The Freedom Theatre launches a comprehensive pedagogical training program in early childhood education through creative means, that involves highly qualified Palestinian and international specialists.

The training program applies a holistic approach to early childhood education, which is based on the experiences of the most advanced countries in the world when it comes to child pedagogics, adapted to the specific circumstances in Palestine.

The pedagogy taught in the program is founded upon the Holistic Integrated Approach developed by Palestinian early childhood specialist Jacqueline Sfeir, which states that play is a prerequisite for children’s healthy development and learning. The participants in the training program will learn how to create a high-quality pedagogic environment that take advantage of children’s inherent curiosity, creativity and desire to discover the world. Thereby the participants will be equipped to help each child develop to the best of their ability and remain eager to learn throughout their lives.

Starting in November 2016, the training program will run for one year, with 15-20 hours of study per week divided between theoretical and practical work. The design of the program is based on theory, action and reflection.

Theoretical lectures will be combined with reflection sessions and practical application of child-centred approaches and activities.

The training program is evidence-based and research-driven. It is the outcome of a two-year research endeavour by The Freedom Theatre in cooperation with a Swedish partner, which made clear that there is great need for pedagogical training in early childhood education in the Jenin area. The different elements of the training program reflect the growing consensus among early childhood researchers and professionals around the world that early childhood education needs to happen in a meaningful and creative setting that put children and their well-being at the centre.

The training program will include:
The world of the child: child development and psychology
The holistic child: physical, social, emotional, cognitive, lingual development
The competent child – the teacher as a learning partner
The importance of play in child development and learning
Creating positive group dynamics and healthy relations: between children and children-teacher
Positive forms of behaviour guidance: discipline versus punishment
Learning in nature
Learning through cultural expression (literature, art, music, drama)
Using locations, rooms and materials to enable children’s learning
Health and Safety, including Nutrition and First Aid for children
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
Administrative skills, planning, curriculum-building and evaluation

Examinations will follow each module. Participants who pass through the one-year course will receive a Certificate of Achievement.

Who can apply
The training program is open to early childhood educators who wish to further develop their teaching skills and capacities, as well as others with an interest in developing skills in child-centred, participatory approaches to early childhood education.

Priority will be given to applicants who show dedication, interest, creativeness and love for children. Prior experience of work with children in pedagogical contexts is beneficial but not required.

How to apply
An application form is available here (in Arabic) and at The Freedom Theatre. You are obliged to fill the form and write a short letter of motivation. A selection committee will review all applications and choose the candidates.

The application deadline is September 20. Applicants will be informed if they have been selected for an interview by September 25.

1. All course participants must be able to travel to other towns in Palestine and to travel abroad for periods of up to two weeks without having to bring a protégé.
2. All participants must attend and pass all required courses. Absence without prior approval will not be tolerated; absence of up to ten per cent of each course will be accepted given that it has been pre-approved.
3. All fees have to be paid in due time.

The total cost of the course is 5000NIS for the whole year (two semesters) but the chosen participants will receive a scholarship by TFT to cover 4500NIS out of that amount. Thus, for the selected participants the cost will be only 500NIS for the entire year. This fee will be paid in two instalments, the first payment no later than one week before the start of the programme, and the other no later than one week before the start of the second semester. The fee will cover all expenses including educational materials, field study trips and internships as well as refreshments during study days. The most successful students who have completed all the courses will be selected for a study trip abroad.

The participant fee is non-refundable. If a participant quits the course before it ends that participant will not be paid back the fee.

Workshops will take place at The Freedom Theatre in Jenin refugee camp and at the Freedom Theatre School in Jenin city. Field trips will be made to other locations in Palestine and abroad.