The Freedom Theatre’s training program in early childhood education relocated to Sweden, for a two-week intensive study visit to some of Stockholm’s most progressive preschools and leisure activities for children. Eight participants engaged in an intensive process of mutual learning and exchange of experiences between Palestinian and Swedish pedagogues. The Palestinian participants did their utmost to gain much as possible from this experience and were active and positive, despite the sometimes quite challenging aspects of being in such a different environment.
The study visit encompassed both visits and workshops, with the main purpose of investigating how adults can bring magic, imagination and creativity into play and learning. One workshop took place outdoors, over the course of two days, with the participants exploring learning in nature, using the materials, shapes and colours of the forest.
The preschools and activity centres for children visited were located in many different parts of Stockholm. In some areas, marginalised both financially and socially, pedagogues struggled to create a positive learning environment for children and the Palestinian pedagogues could identify some of the same challenges that they face in Jenin. This opened the Palestinian participants’ eyes to the differences in living conditions and opportunities that exist in a city like Stockholm.
The teachers also visited museums and cultural centres offering activities for children, among them Skansen, Junibacken and Kulturhuset, as well as Södertörn University College where they got an introduction to the teacher-training program, and Dar al Muna publishing company that translates Swedish children’s literature to Arabic. The Red Cross gave a full-day course of First Aid for children, which was very important because it is not offered to pedagogues in Palestine. A Palestinian cultural event was also included, as well as visits to The Palestinian Solidarity Association of Sweden and the Friends of The Freedom Theatre.
In summary, we are very pleased with the study visit and thank the Swedish Institute Creative Force as well as all the involved Swedish partners for this unique opportunity!