. Communication. Creativity. Critical thinking.
Four very important "C's" for education around the world.
|playing with the children (face free image, not the best construction image)|
|the newly built teacher training facility and kindergarten.|