Palestinian Teachers Day

This day is the perfect moment to salute a special group of Palestinian educators. Seventeen remarkable teachers from five Nablus-area preschools have come together for their first specialized training on early childhood development (ECD)

I am thrilled with the level of education and commitment among the teachers in this training group. They choose to work in preschools because they see the value of early childhood development and of giving back in the places they live. This is a sign that preschool education in Palestine has come a long way in the last decade. 

17 preschool teachers participating in Anera's teacher training in Nablus, Palestine
These are the 17 Nablus-based preschool teachers participating in Anera 20-day course on early childhood development. The teachers were supposed to have come together in 2020, but COVID restrictions didn’t allow it. Now, all of the participants are vaccinated and can gather in person.

Anera launched our ECD program in Palestine in 2011 to improve education for children during their most formative years. School facilities are improving all the time – Anera alone has built or renovated 208 preschools. Parents are more involved in their children’s education. And the ministry of education, with help from Anera, has standardized a national preschool curriculum

But perhaps what is most exciting to me is the change I see among the teachers. It used to be the case that working in a preschool was merely seen as a stepping stone to other opportunities. The job didn’t have a high bar for qualifications. It also didn’t pay well. 

Now, with this group of teachers in Nablus, I see 17 women who are working at schools that Anera built in their villages. They earn higher wages and they view themselves as providing a vital service to children who really need them. One teacher told me that, without the new school and its dedicated teaching staff, those children who are now learning would otherwise be out on the streets. 

The new preschool Anera built in Till, Palestine
The new preschool Anera built in Till, in the Nablus governorate, with funds from the Ghiath and Nadia Sukhtian Foundation. 14 out of the 17 teachers participating in the training work at new preschools that Sukhtian funded.

There currently are no specialist ECD degrees in Palestine. This is where Anera comes in. We train and mentor teachers on better empathizing with children, questioning their own teaching approaches, and creating a space for their young students to learn and grow. 

The teachers in this training group have embraced a whole range of good skills they are ready to take back to their classrooms, from handling emotionally difficult situations to reading stories with a tone that resonates with children. They are excited to move away from a didactic approach to teaching, instead giving children the space to learn at their own pace. These teachers are actually coaches – and they have worked that way with each other. The training program gave each teacher the time to reflect – with her peers – on what she does in her classroom and how she can improve things moving forward. 

The teachers I work with are Palestinian. The trainers are Palestinian too. They’re grounded in what works in Palestinian education. And now we have a group of people who are going to stay with Palestine’s early childhood development sector. They are our future trainers and government supervisors. And I salute them on this Palestinian Teachers Day.

Thank you to the Ghiath and Nadia Sukhtian Foundation for funding the construction of four beautiful new preschools in the Nablus governorate: in Deir El Hatab, Bazariya, Nassariya and Till. These preschools create jobs for local teachers and give preschool-aged children a good start on learning for life.




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