About...

Time for a bit of an update I thought here... so I felt I should leave the stuff I wrote before... as some kind of historical time line thing... and it does sort of describe my background story... So when it gets to the bit "So what to write... knowing me, a whole load of babble..." then you know you have got to the original "about" description.

So my life NOW...
So much has happened since 2014...
The Through the Eyes of the Child project happened and was a learning process on many levels, not only with the children, but also about how to connect with other people and expectations.
I created a facebook page for the project, which is no longer active... but I keep the page there as a kind of document of what went on... and if it can inspire someone now all the better.

I didn't even mention the "International Fairy Tea Party" back then - well I had only celebrated it once then with about 50 other settings and families from around the globe... last September we were over 120 settings, schools and families that celebrated play and imagination on the Friday closest to the equinox (a day when no matter where you are in the world we have the same number of daylight hours... we are united in play, imagination and daylight... and then we do it according to our own cultures and resources). Many have celebrated for 4 years like myself, and many share images of their decorations or whole day (depending on privacy) so that the children get to feel a part of something bigger... they can see that children around the world play... we see more similarities with each other than differences... and we can be inspired by each other.

As I write this now, I am sitting in Jenin Refugee Camp. I am here as part of a year long course to train early years educators - with a play and whole child focus. For the next 2 weeks or so I will be leading sessions on child development, learning, play and observation. We will discuss together, learn together, reflect together.
I will be back in April, and then it will be about the Third teacher... the environment/classroom and how that influences learning and play. I will be collecting data during this visit now to aid the April part of the course.

I will be working from home in the coming 7 months (with trips here and there) as I have paused working in a preschool... where I was educator and director to focus time on researching more with the aim to write a book... a book to aid reflective thinking as a group of educators.

It feels rather exciting to think that when I return to Sweden I will be starting on yet another adventure.



So what to write... knowing me, a whole load of babble...

In 1992 I moved from York, England to Stockholm, Sweden, with the idea of staying for a year. I worked with a family taking care of their five year old daughter and learning Swedish while she was at preschool.

Me, Suzanne,  - "sometimes a child and sometimes an adult" my favourite description of me
BUT I met John and after the year was up I found myself engaged not only to a man but to a country. I hadn't expected to live in Sweden, it just sort of happened - and 21 years later I am still here, with the feeling of being neither fully Swedish or fully British anymore - I have become a citizen of the world instead. The great part of feeling strongly connected to two cultural identities is that I gain inspiration from both places but also can maintain a sort of objectivity - it helps me learn about what I as an individual think is best for me and the situation I am in (oh, and learning from mistakes too). It has opened up my eyes enormously.

In the 21  (now 24) years of living in Sweden 6 months have been spent together in England and 6 months in Adelaide, Australia, when our identical girls were 6-12 months old (I also feel that if I can survive that I can survive anything - being so far away without a social network to back you up when you have infant twins - well it was exhausting - it was also an experience...). I remember going into an early years setting with the idea of leaving the girls there to able to get a morning off to do the shopping, have a shower - you know the basic things in life. They showed me round - I looked at all the infants propped here and there, most crying, and my whole body was saying "get me out of here" - but I finished the tour and said politely that I would think about it. There was nothing wrong with the setting, the people were lovely - BUT I was not ready to hand over my babies to someone else, and it made me grateful that I was not in a situation where I HAD to leave my girls with someone else...

I have chosen to work part time...  in the last 12 years I have worked full time (40 hours a week) over a continuous 16 month period (when all three children were in school) - but then switched back to part time again when I discovered that school was not designed for my youngest, 3 years younger than his sisters. He has a very different way of viewing the world - and he has been a wonderful source of inspiration - not only as a parent but also as a teacher...
I have learned that some children do not like to wear fancy dress clothes because they are terrified they will stop being themselves...
I have learned that if you ask "Everyone to tidy up now" that he is not called Everyone, and he will continue to play
I have learned that sometimes a child can speak a language well but cannot always listen so well, especially if instructions have more than one stage...
I have learned how to be patient
I have learned far too many things to write here - but knowing him has allowed me to broaden my perspective of children...
Its has also made me an strong advocate that there are NO PROBLEM CHILDREN ONLY PROBLEM SITUATIONS - and that we as parents and teachers need to look at the situation to see how we can adjust it to help alleviate the problems/reactions.

I have ALWAYS been creative. I have always loved drawing, painting, creating, reading, acting. I have also always loved learning. Unlike my son, I was made for school. And I was lucky because I went to a great school for me, where there was lots of creativity and encouragement to learn from our own ideas - and this experience has contributed to me wanting to be a teacher - so that I can enable children to enjoy learning and to feel competent and creative...so here is thanks to  Hempland Primary School for giving me a great start in life.

Three years ago I completed a masters in Early Childhood Education - as I wanted to deepen my understanding of the work that I do and love. It was no easy thing to work, have three children and study at the same time - but I do not regret doing it, and it really has deepened my understanding of what MY role is, and how I need to question what I do. Basically, if I cannot explain to a colleague why I am doing a particular routine/activity with children, then maybe I should not be doing it at all. I should be aware of everything I do, and be prepared to adjust and adapt or maybe totally change through listening to others...

I believe strongly in creativity - not just art, crafts and drama - but to be able to think creatively about everything we do - to be able to ask questions, to dare to make mistakes - to think - and so working at a preschool with a philosophical profile suits me perfectly - the chance to support children to think and wonder about life, to encourage them to listen and value what others say.
I believe that this will help them learn about equality - respect for others regardless of where or what or how or why...

Yes, I can be pretty vocal about gender issues at times - but I only see this as part of the equality we are striving for - children's rights - to be respected for themselves no matter what their thoughts or what kind of family they come from etc - and rights means also that we adults are part of the listening - its not just about the children learning to listen to each other, but also that we adults need to listen...

Its why this blog is called Interaction Imagination. Because it is the interaction of all things that is important - how we adults interact with each other, with the children, with the environment, and also how the children interact with all these things... then the imagination - because as Einstein said - it can take you anywhere - and if a child is to reach their potential they might just need to go anywhere - and as we don't know what the future will hold, it is much better to support interactions and the imagination and therefore equip ourselves for whatever might come...

Oh, yes, and play - I have not mentioned play - I think that is because for me its such a natural part of how children learn - it's one of their "rights". I think a great deal about what is play - and the different kinds of play - and how play has changed over the years...

This year, 2014 I have started a new project - "Through the Eyes of the Child" a photographic project to help make children more visible...

7 comments:

  1. Suzanne, very inspiring. Enjoy the coming year and I look forward to watching and learning from your journey. :)

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  2. I've just found your blog and read about your life :) Very impressed with what I've read! Wish you all the best with your new project!

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  3. I have just found your blog, and I am glad I did! You are a great inspiration. I wish you all the best :)

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  4. I found your blog today while looking for something to do on a gloomy, rainy day. I'm glad I found it, and look forward to reading more posts, and being inspired by your fearless creativity with children.

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  5. Hi! I just found your blog through another we both read ('Aneverydaystory') and as I was reading your comment on autism, I suddenly realised you, like myself, are english, living in Sweden, and like myself, have a struggling child at school for similar reasons, and you would also homeschool if it weren't illegal..... I am presently working part time - if you fancy meeting up in Stockholm let me know! :)

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  6. Hi Suzanne! Kieran just pointed me in the direction of your lovely blog saying she'd be here in Stockholm in November, discovering parks with you :-)
    I'm delighted to find another Brit blogger in Stockholm! I hope we can meet up in November too.
    This was an inspiring read.

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    1. yes... it would be great if we could meet up.... on my way to the UK tomorrow to be with family for a week.

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