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A conversation about listening

Below follows a short conversation with preschool teacher Anna, who has worked in preschool for over thirty-five years. According to her, how has listening changed over the years and what can we as parents learn from someone with experience in preschool both "pre-internet" and today. Is there any difference?

- Hi Anna! We are currently talking a lot about listening to the children. You have extensive experience working with children. Has listening changed over time? Are we listening to our children?

- I think most parents do the best they can, but with a society that demands more from us on all levels, time is not available to the same extent. And we may not always be able to do much about that, so we simply have to navigate what we live in, I think. At the same time, I see the children's perspective much more clearly today. Children everywhere are being listened to more, they have a voice. So we live both in a world where time is scarce, but also in a world where children are seen as people with rights. Can we get it together, that's the question..

- How do you think about listening in preschool?

- The ideal would be to be able to listen to all children, exactly when they need it. What I notice is that children today are more used to things going quickly than they were in the 80s and 90s, when I was new to the job. Faster response is required. Recovery is more difficult. That's why I work more with it today, so that they come to an environment during the day where the awareness and presence ("I see you") can take place. My goal is for all children to go home in the afternoon and have felt listened to, that is probably more important than ever.

- What is listening, according to you?

- First of all, I think that listening is knowing that all children are different. Not everyone wants to be listened to in the same way and we have to take that into account. The listening also takes place very much outside the words themselves, as I said before – I see you. So the ability to hear what is not being said out loud.

- Why is it important to listen?

- I spontaneously think that it is one of the most fundamental things in a person's development. If you are not seen and listened to, something that builds our security and faith in ourselves is missing.