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Dare to Trust Play

Too often in education, learning and play are separate. Suzanne Axelsson draws from a wealth of resources to challenge this dichotomy, providing numerous ways teachers can not only bring more play to children but also make it more fulfilling.

Welcome to Teacher Tom’s Podcast, which is all about taking play seriously. In each episode, Teacher Tom inspires early childhood educators, parents, and other listeners with information, techniques, and best practices to provide children an authentic play-filled childhood.

“I felt incredibly frustrated about this dichotomy of teaching and play… that you could either only be play based or you were teaching an academic, and there was nothing in between.” — Suzanne Axelsson

Suzanne Axelsson works as a pedagogical consultant using experience, inspiration, and research in listening, philosophy with children, and Indigenous Knowledge to guide creating democratic learning and play spaces in early childhood education. She holds seminars on intersectional approaches to inclusive play as part of the Preschool Teacher Programme at BUV, Stockholm University. Suzanne is published in books and articles in English, Swedish, Turkish, Hebrew, Italian, and Croatian, covering topics such as risky play, art, and the Reggio Emilia Approach™. She has also written two books — The Original Learning Approach: Weaving Together Play, Learning, and Teaching and Risky Play and Teaching (in Swedish).

“Teacher Tom” Hobson is an early childhood educator, international speaker, education consultant, teacher of teachers, parent educator, and author. He is best known, however, for his namesake blog, Teacher Tom’s Blog, where he has posted daily for over a decade, chronicling the life and times of his little preschool in the rain-soaked Pacific Northwest corner of the USA.

For nearly two decades, Teacher Tom was the sole employee of the Woodland Park Cooperative School, a parent-owned and operated school knit together by Teacher Tom’s democratic, progressive play-based pedagogy. Teacher Tom came into teaching through the backdoor, so to speak, having enrolled his own child in a cooperative preschool, where he began working daily in his daughter’s classroom as an assistant teacher under the tutelage of veteran educators — although he’ll be the first to tell you that most of what he learned came from the children themselves. When it was time for his daughter to move on, he “stayed behind.”

Today, Teacher Tom shares his play-based pedagogy through online e-courses for early childhood educators; produces online early childhood conferences; consults with organizations about his “Family Schools” program; and inspires early-years audiences around the world (Greece, UK, Iceland, Australia, China, Vietnam, New Zealand, Canada, and across the US) both virtually and in-person with his engaging views on early childhood education, play, and pedagogy.

He was pressured by his blog readers into authoring his first book, aptly named Teacher Tom’s First Book, and is thrilled about the 2023 release of Teacher Tom’s Second Book.

Resources, people, and websites mentioned in this episode:
Teacher Tom’s website:
Suzanne Axelsson website: Interaction Imagination


Host: Teacher Tom Hobson
Producer: Michi Lantz
Supervising Producer: Cynthia Lamb
Audio Editor: Marvin del Rosario
Executive Producer: Danny Iny
Music Soundscape: Chad Michael Snavely
Making our hosts sound great: Home Brew Audio

Music credits:
Track Title: Blueberry Jam Jam
Artist: Simen Andreas
Writer: Simen Knudsen


Track Title: Childlike Wonder
Artist: Reveille
Writer: Brendan St. Gelais


Track Title: Tick Tock
Artist: Ivy Bakes
Writer: Erick Pena


Special effects credits:
24990513_birds-chirping_by_promission used with permission of the author and under license by AudioJungle/Envato Market.

To catch the great episodes coming up on Teacher Tom’s Podcast, please follow us on Mirasee FM’s YouTube channelor your favorite podcast player. And if you enjoyed the show, please leave us a comment or a starred review. It’s the best way to help us get these ideas to more people.

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