Hearing What Isn’t Said
Peter Drucker once said, “The most important part of communicating is hearing what isn’t said.” In the TYO Core Child PM Program we are focused on encouraging our children to find their voice, and listening to their powerful words in order to hear their quietest thoughts. The children in our Core Child PM Program hail from Nablus’ most disadvantaged neighborhoods and refugee camps. They have been raised in environments that do not encourage a strong voice or active expression of emotion. This act of hindering their voice not only lessens their individual satisfaction, but also creates an epidemic of insecurity that inhibits our children from being successful group members both at TYO and in the greater Nablus community.
In their youngest years, children are individually focused. Yet by age six, socially developed children are beginning to understand the concepts of sharing, collaboration and are enjoying the company of children their age. This is why we have focused on the ideas of communication and collaboration: to help nurture those skills that our children traditionally have been unable to build and strengthen at home. We are helping our children understand the importance of – and to enjoy – participating in shared group work. Not only will this create confident children that will grow into active and successful community members, but it also fosters the self-satisfaction within that our children so desperately necessitate.
During our Communication and Collaboration week, our Core Child Program teachers build their lesson plans around activities that encourage honestly, hard work, cooperation and active participation. One example might be placing the children together in small groups to complete a task that involves planning, problem-solving and individual roles that contribute to the larger task. An activity that has found great success within our program is encouraging our children to create a classroom “zoo." While children craft their own individual animal, the classroom must work together to design the layout of the zoo. On an emotional level, this helps develop patience and management of disappointment. On a group level, it emphasizes the importance of equality by ensuring everyone has a voice.
As we conclude our session focused on Communication and Collaboration, we are proud to see the youngsters in the TYO Core Child PM Program participating in group games, crafts and science projects. We are encouraged by their contributions, and bear witness to their individual growth through this involvement. Their newfound voice and enthusiastic cooperation allows us to learn more about both their struggles and their triumphs. It is helping us hear what isn’t said.
Suhad is the Psychosocial Program Manager at TYO in Nablus. This blog was edited by TYO Fall 2013 Intern Jessica.