Our children are 3, 4 and 5 years old… they believe without a shadow of a doubt, in fairies and magic! They know the tooth fairy or tooth mouse are real, and will argue that mermaids ride the ocean tides, while gnomes adorn the forest beds.
Zaya Early Learning - Keeping the Magic Alive
We have so much to envy! The world around them is full of magic, imagine what living each day must be like, secure in that knowledge.This is absolutely what childhood is about, this is the stuff that separates childhood from adulthood, the stuff that makes children so incredible, so innocent. It’s the stuff we never want them to have to let go of, but inevitably we know they do…
Today they went on a nature walk around the block, as they do regularly. Our ELC is in a quiet suburban street in Al Manara, and they stroll along the street clasping their rope, walking past several marvels. They walk past the favoured mango tree and spot the cotton bush which was recently trimmed, leaving them with pockets full of cotton balls to take back to their class. They greet the birds and admire the fresh clouds which sprinkle raindrop fairies lightly onto their faces.
Occasionally they look up and see an airplane flying behind the clouds, and the wonder that assumes its rightful place on their faces tells us that the planes must be off to a magic kingdom of endless possibility… for our children are well travelled, and they are all familiarized with the magic of new adventures.
On their return to the ELC they delight in the fresh puddles of water, that are such a novelty in Dubai, and children gravitate to like a moth to the flame. They return, wide-eyed, a little soggy and full of wonder. Their day has begun and is full of new magical possibility.
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At Zaya Early Learning, there is however, no distinct differentiation between the magic they just experienced outside to the magic they experience in their classroom. Much like an imaginary cocoon, their classrooms resemble something straight out of a fairy tale. Little corners where play spaces are embellished with hanging crystals, perfectly placed to catch the sun’s rays as they enter the classroom. Wands, crowns, capes and silk butterfly wings drape the tiny hooks that line the walls, ready for serious sessions of imaginary play.
As teachers, we know only too well, the reality that our little students must come to terms with, as we prepare their tables for a numeracy lesson, while they continue to play, unaware of the pending breach from their imaginations.
However, at Zaya Early Learning
, we believe that there can be beneficial unison between the child’s imagination and the skills they must acquire as they transition to traditional learning. We recognize the vital role we have to play in the young child’s introduction to formal learning and we work with mainstream academic goals as well as age appropriate milestones, but with the vigilant protection of the magic of childhood, and an acute awareness of the young child’s needs to regularly visit a world where fairies can exist.
Childhood fleets, and as a Waldorf inspired Early Learning Center, we implement a century old, proven educational system, that preserves the integrity of the young child’s development and encourages their imagination, while gently introducing our students to the brand new world of letters, numbers, writing, counting, rules and ultimately growing up.
Inevitably our children do grow up and realise that the magical world in which their imaginations could reign, there is a reality that awaits them. Pixie dust or magic kisses won’t make their problems disappear, and classrooms become a space that they will spend an enormous amount of their lives. The fairies and gnomes will eventually pack their bags and leave, never to return again… Their time will come, as it did for us, but for the short time where childhood is a magical realm, education can be just as magical and can lay the foundations for a desire to learn, a natural curiosity to flourish and for the magic of childhood to be kept alive.