Discovering the World through Play

Shireen's class learns about the importance of working together and that we may come from different backgrounds, but we are all connected. Learning about geography and different cultures is fundamental to a better understanding of the world. Unfortunately for the children from TYO’s target group, most never get the opportunity to learn about the world that exists outside the refugee camps. They view the camps as the whole universe. At TYO we understand that the key to unlocking a more promising future is exposing children to ideas outside the borders they've learned to accept. TYO is helping children to learn about different cultures through fun activities and building relationships with foreigners thanks to the  International Internship Program.

TYO provides free psychosocial programming for 4 and 5 year old children from Nablus's most disadvantaged areas- most whom have never attended school or formal classes prior to coming to TYO. Coming from the refugee camps, the children come without any understanding of the larger world outside Palestine- or even an understanding of their greater community in Nablus. As such, one of the aims of the Core Child Program is to introduce children to the world in which they live through creative games and activities. Through TYO's holistic approach to learning, children have fun while developing a greater understanding of their world. For example, each session at TYO we lead a sports activity with the children in which they pretend to move from continent to continent by running through an imaginary model of the world. I was delighted to see some of the returning kids to TYO introduce the continents to the new children before we even began the activity this summer- showing the idea of continents had already been strongly rooted with the returning children.

TYO’s children who come from the refugee camps and the Old City are not generally exposed to the international world, or even to each other! The refugee camps in Nablus remain completely segmented from the rest of the city. Hence, TYO affords the children the opportunity to meet others their age growing up in similar circumstances, as well as volunteers from neighboring villages and internationals participating in the International Intern Program. TYO is not only teaching the children about the different cultures, but it also aims at providing them with a safe place to better their psycho-social skills through the mentioned activities. So, they develop their communication, self-esteem, and confidence skills. TYO 4-5 years old children go to schools with being prepared to start a new phase in education in their life.

-Core Child Teacher, Shireen