Thank you, Al-Arz Ice Cream Factory!

As some of you may know, some items are just hard to come by in Nablus. We spent weeks looking for small, colorful pipe cleaners for crafts and, just as we were losing hope, our wonderful outreach specialist, Futoon, managed to find them!

For my science class, I was on the lookout for popsicle sticks. So many of my kids are interested in structural engineering and architecture that it made sense to start building bridges, houses, and anything else they wanted with popsicle sticks! You would not believe just how difficult it was to find popsicle sticks in Nablus. It may be my faulty Arabic, constant motioning to ice cream and saying the number “1000 please,” or my dissatisfaction with using tongue depressors as popsicle sticks from the local pharmacy, but I refused to give up on finding popsicle sticks.

Again, trusty and creative Futoon came to me with a bag of 1,000 popsicle sticks donated from the generous Al-Arz Ice Cream Factory. For that, my class and I thank you, Al-Arz Factory! The kids have been using the popsicle sticks with lots of enthusiasm to learn some basic physics and develop patience with falling towers.

Thanks for your kind donation! It is the simple gifts here at TYO that make big differences.
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Final Parents Survey, Spring 2009 Session

The Core Program Teachers conducted a Final Parent Survey following the end of the Spring 2009 Session. The teachers contacted forty-six parents over the phone and asked them questions designed by Suhad. TYO compares Initial and Final Parent Surveys to determine the impact of its program on each child and identify which children could benefit from further services either from TYO or by referral.

  • 93% of parents reported that their child likes coming to TYO
  • 96% of parents reported that their child learned new things as a result of attending the TYO Core Program
  • 83% of parents reported that their child formed new friendships as a result of attending the TYO Core Program
  • 93% of parents reported that there is progress in their children’s familial interactions and 91% reported progress in their child’s peer interactions
  • 89% of parents reported that their child had a better understanding of safety
  • 83% of parents reported that their child is less shy as a results of attending the TYO Core Program
  • 81% of parents reported positives changes in their child’s sleep patterns
  • 89% of parents reported improvement in their child’s self-expression
  • 76% of parents reported improvement in their child’s control of his temper

Click Read More to view comments from parents here or visit the TYO hompage and view our Results page which highlights our impact over the last year.

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No more play in Kindergarten?

There has been a spate of pop and academic media about recent research about the importance of play. You can follow some of the highlights in the TYO Radar on the left.

Perhaps one of the most extensive recently is a 72-page report just published by the Alliance for Childhood. It provides a readable, practical view of the virtues of play and the research that supports it. You can read the report here.

While of course there are other issues at play here in Nablus and the West Bank, having visited several pre-schools in Nablus last week, it is clear that there is a lack of free play time in many programs here. Even many of the 4-year-old classrooms were dominated by benches with attached writing desks, with minimal open space for playing with blocks and reading in a group, much less dancing or running.

TYO’s programs take an entirely non-formal education approach, engaging children in activities like sports and arts that are designed to stimulate their mind in different ways than traditional curriculum. More importantly, these activities have a psychosocial application, offering a platform and tools for self-expression. Largely as a result of this non-academic focus, we struggle with parents who are concerned about their kids missing out on valuable study time. Our attendance is much lower during school exam weeks. And our participants are 4-8 years old!

Fortunately, the impact of our programs on our participants is visible, and we hope that these results, combined with efforts to educate parents about the value of play and other non-academic activities for their children’s mental well-being, and indeed neurological development, will win us many converts before long!