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ECE Impact

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Giggles and Splashes

Growing up in Southern Illinois, swimming was a central part of summer activities. Each spring was spent in anticipation of the time when days would become warm enough to jump into water and play with friends. In this region of the United States, the high number of lakes, rivers, and ponds also make swimming skills necessary for safety. My parents made it their mission to ensure I participated in swim lessons from a young age. Although it took a long time for me to put my face underwater, I learned to count on swimming as an enjoyable and key element Continue reading…

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From the TV Screen Straight to the Heart

Over the past two years, the term refugee has moved from humanitarian development circles into living rooms around the world as international crisis and crisis force men, women, and children to flee their homes for safety. From the flicker of the television screen and cultural, linguistic, political, and religious divides, it can be difficult to process the lives of those living as refugees. Palestinian American poet, songwriter, and novelist Naomi Shihab Nye stated, “You know, those of us who leave our homes in the morning and expect to find them there when we go back- it’s hard for us to Continue reading…

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Youth In Focus: An Interview with Ola B.

Ola is a resident of Nablus. She studied Agricultural Engineering at An Najah National University. She has twin 5 year-olds, both currently in TYO’s Core Child Program, and this is her first session with TYO. What inspired the change from studying agricultural engineering in university to volunteering with children at TYO? Are you interested in going back to your field of study? I studied agricultural engineering and spent nine months working in that field, but I left work when I had twins – they’re five years old now – because I needed to spend more time with them. Family is Continue reading…

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TYO’s Karate Kids!

This summer, 9-14 year old children in our Summer Camp have had the opportunity to experience a number of different sports and activities – volleyball, drama, singing lessons, soccer, and dabke, as well as many art, critical thinking, and literacy activities emphasizing a sense of community and communication skills. By far one of the greatest hits of Summer Camp has been our weekly Karate classes with trainers from a local Nablus martial arts center. Last week, we interviewed one of the trainers who holds 15 international medals in Karate – the highest in Palestine – and has welcomed trainers from Continue reading…

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Stepping Up Early Childhood Education

Earlier this month, Vicki Palmer – an early childhood teaching veteran and founder of TicTacTeach, an online community and resource center for early childhood educators – shared with us the Key Benefits of Early Childhood Education. For Palmer, the first few years of a child’s life are most important for teaching life skills: cooperation, resilience, enthusiasm for life-long learning, exposure to diversity and respect, concentration, patience, and self-esteem. Palmer notes, “When children are young, they are learning sponges. Every new experience, every word they learn, every behavior they adopt, is an investment in a more fruitful future” – and there Continue reading…

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5 Ways to Strengthen ECE

The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science recently published a new Call to Action and Policy Brief about how to fill children’s potential, through Early Childhood interventions. Through their extensive research they concluded that following five actions can make the greatest difference in children’s lives: Integrate nutrition and child development interventions for young children and their families, wherever possible. This includes interventions that have both nutrition and health components delivered simultaneously to the families and their children, with the objective that they reinforce each other and are cost-effective. Focus on learning and nutrition in early childhood by promoting high-quality family care. Early in life, Continue reading…

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TYO’s Spring 2015 Session: Looking Back, Stepping Forward

Last week, TYO wrapped up the Spring 2015 session of our Core early childhood education program. Reflecting on the past 4 months – particularly looking back on the February day children in our Core 4-5 year old program first stepped foot into the center – we have seen real and incredible growth in many of our children. Our Core team can certainly attest to the challenges that those first few days of the program present. For some children, it is their first time spending time away from their parents and familiar home environment, and so they struggle to adjust to a Continue reading…

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Masa, it’s ‘Kick’ not ‘Cake’!

It goes without saying English is at the forefront of international languages. Although it is not the most widely spoken language in the world, it is an official language in many countries. English is a critical language for business, media, diplomacy, technology, and the list goes on.  As globalization continues to connect people, expand the economy, and blur physical borders, learning English is becoming increasingly important for anyone entering the job market. Now, I am not going to pretend that learning English is the easiest thing in the world—but it is not impossible! At TYO, our English language classes prepare children Continue reading…

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A TYO Core Success Story: Mais and Suleiman

Reem is the mother of 4-year-old Mais and 8-year old Suleiman in TYO’s Core early childhood education program. She is from Qalqiliya and lives in Old Askar refugee camp with her husband, Mais, Suleiman, and their youngest daughter Maissam. What do Mais and Suleiman enjoy most about TYO? What do they talk about at home when they talk about TYO? Suleiman loves Arabic class with his teacher Mahmoud. He used to sing his class songs all evening after coming home from the center. His sisters picked up the same songs, so then Mais knew the class songs even before starting Continue reading…

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Learning by Doing: A Lesson for All Ages

Earlier this month, a Forbes article on unconventional and experiential learning caused a stir in education circles. The writer Jason Ma pointed to the overly theoretical and impractical approach taken by most U.S. universities, and then described a new trend that is changing how we approach higher education: alternative, experience-based learning. The article goes on to profile higher education institutions across the U.S. that are taking exactly that approach, incorporating personalized and experience-based instruction. The result? What Ma describes a “a sound combination of mindset and skill set” that prepares young adults to enter the workforce and give back to their Continue reading…