Marijke Sluijter, Innovative Educator

Here is my lifestory for children: Hi, I am Marijke Sluijter, one out of a family of ten children. As I was the oldest girl, I had a busy life taking care of the house and the kids. When I grew up my mother decided that it was best that I could be a kindergartnerin (kindergarden teacher). She thought I was too playful and creative to work in a shop or an office. So I had my own class with lovely children, the first years in Holland and later in Aruba. That is an island near the coast of Venezuela.

After a couple of years I was asked to be a teacher for the age group of 6 and 7 years. The way the children were treated was very different from kindergarden: they had to sit still, do what I said (or what the government said I had to say) and I became very mad about the lack of respect this system showed for the human beings that children are. I believe children are creative, eager to know, responsible human beings that know exactly what they need to grow up. At least, if adults don't disturb them in their progress or make them confused, but encourage them to evoke the excellency which each child has inside.

So we (I found friends that had the same idea) created a school where children could learn organicly, that means that the creation of skills that the pupils wanted to learn was in the hands of the children, and the adults served as coaches who provided the needs for the learning process. That made a big difference: before I worked very hard to get the children were I (the society) wanted them, now I worked very hard to provide the proper materials, songs, story's, etcetera. But the lattter was much more fun to do for both me and the children, and the results were exciting! Everybody relaxed, so there were less quarrels. Some children learned much more then needed, other children could take more time so that they could build a firm foundation for all the lessons still to come. We learned a lot from each other. Actually, we became co-creators in development and everyone blossomed.

We wrote a book about it: Educreation, so that others also could read how to co-create a school. And now I have my own magazine, Educare, because a book always has an end, but thinking about good education never ends. Together with a lot of volunteers we create Educare and we inspire a lot of parents and teachers through the publiction. The photo below is a workshop done with Della in Holland with teachers organized by myself &Educare. This inpired many people. I have taken part in organizing and participating in many events to inspire. I think that inspiring people who work and live with children is my favorite activity. And what is yours???

Marijke Sluijter



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