Young children who have experienced trauma and toxic stress due to armed conflict and forced displacement are at risk. Science evidences the critical importance of birth to 5 years of age for early childhood development (ECD) and learning, and the implications of these years for their behavior and success as adolescents and adults. In Lebanon, many Syrian children aged 6 and above face significant learning difficulties due to the lack of pre-school education and the compounding impact of conflict and displacement. In response, in 2018 Jusoor introduced our Early Childhood Education (ECE) program –
Seeds of Light – to provide refugee children aged 3-5 years in Lebanon with pre-school education and psychosocial support to prepare them for formal schooling and give them the best start in their academic journey and life.
“If we only have 6 months to educate a child, what and how can we teach in order to equip them with fundamental skills and the love of learning?”
Dr Alexandra Chen, early childhood development and mental health specialist
Our unique ECE curriculum is simultaneously grounded in the science of ECD and intentionally responsive to the evolving context of the children’s lives. Currently, most Syrian families served by Jusoor are still living in tents, where infants and toddlers are often vulnerable to traffic accidents and trafficking, and as they get older, may become responsible for sibling caregiving or household income generation.
Thus, Seeds of Light teaches our preschoolers academic subjects and life skills in the most practical and relevant manner to help each child grasp knowledge and behaviors to (a) better navigate society even if they eventually leave school, (b) establish fundamental learning skills such as critical thinking, and (c ) develop a love of learning. For example, we teach learning through play and role-play in response to research demonstrating its importance and benefit for all aspects of development. Our program also prioritizes self-discipline and civic values to encourage positive behaviors in class and at home. We also teach our students body ownership and the importance of consent from a young age to ensure their safety and ability to protect themselves.
We have 3 ECE teachers and 2 ECE teaching assistants, themselves all from Syria and living in the same communities as the children. Our teachers receive training every year from experts in ECD and ECE, and are actively involved in updating the curriculum according to evolving needs.
“Jusoor is unique in that it addresses the needs of the ECE students holistically. We monitor their progress continuously and adjust our approach accordingly so that every student will eventually achieve the targeted skills. The skills are based on the development of the children especially in contexts of crisis and focus on cognitive, psychosocial, and emotional well-being.”
- Elham Moheb Aldeen, ECE Coordinator, Jurahiya School
Our “Seeds of Light” ECE program improves students’ development in four key areas:
1 Jusoor assesses ECE students at the start and end of each academic year; statistics represent averaged results from 20182022 yearly evaluations.
2 Across all Developmental Domains (Motor, Language, Cognitive, Socio-emotional) as well as Academic Subjects (Maths, Science, Civics, and Safety & Security).