You Can Do It! A New Approach to Early Childhood Education
Basem Hasoun joined TYO in November 2017 as the Early Childhood Program Manager. Before joining TYO, he obtained a degree in Primary Education at Al Yarmouk University in Jordan. He wanted to be part of TYO because he believes in TYO values, which focus on a creative and holistic approach to learning that targets children, mothers, and the family.
What is the new program with which you are working?
I am working with TYO’s Early Childhood Education Programs including Early Childhood Education Program: Ages 2-3 and Core Early Childhood Education Program targeting children ages 4-8. I am also working with the After-School Academic Support Program for children ages 9-14. With the support of the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD), the new and expanded programs will allow us to facilitate the participation of hundreds more beneficiaries in the Nablus area.
The Early Childhood Education Program for Ages 2-3 will take place twice a week for 2 hours a day for multiple sessions a year. This program will work in tandem with the Women’s Empowerment and Parenting Program, where the mothers of children will have the opportunity to participate in trainings and seminars to increase parenting skills, family relationships, and personal empowerment. The two programs will take place simultaneously, ensuring TYO can help the entire family unit to grow as individuals and as a family.
TYO acknowledges that challenges in early childhood, especially those related to learning and development will continue to influence children as they grow. To address previous challenges with new approaches to education, with the support of QFFD, TYO has created an After-School Academic Support Program. In this program, children ages 9-14 can receive academic support by a team of local university volunteers with expertise in math, Arabic, English, and IT at a ratio of 1 tutor for every 2 students. The After-School Academic Support Program allows students to receive academic tuition in addition to their formative learning, and offers extra support for students with learning disabilities. This program is founded upon two objectives; to understand the causes of students’ learning disabilities and to increase their academic performance to see direct progress at school. We will try hard to achieve these two objectives and with the support of QFFD, I am certain that we will succeed.
In addition to direct classroom interaction, the support of QFFD has allowed TYO to bring a psychologist onto the team. The psychologist will be present in all the programs for children and youth to assess their needs and work with teachers to ensure the children have the support needed to push past their challenges and reach their full potential.
What was the purpose of establishing new programs at TYO?
The primary purpose creating the new programs of Early Childhood Education Program: Ages 2-3 and the After-School Academic Support Program was to provide a solution to the needs of the community. Through the Core Program, TYO has been facilitating sessions for 4-8 year olds with success, but have not had the opportunity to work with younger children. The community has been telling us that there is a need to target this younger age group. TYO is responding to the needs of the community by expanding the current Core Program to reach more children and creating the new Early Childhood Education Program: Ages 2-3. We want to help parents improve their approach to parenting by offering new perspectives on family management and relationships. Thanks to the support of QFFD, we are now able to provide parents with new techniques and approaches on how to intervene and interact with their children. They will learn and practice new parenting interventions at TYO and learn how to replicate these interventions in the home.
There has been a particularly significant demand for the After-School Academic Support Program from the local community, which has been reinforced by the significantly lower grades of students who have learning disabilities than their classmates. Children struggle at school not because they are less able to succeed, but because the traditional techniques used in the classroom can make it difficult for a student with a learning disability to absorb new information. They need more support in order to succeed and TYO wants to provide this support.
How are these programs unique within the Nablus community?
At TYO, all our programs are unique as they are rooted in TYO values of learning through play in a safe environment and by a highly qualified team.
The inclusion of 2-3 year olds in the Early Childhood Education Program is unique as there is no other program in Nablus where children of this age can come and receive high quality early development education, while at the same time their mothers participate in an empowerment and parenting program. The opportunity to use a multi-generational approach to child development and family relationships is exciting and we are thrilled to work with the entire family in a holistic way.
The After-School Academic Support Program is unique in the emphasis on understanding the development of the child in both the areas they thrive and the areas in which they need more support. By providing focused support, we hope to empower students and help them to see they are capable of learning new things. Students who have learning disabilities may have many struggles with education that have built up and not been resolved in the past. It is our goal to help students realize their potential and overcome their challenges.
What are you looking forward to the most in the upcoming programs?
Everything! For the Early Childhood Education Programs, working with young children will be a very exciting experience. Expanding the number of children who can participate in the Core Program and working with children ages 2-3 will be a new experience, which I very much look forward to. For the After-School Academic Support Program, I look forward to changing the path for these students. We will be using new teaching methods that they have not been exposed to previously and this will change their perceptions of learning. By introducing play as an essential part of learning, new opportunities will open for them and improve their quality of life. I very much look forward for us to be able to accomplish these goals and see this crucial, positive change.
The Early Childhood Education Program and After-School Academic Support Program are supported by Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD).
- Interview conducted by Sally, Fall 2017 International Intern.