Core Child Program

Program Dates: Spring 2008 – present

TYO’s Core Program sets children ages four-to-eight on a path to self-discovery through play and non-formal education.


Children come to TYO classrooms accustomed to dismissing the importance of their emotions; the Core Program aims to help them re-discover open expression and find themselves in their emotions. Moreover, isolated and overcrowded refugee camps and other disadvantaged communities lack the imaginative atmosphere and open spaces children need to play and be creative. The TYO Center becomes that important safe and creative space for children to develop personally in and out of the classroom.

Core Program children come to TYO four times a week during 8-week long semesters, totaling more than 100 program hours per child.

TYO’s Core Child Program curricula was finalized as part of the Student Training and Employment Program (STEP!). The curricula focuses on themes of Identity and Communication, encouraging students to better understand themselves and their community, while teaching essential life skills. Children participate in a wide array of innovative activities led by teachers and volunteers trained in TYO’s holistic method of non-formal education:

Story Telling

Children create and share stories, which become an outlet to express experiences, hopes and fears. Prompts from teachers and volunteers help students struggling to “create” something out of a blank paper, slowly guiding children towards a more expressive life.

Concentration Corner

TYO children live in closed off, overpopulated areas with little differentiation between areas of play and study. Furthermore, an estimated quarter of Palestinian children lack breakfast, impairing their ability to concentration in school. TYO provides children with healthy snacks and fun brain exercises to help students improve their concentration. Simple, structured play introduces students to constructive engagement with their peers and teachers. It helps to create order in an otherwise chaotic life.

Imagination Room

Children enter the Imagination Room in a line, but they certainly are not encouraged to think in one. Children engage in art and music, play in flexible games, and create their own worlds in this class. It offers an opportunity for children to expand their minds past the four walls of the classroom.


The IT curriculum helps children become comfortable with the basic computing skills that will be essential to their academic and professional success. These practical skills also contribute to children’s self-confidence, concentration, and capacity to connect with others beyond their immediate community.

Art Therapy

A variety of arts and crafts activities provide a forum to explore topics such as family and identity, offering an outlet for children to express their hopes, fears, successes, and pain.

Sports Classes

Individual and group activities teach children motor skills, coordination, teamwork, and healthy competition. Sports class also provides a safe context for physical activity, which most of TYO’s children have no other access to.

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