Since it’s founding in 2009 Al-Mada has worked with young children, educators and early childhood specialists to incorporate the arts and creative practices into early educational settings, including daycares and kindergartens. On one hand the program works with children directly, giving them a chance to experience music, art and creative exploration in ways that facilitate their learning processes/ experiences.
Many kindergartens in Palestine are under resourced and lack appropriate support services, while many educators may be under qualified. Thus, the program also works with educators and caregivers so that they can actively incorporate the arts into their daily curriculum and work, increase the teaching skills, and sustain the interventions we do with children. Al-Mada specializes in working with both children and caregivers who have no prior musical training and successfully incorporating them into creative processes.
The Early Childhood Development program was developed from the work of Odeh Turjman, Al-Mada Founder and Artistic Director. Mr. Turjman was the first to initiate, plan, implement and supervise a national program with Ministry of Education to introduce music education in governmental schools. This included extensive work designing curriculum, recording music, and developing supporting materials targeting young children and their caregivers that is linguistically and culturally appropriate, including a manual specifically for early childhood workers.
This legacy continues to this day in Al Mada’s work and this program supports direct work with children, arts-based trainings for early childhood development specialists, recordings in Arabic for young children, and advocacy work to centralize the arts within the Palestinian educational system, whether governmental (through the Ministry of Education), UNRWA (the agency working for Palestinian refugees), or private institutions.