"Philosophy of Educating our Children
At SVA we are challenging students with developmentally appropriate academic activities, as this will foster the love of learning. Research has proven that this approach prevents children from feeling bored or overwhelmed. Boredom, anxiety, and frustration felt when overwhelmed all result in children getting turned off from learning.
Also, it is a priority of the school to provide a safe and nurturing environment because this directly follows the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAS). This was very clearly stated in an article by Karen Keyworth in the Nov/Dec 2002 issue of Islamic Horizons:
"Modern research has offered an explanation for that which we can infer from our Sunnah-when children are afraid, they cannot learn well. The brain will not attend to both fears and facts simultaneously. When a child feels fear, the brain focuses on that fear and dulls attention to other issues. The brain deliberately makes it difficult for children to learn when they are afraid because it is diverting all of its energy toward defense strategies and "flight or fight" responses in the body.
The simple consequence of this knowledge for educators is to do all we can to decrease fear. When teachers provide a safe and happy environment in which to learn, they free up more of the children's brain power to focus on learning."
Our goal is not just formal education but "tarbiyah". As Dr. Ekram Beshir and Muhammad Beshir describe in their book Parenting in the West,
"It is teaching the art of dealing properly with human nature at various levels and in different situations, thus ensuring a person's balanced upbringing that fulfils the purpose of his or her creation."
Islamic Schools' League of America explains further:
"Tarbiyah is the Arabic term for a type of education that addresses the heart, mind, body, and soul of a child. Tarbiyah puts God back at the center of all your child's learning experiences. For example, when your child studies pollution in science, woven through out the lesson could be the exploration of the responsibility of the khalifah that humans were given by our Lord. "Behold thy Lord said to the angels: 'I will create a vicegerent on earth.'" (2:30) Students might be asked to contemplate their responsibility as the khalifah to take care of this earth while they learn about pollution. Tarbiyah provides a framework (that is a blend of Islam and academics) around which your school can adapt or build a curriculum."
More on Integrated Islam
We have a cross-curricular approach to inspire Islam in the hearts and minds of our students. Islamic principles are addressed and made relevant within social studies, science, and literature classes through discussions and making connections.
Integrated thematic units, including related Quran and Hadith, foster the development of moral and spiritual intelligence, academic knowledge and higher level critical thinking.
Our approach to "Islamic" studies offers children a way to relate Islam to the world around them and assimilate this into their daily lives. Students are exposed to a broad spectrum of experiences helping them to develop the ability to discriminate between what is beneficial and what is harmful.
Most importantly, we work to create a safe, caring and nurturing setting. This allows Islamic values such as cooperation, generosity, self-discipline, consideration and responsibility to be assimilated and practiced. In following the tradition of the Prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him, we are open to all who want to learn.
Excerpted from the preschool's website