Recently, two AmazingBrainz team members had the opportunity to spend time with PaL (Play and Learn) in the Netherlands for a week of knowledge-sharing. PaL is made up of a team of teaching experts in language and creative arts who work with school-aged children in the Netherlands to encourage language development and creativity (problem-solving).
Carla van der Merwe, Occupational Therapist, AmazingBrainz Trainer and Operational Manger, and Haley-Anne Rogers, Occupational Therapist and AmazingBrainz Trainer spent a week and a half with the PaL team in Amsterdam.
The visit consisted of various workshops with the PaL team, school site visits, and an evening with potential donors and those interested in the PaL-AmazingBrainz project in South Africa.
Carla and Haley shared their experiences with us:
“Mirjam Zaat (PaL Trainer in Language Development) and Marieke Hunze (PaL Trainer in Visual Arts) exposed us to various aspects of their approach and there were opportunities for practical observations at schools to see how teachers implement the approach. We saw how they encourage language development and creativity through play, and specifically through visual arts. Both are so important for the South African context. We could experience the freedom that PaL gives children and the opportunities they provide for the child to explore and discover.
We also had exposure to different contexts, even schools with socio-economic challenges. During the workshops, there were opportunities to consider how we could apply what we observed to our work in South Africa. We also received input about gaps in the activities we have developed together; how to adapt them and make them more accurate in terms of the PaL-approach. The visit was carefully planned and curated for our needs; it was truly inspiring and helped us to think differently about our approach.”