University of Osnabrück, Institute for Theatre Education

A new journey begins!

The Freedom Theatre launches training program in erarly childhood education

After many months of preparation, a new adventure has begun at The Freedom Theatre: a one-year training program in early childhood education, based on a pedagogy of creativity and play!

The program follows extensive research and involves both Palestinian and international specialists in early childhood education.

12 participants, mainly preschool teachers and preschool managers from across the Jenin area, will explore how to create a high-quality pedagogical environment that takes advantage of children’s inherent curiosity, creativity and desire to discover the world.

During the first Module, throughout November and beginning of December, the participants will experience play. Not by observing children: by playing. We believe that this is the first step towards understanding and appreciating the value of play.

The training program has three main components: theory, action and reflection. Topics covered include 'The world of the child', 'The holistic child: physical, social, emotional and cognitive development', 'The importance of play in child development and learning', 'Learning in nature and learning through art', 'Creating positive group dynamics and healthy relations between children and child-teacher', and 'Health and Safety, including child nutrition and first aid.' Theoretical lectures are combined with reflection sessions and practical application - the latter taking place in The Freedom Theatre Child Centre.

The Context
In a society such as Jenin refugee camp, where generation after generation has been exposed to violence and oppression, children grow up in a difficult reality. Violence affects them on the streets, at school and at home, becoming part of their language, their play and their worldview.

There are plenty of preschool in the Jenin area but they lack pedagogically trained staff, the salaries are very low, facilities are inadequate and groups too large (at least 10-15 children per adult, often more). The activities offered are from a very early age focused on academic performance and teaching takes place in a traditional classroom format, where children are often passive recipients.

At the same time our experience from working in Jenin refugee camp since 2006 tells us that there is immense potential for play and creativity in both children and adults, which manifests itself quickly when the right conditions prevail.

For us, launching this training program is taking our vision one step further. We are excited to be able to share this journey with you!

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