Sunday 25 December 2011
Hong Kong, 2010 by Susie Mallett
A wonderful Christmas gift
I wrote in an earlier posting that my first book was in the process of being translated into Chinese and that it would hopefully be launched at a Conductive Education congress in Shanghai, on 26th December 2011.
Yesterday I received the a lovely surprise Christmas Gift; the news reached me that the book has been printed, that copies are on their way to me, and that each person attending the congress will be given a copy!
Of course I cannot read the Chinese version of my book. I have no way of knowing through looking at the pages whether the translation reflects my style or if my soul and my passion for my work shine through. I trust the project leader to have done a wonderful job.
I respect very much the work that is being done conductively in Hong Kong and I am amazed at the speed with which SAHK (formerly the Spastic Society of Hong Kong) is spreading the conductive word in mainland China.
I am very proud that they have chosen my book to assist in describing now to live conductively and how to practice conductive upbringing. I am thrilled to have received an English translation of the preface by Ivan Su and thank him for allowing me to publish it here:
The original English version was written by Ms Susie Mallett, the first book in her writing series debuted at the 7th World Congress on Conductive Education in 2010. Using narrative essays to illustrate conductive upbringing and lifestyle is a rare form that is not always available on the market, and the realization of this Chinese version for the Cross-Strait-Four-Region readers happened only by chance.
While hurrying to the pre-Congress workshop held at our Conductive Learning Centre, Ms Mallett came across an expatriate woman in the street and asked her for directions. The lady was Sister Joan O’Connor (Chairman, Marion Fang Conductive Education Management Committee, SAHK). They met for their first time and appeared to have hit it off. Ms Mallett gave Sister O’Connor her new book as a gift. After reading the book, Sister O’Connor showed great appreciation and highly recommended it to Mr. Fong, Chief Executive Officer of our Association. This has given rise to the Chinese translation.
Ms Mallett is a native British Hungarian-trained conductor, currently practicing in Nuremberg, Germany. She speaks fluent English, German and Hungarian. This gives her enormous leverage in acquiring the essence of Conductive Education as founded by German-speaking Jewish-Hungarian Prof. Petö. Susie Mallett once discovered an early German writing of Prof. Petö from an old book shop. Since then, she has spent a substantial amount of time and effort in the search of the gestation of Conductive Education in Petö’s time. Her perseverance and seriousness in pursuing the truth has engendered my greatest salutation.
Thanks to Principal Lui Kwong Bin’s volunteered translation work, we maintained a close communication throughout the translation period. We pay tribute to her endeavor, to the utmost of her ability, to provide a faithful rendering of the jargons in the conductive world. We also thank Ms Karen Lau and Mr. Simon Lee for their careful proofreading and liaison.
Winter 2011, Hong Kong
As I implied in the title of this blog, what better Christmas present could I wish for than this.
Thank you to Ivan and SAHK.
I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas and I welcome any new readers who find me and my blog this weekend after receiving my book in their Shanghai Congress package.
If there is anyone in Shanghai who would like to send me a photograph of a Chinese copy of Let me tell you a story, Book I, I would be extremely happy to receive it. This really is a time when I can honestly say that I wish I was there to take it myself!
Let me tell you a story, Book I, by Susie Mallett -
Saturday 24 December 2011
Better late than never
Christmas caught up with me but I have just about caught up with myself just in time to join my German family this evening with a sing-song around the Christmas tree and the traditional simple meal together. They have boiled white sausage and potatoes and, for the non-meat eater, there will be carrot soup!
Unfortunately I left the song-sheets at work!
One of my stroke clients printed for us lots of Christmas songs in large and clear script so that the group could sing loud and clear to the little ones last Thursday at their Advent’s celebrations. It all sounded all very jolly and quite professional especially when we were accompanied by one lady’s husband, on his mouth organ. The children were wide eyed and joined in with their jingle bells that another of the group had repaired, replacing the missing bells the day before.
Spontaneous decision making
Work finished yesterday with just me and Jolly Professor there at the end to un-decorate the tree. He decided quite spontaneously that he would take it to his Grandma on Christmas Eve morning, complete with the homemade decorations. Now there is a child who knows his Mum well! He was quite right to guess that she would pack the tree in the boot of the car with a smile and say: “What a great idea, Grandma will love it”.
With a family like his it is no wonder that Jolly Professor is doing so well.
As I watched his Mum’s reaction to hearing that the tree was going home complete with handmade ginger-biscuit decorations, and carried all alone to the car. I knew that my Mum would have done exactly the same and found a corner somewhere for the extra Christmas tree, brought home with such love and determination.
We had a lovely relaxing afternoon together painting, trying out a reading box, riding a walking/balance-bike and learning how to steer it, listening to Christmas songs and best of all chatting all afternoon. He has not done that for a long time, since our group doubled in size a year ago.
My spontaneous Christmas
Today I have to be ready to celebrate in a couple of hours, and I will be.
I was up early to finish the sweets and wrapped presents while talking to a friend who phoned me from New Zealand. Now I am making the final presents, necklaces, and in an hour I will be off on the tram to meet my German family at church to join with the children’s Christmas service.
What is more, at midnight I will come home on the tram too. How is that for service!
It is actually warm enough for the bike that is still not in the cellar, but I today I will put on some glad-rags instead of cycling gear, just for a change.
Tuesday 20 December 2011
It was a long and difficult day
Not the day off I expected but a day of meetings, which are something that I am not used to.
I learnt a lot, achieved a lot, and worked alongside several different people who are involved in the life of one of my middle-sized littlies.
Later this evening I went off to the dentist and achieved what I had set out to do there too; put an end to the pain in my face and make an appointment to get the impacted wisdom teeth removed. After Christmas though!
After that and with the realization that I had forgotten lunch I walked into the festive shopping mall at the underground station and had something to eat, but not before first going off to find the traditional Christmas scenes that are always so gorgeous at this mall.
Do you know the sort I mean?
Like those that in the sixties adorned the windows of Selfridges and Hamley’s in London, with moving puppets and jolly Christmassy animal scenes that attracted children’s so that their noses became glued to the window.
I remember when I moved to Nürnberg that that first year’s Christmas delight was several scenes depicting the Christmases of different species of animals. The decorations on the tree related to the habits of the animal in whose home it stood. I was inspired by the rabbit family’s tree and that year I hung fresh, young carrots, complete with green tops, from my huge Tannenbaum, just like the rabbits had done!
Wow! Look at those trains!
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that although there were no cute animals to be seen, there were still lots of children’s noses pressed up against the glass of the huge cabinets containing large-scale model-railway layouts! Trains that until a couple of years ago were produced in Nürnberg.
After coffee and food and more coffee, I hopped on to the new underground for the first time, the line that since a week now runs almost to my front door, all on its own without a driver!
I hope that I got the shots before the battery ran out in my camera. I will now take a look to see if I can adequately illustrate this lovely conclusion to a successful, difficult day.
I nearly forgot, I also bought a new dress at half-price in the pre-Christmas sales.
The pre-Christmas sale is something new to Germany although I noticed that the January Sales had changed their name to December Sales some time back in the UK! It appears that the Euro is catching up with the pound in many different ways.
Sunday 18 December 2011
Not a soul in sight at 6 pm on the last weekend before Christmas!
Whilst on the tram on Saturday with The Guardian Weekly I read the leading article:
Year ends on grim financial note, by Larry Elliott and David Gow
The article tells us that Mr Lyons, an economist, identified, as one of the dangers in this world wide economic crisis, “…the tendency of those in charge to carry on digging when they are in a hole.”
How thankful I was this week that I only had to make a phone call and the person in charge got everyone out of the hole that they had been digging around in all week and quickly filled it in!
Oh what a different world it would be if it were so easy everywhere.
Eyes like a hawk
In my own small world I can hold my head up and keep my eyes peeled. I can observe and react appropriately, and, when possible, do something to prevent myself and others from digging themselves deeper into problem situations.
Back to being an ostrich
As for the wider view, and as far as the Eurozone and the rest of the world are concerned, I think I am best to keep my head buried in the sand and to keep on hoping.
I do not think I will be able to get that deep hole filled in with just one phone call!
Just after I had written, this while on the underground after the tram, I spotted a picture on the front of a trade-union newspaper that I tried to capture with my camera but I missed half of it. I quickly noted what I remembered, but you can view the real thing by artist KCEB, here:
Children-in-Need star stand, Nürnberg
16th December, 2011
A bit of rap
It made me smile out loud!
A bit of sparkle
On Friday evening I was working, as I have done for the past ten years, on the stand selling hand-made stars for child's charities.
Gale-force winds were forecast, at midday the city council were considering closing the Christmas Market in fear that it would be blown away. It stayed open and it rained a lot, but the wind never came. The people did not come either kept away by the storm warnings.
It was s till fun and despite the awful weather the takings for the various charities was on its way to two thousand Euros for the day.
And a sprinkling of snow
We could have done with the icing sugar snow on Friday evening to create a romantic atmosphere to attract the visitors, instead we have it today while put the finishing touches to the Christmas cards beside the now four candles and decorate my tree.
Tuesday 13 December 2011
Pink sky in the morning shepherd's warning!
Sometimes it is really nice to have to be at work before eight
Today was one of those days. I would not have missed this sky for the world, it looked just as if I had been out there, up a ladder with my paint-box.
As for the pink-sky-in-the-morning warning, it is not something that rings true here like it does in Norfolk, there was a clear, sunny sky all afternoon.
Monday 12 December 2011
Germany is getting on with it!
Many people are out on pre-Christmas shopping sprees spending what seems like lots of money. Others, or maybe the same people, are eating highly priced sausages and drinking over-priced not-so-soothing, mulled-wine at the Christmas Markets, and to top it all the new underground station at the end of my street is celebrating the opening of un-manned underground extension with a bit of a party.
Life in Germany goes on, in fact everyone seems to be happy that Angela M. is taking control and at least giving the impression that she is sorting things out so that the folk can get on with Christmas.
I wonder whether this optimism is wise, but I too prefer to bury my head in the sand and get on with making Christmas Cards and preparing for the annual marzipan-sweets-creating marathon and hope for the best!
Saturday 10 December 2011
"Now come on AP, speak to me, tell me what you think."
Petö Institute, 28th Novemeber 2011
Conductors as assistants, that is my thought of the day!
On the first Sunday in Advent I was in Budapest, reminiscing and thinking about things Hungarian and conductive.
On the Second Advent’s Sunday I was in Nürnberg, looking at the photographs that I took in Budapest, so I was still reminiscing, and thinking, as always, of things conductive.
Over breakfast with two candles, I was thinking especially about things conductive with school children.
I wondered how many conductors there are working as classroom assistants for children with special needs, and how many conductors, like me, are working closely with assistants in an advisory role and often wishing that certain children could have a conductor as a personal school assistant.
I think that this could possibly be the way forward here, in Germany, where so many of our “conductive lifestyle” children are now attending mainstream school. Could it be possible, would it be a good idea, to introduce conductors as school assistants?
I know that there are already two conductors in Germany doing this work. I know that already several ex-middle-school teachers are doing this work too. Could and should more conductors take on this role?
What do readers think?
One of my colleagues has worked in her homeland as the classroom assistant for a child with physical disabilities for two years, with much success. She was employed by the child’s parents to work in this position.
Conductive input for school children
In Germany he six-and seven-year-old children have a short school day, finishing at 11.30. When they are eight or nine the school-day is longer, sometimes extending to 13.00. There is still time for these children to attend conductive sessions two or three times a week.
As children get older the school day gets longer, there is also more homework to complete and more after-school commitments.
What happens then?
What happens to the conductive input? How does the conductor keep an eye on the various areas of the children’s lives if they no longer have the time or the energy to attend conductive sessions once or twice a week? There are of course house visits, and summer intensive blocks or conductive holidays for the children, but perhaps the best solution is to have the conductors there is school as the children’s personal classroom assistant.
Conductive upbringing for at least six hours of the day, that sounds pretty good to me.
Still deep in thought while counting the candles
It is now the third Advent weekend and I am still thinking about this subject that was prompted by a presentation given by Dr Franz Schaffhauser in Budapest on 25th November, titled the Philosophy and Pedagogy of Inclusion.
I have a case at the moment where a conductive assistant would, I believe, be the perfect solution. I think it would ensure that this specific child makes it. He needs that certain extra to makes the grade for gymnasium, which is his ambition for his future. I think that finding solutions for the complexity of his problems needs a conductive eye, and especially as this child has been brought up conductively for six of his nine years he would take to it like a duck to water.
We will see what the future brings
Have any other conductors got experience to share of working as a child’s classroom assistant in a main-stream school? Any comments and information, experiences and advice all gratefully received.