What Our Students Learn
If you’re wondering what makes Ajyal Academy different from other nurseries, we have an easy answer for you. It’s our values. Numerous studies have shown that preschool has a beneficial effect on the learning and development of young children. Yet we believe that what really makes a difference at this young age is not letters, words and songs, but values. What we teach children at this age about right and wrong is much more likely to stay with them than colors, shapes and animal names. Here we give you a brief description of the values we instill in our students and why we think they’re important.
At the young age of preschool, children have not yet grasped the concepts of right and wrong. They have a very difficult time fighting impulses and temptations, and are motivated primarily by instant gratification. A study by researchers at McGill University in Canada has shown that as children get older, they get better at controlling their impulses and following instructions, but they also are more prone to lie and get more skilled at sustaining their lies. But what’s most interesting is that the children feared punishment more than they wanted to make adults happy or do the right thing. Generally speaking, younger children tended to tell the truth to make adults happy while older children wanted to do the right thing. What that means is that punishment does not stop children from telling lies, but the opposite, it tends to increase lying.
Honesty is a fundamental Islamic value and a foundation for success in society. At Ajyal Academy, we encourage all children from a very young age to act and speak honestly, with no fear of punishment but because it’s the right thing to do in order to satisfy Allah and to become a trusted member of society. Correctly instilling these concepts in them at a young age makes them much more likely to grow up as honest individuals.
The concept of respect is much more than good manners. It starts with respect for one’s self. If a child learns to respect him/herself, they are less likely to get into situations where they can be disrespected by others. Their respect for themselves will stop them from being rude to others, from using bad language, from hitting other children and from neglecting their homework. But for a child to respect him/herself, they need first to feel respected by their parents, teachers and colleagues. When children are treated fairly and politely, their sense of self respect and self confidence is boosted, and they become less likely to disrespect others. That’s something we focus on at Ajyal Academy.
To teach children good manners, we frequently use a technique called “prompt and praise”. You can’t expect children to just know the rules of good behavior. You have to teach them first. For the “prompt” part, we teach children on the correct way to behave in a certain situation, for example when sitting down for a meal. Then we observe their behavior while in that same situation, and once we find them trying to follow correct behavior, even if not perfectly, we make sure to “praise” them for it. That way, the correct behavior is reinforced.
Children naturally want to learn. They have thousands of questions about themselves, the people around them and the world. They are always eager to know more and that’s what allows to acquire skills like language in a relatively short time while it would take adults much longer. Curiosity cannot be taken for granted though. If children are not encouraged to discover, explore and ask questions, their curiosity slowly dies. One of our major goals at Ajyal Academy is to prevent that form happening to our students. That’s why we use every occasion to encourage them to practice their curiosity, and we give them the essential tools to satisfy their curiosity.
We believe all children are creative. They just need the right tools and opportunities to demonstrate their creativity. Yet we also understand that each child is creative is in his/her own way. And we see our role as guiding each of our students to explore the activities through which his/her unique creative abilities can be channeled. This greatly boosts the students’ self respect while equipping them with essential tools for their future.
In today’s hyper-connected and super-specialized world, one can rarely get anything done without the help of colleagues and friends. The ability to collaborate in a civil and effective manner with one’s team mates is a prerequisite for success. We are completely aware of this fact and make group activities a essential component of our students curriculum. Not only that, but we monitor their interactions with each other and provide guidance to help them communicate and collaborate politely and effectively.
The prevalence of illnesses like obesity and diabetes are on the rise, due in large part to lack of physical activity. To teach our students the importance of being fit, we hold regular physical education (PE) sessions that teach children that activity is not only important but a lot of fun too. We hope this will help them cultivate a life-long exercise habit that will protect them against many of the illnesses that have become too common in today’s world.