Toobaa Academy is deeply indebted to John Holt’s theories of bringing up children, and our educational philosophy is based on his beliefs. John Holt was a renowned educator who was convinced that curiosity is innate in children and that they are natural learners if given the opportunity to follow their own interests and are provided with a rich assortment of resources.
Like John Holt, we believe that when children are given a stimulating learning environment, they will learn what they are ready to learn, when they are ready to learn it. There is no need to force them to do so. This only puts a roadblock in the pathway of learning. Children not only have different interests at different times of their lives, they have different learning styles. At Toobaa Academy, we respect each child’s uniqueness, and we work to provide learning opportunities that take that uniqueness into consideration.
As John Holt has so wisely said, “We can best help children learn, not by deciding what we think they should learn and thinking of ingenious ways to teach it to them, but by making the world, as far as we can, accessible to them, paying serious attention to what they do, answering their questions – if they have any – and helping them explore the things they are most interested in.”
Beginning at the Elementary School level, we set the scene for success in a stress-free, unstructured environment, allowing our students to take joy in the intrinsic value of whatever they are learning. By the time they are in Middle School, they begin to mature both cognitively and developmentally, but we also recognize their natural exuberance, and we channel their energy into academic discovery – still acknowledging that they are still concrete thinkers who need to touch, feel, and manipulate objects to understand them. By High School they are ready to think and learn in more abstract ways, and our curriculum gives them the opportunity to engage in more complex learning challenges – including mastering foreign languages and preparing for REGENTS, SAT, and ACT examinations.
At the same time, we give them time for reflection, and we incorporate the values of the Islamic faith and the teachings of the Holy Quran throughout the Toobaa Academy experience. By the time they graduate from High School, our girls are ready to make valuable contributions to society while remaining firmly grounded in their faith. They emerge from Toobaa Academy self-directed, purposeful, and ready to live a meaningful life.