Core Children Learn Core Values
It is important in any context to equip young children with a strong sense of self-worth. Children who do not see themselves as valuable are less likely to achieve their full potential in schools. When an individual's internal life is damaged, it dictates how they interact with the world around them as behavior is a result of what an individual is are feeling. That being said, in Palestine's hyper-militarized environment where a disproportionate amount of physical and psychological violence is inflicted on children, helping children to overcome personal trauma and build resiliency, is not only a challenge, but is also paramount to ensuring later academic success and a more peaceful future.
TYO's carefully designed psychosocial curriculum aims to address these issues by teaching children concepts related to the value of respect. From the first day of classes children are taught to practice respect for themselves, their siblings, and their communities. By mid- session of the program the shifts to exclusively addressing core values like listening, respect, and peaceful problem solving. Activities center around building tolerance for diversity, learning to appreciate differences between people, and building empathy for other people's needs. Coming from rather homogenous communities, children in Nablus are not generally exposed to outside ideas until much later in life. As such, TYO provides a truly unique environment for young children by enabling them to interact with foreigners from such a young age. Core Child Teacher Rola shares some of her experiences with her Core AM children:
This has been a very important week for the children in my class as my kids have been very rambunctious all session and have particularly struggled with keeping respectful boundaries. As a class we've been working on keeping our hands to ourselves and participating in activities in an orderly fashion. While this has been an ongoing struggle for the class, the children have really responded well to the use of new vocabulary in the classroom. I formerly introduced the concept of respect at the beginning of the week and have been using the word 'respect' to reenforce positive behavior throughout the week- recognizing children when they behave in a way that is respectful to their peers. Despite the fact that children have been struggling with physical issues related to respect, there are other indications- such as their openness to accepting foreigners in the classroom- that the deeper issues of respect are being rooted with the children. I have no doubt that through continued reenforcement of these values, the children in our programs will be able to overcome the many hardships they face in their home lives and be successful well adjusted children in school.
-- Rola Joudeh, Core Child Teacher and Jessica Dargiel, Deputy Director
This program is funded by the Abdel Hameed Shoman Foundation (AHSF)