The educational philosophy of Toobaa Academy’s elementary school is influenced by the observations of respected author and educator John Holt. In his book ‘How Children Learn,’ he describes the natural learning style of young children and how, in a trusting environment, children are eager to learn about the world around them. During the first two years of their life, they learn how to roll over, crawl, sit up, stand, walk, and talk without instruction. They are naturally open to new experiences and are not afraid to be experimental. Wise parents leave them alone to discover their capabilities because they know that children are born with an eagerness to understand the world around them.
As educators at Toobaa, we developed the curriculum of our elementary school with John Holt’s principles in mind. We understand that children know best how to go about learning. We first establish a trusting environment, and then we nurture their innate curiosity by presenting them with opportunities to learn.
The content of the elementary curriculum is structured to enable our students to develop the skills and self-discipline they will need for a lifetime of learning. We give them plenty of quiet time to reflect and think about what they are learning and allow them the solitude and privacy they need to invent solutions, to dream, and to fantasize. We understand that there are many ways to learn, and we trust our students to give us the cues on which ways are best for them. These cues allow us to educate each of our girls with careful attention to her individual needs, skills, and abilities.
Based on Holt’s theory of ‘unschooling children,’ we protect their eagerness to learn by not ‘grading’ their efforts and by applauding their many questions because we know that curiosity is essential to learning and that when children do not ask questions because they are afraid of revealing their ignorance, they do not learn. Our intent is to set the scene for success in a stress-free, unstructured environment and allow our students to take joy in the intrinsic values of whatever they are learning – the natural way.
As students mature in the upper elementary grades (3, 4, and 5) we engage them in an integrated curriculum that encompasses the following subjects:
It seems that the need for spiritual guidance has never been greater than it is today – that religion has been stripped of its beauty. Only the shell of Islam is being taught, while its beautiful kernel, the foundation of which is love and mercy, is neglected. This leaves children in a vulnerable and confused state of mind where they are more likely to make poor decisions and follow paths that lead to greater confusion. Many parents are at a loss as to how to teach their children about Islam.
At Toobaa, we believe that it is a right of children that they be allowed to know their Creator and to develop the innate goodness that God has placed within each of them. We tap into the wisdom of traditional Islam to help our girls navigate this challenging era so that they can grow into productive, ethical and humane adults. The foundation of Toobaa’s spiritual program at the Elementary School level lies in the spoken words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him, that pertain to love and mercy. We introduce the beautiful recitation and memorization of the Holy Quran with care, honor and respect. With these words and lessons firmly in their hearts, our students learn to be patient and to trust God’s wisdom and guidance. At all times, we are beside each girl leading her on the beautiful path toward peace, tranquility, and the light of knowledge.