ABOUT ME: My Story
I was born and raised in York, UK, did a degree in history and ancient history (which has been rather useful in early childhood education when researching those who have inspired early childhood education throughout the ages)
Stockholm, Sweden is where I have been based since 1992.
I have been working with children in a variety of ways ever since - as private tutor, home-language educator, in schools and preschools and as an educational consultant and teacher trainer. I have worked as special needs assistant, teacher and director which has afforded me a broad understanding of the preschool world, especially the one here in Stockholm.
I feel it is essential to share knowledge and inspiration with others and have been doing this in my free time with my blog as I spent my days working with young children.
Since 2013 I have focussed on listening with the aim to better understand how philosophy with preschoolers can be used as a learning tool - and have seen the positive effects it has had on children's play.
I have been working as a consultant in preschools and schools around the world - holding presentations, play workshops and more personal consultations where I observe the setting and can then engage in a more meaningful dialogue to enable the setting to evolve.
I also work part time at Stockholm University teaching on the preschool teacher training course - transdisciplinary approach to outdoor play and learning spaces, and transdisciplinary, intersectional, interactive museum visits - child autonomy are important aspects of this.
The future sees me supporting preschools to reflect on their interactions with children, learning and play and the democratic process - and training teachers through workshops, presentations and lectures.
And also writing books. I have written several chapters - in English about play in the Swedish educational system, in Swedish about risky play in the early years. I have also been translated into Croatian, a chapter about The Reggio Emilia Approach and the importance of not cloning, but being inspired. In the autumn of 2022 my book about Original Learning will be published. And also a chapter about Aboreal Methodologies written together with Professor Jayne Osgood.
I am currently writing a book in Swedish on risky play and teaching rooted in an intersectional and transdisciplinary approach.
I have trained to be a playworker, as I feel learning as much as I can is so important to be the best advocate possible for children's play and children's rights - and a large part of that is social justice and sustainability.
I have also started a collaboration with Nona Orbach and Roberta Pucci called the Grammar of Drawing - where we write about children's writes to play and explore with art materials, and what that looks like practically. We have been published in the Italian EY magazine "Bambini".
Suzanne Axelsson works as a pedagogical consultant using experience and research in listening, philosophy with children and Indigenous Knowledge to guide creating democratic learning and play spaces in early childhood education. She works on the EY program at the Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University, as well as in preschools with children and educators.. Suzanne has a masters in ECE and has travelled globally to hold workshops, presentations, and visit EY settings. She writes about play, listening, neurodiversity, and sustainability etc on her blog, Interaction Imagination, and curates the facebook group “The Original Learning Approach”. Her book on Original Learning, where play and learning are equally valued and interwoven will be published in 2022. Suzanne is published in books and articles in English, Swedish, Turkish, Hebrew Italian, Croatian, Romanian etc covering topics such as risky play, art, and the Reggio Emilia Approach™.
A selection of presentations and workshops
2022 - Online workshops and presentations for educators in British Columbia, Canada, Florida, USA, Turkey, Greece, Croatia, England , Sweden - the titles include
The Power of Play:empowering adults who provide play.... providing play that empowers children.
Modiga Miljöer som Utmanar (Brave Environments that Challenge)
The Science and Art of Projecteering.
What Reggio has Taught Me.
The History of the Reggio Emilia Approach and a holistic exploration of the art studio.
Play and Projecteering
Original Learning and the Play Ecosystem
Arboreal Methodologies. The promise of getting lost. (Together with Jayne Osgood)
Projects, Play and Creativity.
- You will find me as a keynote at Play on Early Education Conference in Athens at the end of April
- and in Stockholm on the 25th March with the Brave Spaces presentation.
- online at the Turkish Alternative Education Conference
- and the Teacher Tom summit together with Nona Orbach and Roberta Pucci as we share our Grammar of Drawing project.
2021 - Online, British Columbia, Canada, Outdoor learning and the Hundred Languages
- Online, two workshops with Dorothy Snot Kindergarten, Athens Greece, with parents and teachers
- Online, workshop on Original Learning and Listening, Vancouver Island
- Online, Inspiration not Cloning, The Reggio Emilia Approach, Croatia
- Online, Original Learning, International Diversity, Nature Focus, LEiN, China x2
- Online, Teacher Tom Play Summit (International)
- Online, Communication, Kathy Brodie Early Years Summit (International)
- Online private workshops with educators and parents in Malaysia, Scotland, Greece etc
- Online - The Original Learning Approach Facebook group "Pedagogical Mingles"
- Online - Sustainability in the early years, focus Palestine, Liverpool John Moores University.
- online - Project-based Teaching, Turkey
- online - Transforming small outdoor spaces with big ideas for transdisciplinary play and learning, Malta ECDAM
2020 - Liverpool University.. skype lecture, January Sustainability in the early years
- Toronto - Pedagogical Documentation, Democratic Learning - full day workshop
- Toronto - Land as Our First Teacher - connecting RE inspired pedagogical documentation to Indigenous Knowledge.
- Vancouver, Keynote and facilitator 2 day conference. Frog Hollow Reggio-inspired Learning Centre. February
- Uppsala, Hållbarhet i Förskolan (Sustainability in the Preschool)
- Online - Play First Conference, July. Original Learning in te times of Covid-19
- Online - 8 Weeks of Play Conference. Original Learning
- Online - Play.Responsive Teaching, with Samoan educators
- Online - 31 Hours of Play
2019 - Liverpool University... Skype lecture January
- Athens, Greece... Keynote Speaker "Original Learning" http://playonathens.com/index.php April.
- Istanbul... Keynote Speaker. The Reggio Emilia Approach. Pedagogy of Listening workshop.
- Stockholm, STEAM, two day hands on workshops for indoor and outdoor learning
- Stockholm, Förskola21, makerspace.
- Australia - study visits with focus on decolonising
- Stockholm University, courses spring and autumn
- Early learning Café, Ontario based, online. "Democratic Spaces for Early Learning"
- Ankara - two days of workshops
- Istanbul - Digital Play workshop
- Athens - Young children and Play (for Parents) Play workshops for teachers
- Milan, (EY connected to Reggio Children) - Presentation on Working with Children wit Special Rights
2018 - Göteborg... 27 April.FSO Dagen
- Palestine, Play-workshops for advanced course members. Courses in Child Development and Play.
- Israel. Presentation. The Art of Learning.
- Online Presentation Fairydust Winter Conference (Natural Learning... play as learning)
2017 - ECE Leadership Conference. Online (pedagogical documentation)
- Uppsala, FPF, Presentation (Konsten att Lyssna)
- Early Years Summit. Online (Reggio Emilia)
- Jenin, Palestine, Course leader ECE training
2016 - Stockholm University (Konsten att Lyssna)
- Toronto, Canada, (Reggio in a Swedish context) Rhythm2016 facilitator
- Education Next Generation (Reggio Emilia Approach) online
2015 - Durham, UK, Keynote - (The Art of Listening)
- Martha's Vineyard, Garden Gate ECE Retreat (Philosophy and Pre-philosophy in Preschool)
- Jenin, Palestine, (Play and Learning)
2014 - Reykjavik, PlayIceland (Playing with philosophy)
- Boulder, Colorado, USA (The Art of Listening and Pre-philosophy)
- Toronto, Canada (The Art of Listening and Philosophy with Preschoolers)