بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Pre-school Education in Islam
As-Salaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuhu
I welcome you to this important conference and thank our hostesses, our sisters in Indonesia, the country whose people embraced Islam through traders, without war, and fighting, the country that hosted a number of Khilafah "Caliphate" conferences, and I offer thanks to the party's Women Section for their efforts in supervising the holding of this conference and may Allah bless everyone and write this in the balance of your good deeds.
My dear sisters:
Pre-school education is the first pillar in building the personality of a child in the first five or six years of his life; in which the parents have a prominent effect, combined with the effort of the teacher when the child goes to kindergarten.
Islam has given care to this stage for its importance, and emphasized founding the curriculum based on the Islamic creed; study materials and teaching methods are all formulated to ensure that education is not diverted from this basis, in order to achieve the aims of pre-school education and the following stages to build the Islamic personality; by building the Islamic mentality and Islamic disposition, and to enable the child to deal with his surrounding environment.
The Education Curriculum in the Pre-school Stage:
The study materials should converge on composing and expanding the child’s linguistic capacity, by continuously communicating to him and by encouraging him to speak his mind and internal thoughts through speaking, and to ensure proper pronunciation of letters, by making him memorize some Surahs (chapters) from the Qur’an and Nasheeds (songs) and reading stories. Care should be given to teach the child his body parts and how to express his emotions and explain the relationship between himself and his relatives, and when teaching him writing and letters they must be linked to material things and Islamic concepts. Also attention should be given to the questions asked by the child and they must be answered with clear, correct and persuasive answers, and his questions should be taken seriously. He should also be taught about directions, lengths and sizes and the benefits of the things that he uses and how to use them, and to keep harmful objects away from him; like scissors, knives, gas and fire, and explain their harm, and teaching him how to use them if he has to. And he should learn how to wash his hands and face and teeth, and how to wear his clothes and tie his shoes, etc. And also he should be taught about his surrounding environment including animals and objects, and geography of the place where he lives, like the mountains, plains, rivers, sun, moon, stars, city, village and neighborhood, his family and relatives and neighbors.
My Sisters, in the audience and the viewers:
Now we come to the method of teaching in the pre-school stage: Attention should be paid to the components of the mind immensely, care must be given to the brain and senses in terms of growth, and to make sure there are no diseases or disabilities the child suffers from, either in the brain or the senses, and to be treated at once if found. The basic needs of the child must be met in order for his brain and senses to grow naturally, for this care should be given to his food and drink and cleanliness and health, and to address some of the symptoms of diseases like stomach aches or crying or screaming. The child should have safe places for playing and moving, with the supervision of a mentor to ensure a natural and healthy growth of his body and organs, for him to be able to use them. Toys with bigger sizes should be chosen for him at the beginning so as he grows older he can play with small toys, to train his small muscles, and for the development of coordination between muscles and sight.
It is worth mentioning that the best way to teach a child concepts is to link the words to the reality, if the reality is tangible, sensed and present, then it must be linked to the word directly, the child should be told: “this is an apple” in a clear voice and should be given an apple to touch it, smell it and taste it, or that: “ this is a book in Arabic language”, and give him the book so he can browse through and see inside of it. But if the physical reality is not present, we show the child a picture of it and tell him its name, for example, “this is a lion” with reference to an image of a lion, or “this is a mountain” with reference to an image of a mountain. And if the reality is sensed as a feeling such as hunger or thirst then we link an image of a hungry child to the term “hunger”, or an image of a thirsty child to the word “thirst”, or an image of a frightened child and the term “fear” and so on. If the reality is not sensed and intangible but its effects indicates it, we show the child the effects and the link between it and the reality, for example, “Allah, is the Creator” and link it with people, animals, and inanimate objects, the sky, the earth and the moon and other things that indicate the presence of the Creator. Or the link between the word “electricity” and lighting a bulb or the fan movement, or between the word “air” and the movement of the trees, or making a paper fan and waving it in front of his face. If the reality is not present, like Prophets and Messengers, then we read to the child verses from the Quran that tells him about them. He should also be taught the Halal and Haram to assess actions, for example, to display a picture of kids doing a variety of activities and classify the actions in them as Halal or Haram.
Indeed in Islam, the way in which the intellectual addresses and receives its knowledge intellectually is fixed, whereas the styles and means are a changing and diverse, like teaching (for memorization), repetition, dialogue, discussion, stories, imitation, problem solving, testing, and direct practical training ... and often a style requires one specific style or more to do the job, for example, the intellectual addressing-receiving method used to be by pen and paper, oral, copying, and writing, but today it is done through printed or moving images, audio tapes, and laboratory experiments. The scientific method can also be used for teaching him the properties of things through tasting them like tasting salty, sour, hot, cold, bitter, sweet or through smelling, like smelling perfume and roses. We must be keen to instill the first basics of the four major values: the spiritual value, from childhood, by linking the Islamic creed and the teachings of Shariah: acts of worship (ibadat), morality, clothing, food and transactions. And the humanitarian value, starting with teaching children family ties, to teaching the child of concepts regarding relatives and treating them well (Ihsan), and respecting them, and teach them about neighbors, friends and being kind to them and to cooperate with them. And the ethical value, through raising children from an early age on Islamic ethics. And the material value, to teach the child how to look after his hygiene, health and his physical strength, and to talk to him about the future and what job he wants to do, and help him take the first steps to achieve it, this helps the correct development of the child's personality.
We often complain of disobedience and rebellious behavior in children, so how can we handle this according to Islam, so that they do what they are asked without complaint or anger?
We used to use examples or tell a story to influence children, but today there are new styles of doing so, including knowing the thinking pattern of the child, if it is visual or by listening, or by sensing. Another way is to establish a dialogue with him in order to know. Is he one of the people who prefer to have fun or those who focus on avoiding pain? Is he one of those who are affected by what others say, or among those who speak to themselves? Is the child one of those who care for their own interests or the interests of others? Is he among those who focus on the differences or similarities between things? Is he convinced quickly once, or does he need to be convinced every time? Is he among people who feel compelled when carrying out activities, or is driven by his own desire for it? There is a different way to discuss with each of them.
There is a third method: to let the child speak about himself and his ambitions and dreams, and to help him in achieving them by putting him on the first step to achieve them, as well as teaching him how to control his feelings.
It is also important for mentors to realize the importance of effective commands, namely how to ask a child something using kindness, when giving an order like using the word "please" or "If you may". So if he fulfills the order, then say to him "thank you" or "well done" or "Barak Allah feek.", but when he doesn't comply, then we should be firm by giving the order with a more serious tone but calmly. We must not give out vague orders nor should we make the order sound like a question, and not to comment on bad behavior while giving the order, and not to give reasons for a particular law during his bad behavior, the time to clarify the law or behavioral rule required, must be prior to the disobedience or after it but not during the bad behavior.
A child, like any other, is prone to bad behaviors, so how can this behavior be corrected according to Islam? There are several methods including:
1. The reward method (promoting) i.e Thawab: The Qur’an used the manner of reward and punishment in correcting human behavior, the mentor must use the method of reward or Thawab to promote correct behavior subject to the concept of Halal, and must not forget to quickly reward the Halal behavior, so that the child connects between the action he has done and the reward, and we must continue to reward him whenever the child repeats the same action or another. We must praise the Halal behavior more than praising the child, if the child responds to the call of his mother, we tell him: Your obedience to your mother is a good deed that Allah will reward you for, this is better than saying to him: you are good and you are great. To give him a nice looking star on each correct answer or homework that he completes will enhance his success and lead to another success. As well as using the carrot approach, when we ask the child to do something that he does not like or does not desire to do, but that one thing is important for him, to learn and carry out, for instance; to tell him if you complete your homework, I will allow you to play a game that you love, this gives the child motivation to carry out the tasks that he does not like but that are necessary for him. But my sisters, we must pay attention and avoid three things: failure to reward a good behavior, and punishing a good behavior unintentionally, and rewarding a bad behavior unintentionally!!
2. Erasure method (intentionally ignoring the errors)
Is to ignore a bad behavior that the child does to draw attention, like disturbance or screaming, and to wait until the child's mood changes, when he stops screaming and clams down, then we give the child attention, and if the child wouldn't recognize the good behavior we demand him to go by, we teach it to him by instructing, and if the child annoys his brothers or his colleagues while they are praying or doing their homework to draw attention, we teach him how to pray with them, and give him a bag and a pen and a notebook and books so he can take part with his brothers in their studies and imitate them while they are writing or reading or reciting poetry or reciting verses of the Qur’an. If he is attending kindergarten then give him knowledge enriching homework.
3. Method of punishment:
Such as exclusion and scolding and showing discontent and the natural results of a bad behavior, if it wasn't a reckless one. But if the results are dangerous then move to the logical consequence of bad behavior and punishment of the behavior. At this stage, beating is not advised.
This was a brief summary of the pre-school education in the righteous Khilafah "Caliphate" State on the method of Prophethood, that will be returning soon, Allah willing, and we ask Allah to use us to establish it and to be among those who witness its reestablishment and its loyal soldiers ... Ameen
Was-Salaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuhu
Najah As-Sabateen – Wilayah Jordan