Soft colored walls, adequate lighting, child-friendly furniture, soft cotton curtains and single-color carpeting promise an inviting and safe environment for preschoolers.
Child-friendly lavatories that are easily accessible help ensure taught hygienic practices are being applied.
Through its early childhood development (ECD) program, Anera is leaving its special mark on nearly 140 preschools in Palestine that have been renovated according to Anera’s high standards.
Although location and staff differ from one preschool to another, all the interiors carry the same identity. The first thing one notices when entering an Anera-renovated preschool is the pleasant, cheerful ambiance.
It is not by chance. Furniture styles and specifications are the result of careful planning and evaluation by Anera’s team of early childhood experts. All the toys, books and other educational materials are at arm’s length in and neatly stored in locally-produced, stylish and colorful cupboards and shelves.
Appropriate high-quality fixtures and fitting, including wood furniture, carpets and curtains are essential in making preschool environments more conducive to learning.
“Appropriate high-quality fixtures and fitting, including wood furniture, carpets and curtains are essential in making preschool environments more conducive to learning and ensuring that children have a positive experience during their preschool years,” explains Anera’s Palestine education director, Sulieman Mleahat.
The soft shades of green, blue, pink, orange and yellow that decorate the walls, along with the matching curtains help create a cheerful and serene environment for children.
“Softer colors help children focus better, as they are a limited source of distraction and infuse a positive vibe that motivates the little ones,” says preschool teacher Wijdan Moqdi. That is why the same colors are also used on wood furnishings. The sturdy pieces of furniture are built to accommodate children’s sizes and heights, and have smooth surfaces and rounded edges to ensure that they are as safe and as practical as can be.
Local Carpenters Build Furniture for Preschools in Palestine
Anera contributes to the sustainability of Palestinian vendors and economic development in Palestine by putting its trust in Palestinian-made products and using local artisans to produce the furnishings. It also creates job opportunities in Palestine that help support scores of families.
For instance, local carpenter Fouad Nassar is a long-time partner of Anera. Fouad started Nassar Office Furniture Company in 1986, and today the company provides most of the child-friendly furniture Anera uses to equip its preschools. The company has a workshop located in Birnabala and also has retail shops in Ramallah and Jerusalem. Fouad’s success has produced the income needed to support his family—including four children and 11 grandchildren. Fouad’s company also employs other Palestinian workers, such as 35-year-old Kareem Nazeem from Jaba. Kareem has worked at Nassar Office Furniture Company for 15 years, enabling him to provide for his wife and three kids.
The majority of workers are parents and even grandparents of young children, and many of them are from the same communities where our ECD program is developing. Families say Anera offers a gift to Palestine’s youngest generation but also to their community.
Sulieman Mleahat says the beautiful furnishings and decoration inside the preschools are a testament to the creative passion and love of Palestinian hands—the coarse hands of a carpenter, the firm grip of a construction worker, the precise fingers of a tailor, the skilled touch of a welder, or the creative hands of an engineer.