The Freedom Theatre’s work with children and youth stems from the Care and Learning project initiated by Arna Mer Khamis during the first Intifada in the late 1980s. Many of the children who participated in these activities later continued in The Freedom Theatre and are today leading their own programs and projects. Read more about The Freedom Theatre’s legacy.
In the activities for the young in our community, we put much emphasis on play as a foundation for a safe space where children of all ages are free to express themselves creatively and are strengthened in their ability to deal with difficulties in their everyday lives. We work with children from an early age through our playschool and after-school activities, nurturing the joyfulness and freedom that children have within them. We also offer pedagogical training to educators and others who meet young people in their profession, thereby building capacity to increase the quality of educational and leisure activities provided to children in our area.
When I grew up in Jenin Refugee Camp, theatre was an unknown concept. Now there is one in our neighbourhood. The children grow up with The Freedom Theatre. In my opinion they are the most important audience to us. If we can find a solution to their problems through theatre, we will indirectly find the beginning of a solution to our society’s problems. These children are the generation that will lead the country one day.” Ahmad Al Rokh, graduate of The Freedom Theatre School, actor and theatre instructor
Ongoing theatre workshops form one cornerstone of the Child & Youth program. The aim of the theatre workshops is to promote the participant’s imagination and creativity. At the end of each term, relatives of the participants are invited to see their children perform, thereby involving the families in the activities.
I was bored with just hanging around in my neighbourhood, I wanted to learn something new. I love being here and I wish I could come every day. I learn about acting but I also learn many other things. For example, I learned not to throw rubbish on the street, and I do the same at school now.” Jamal Abu Juos, theatre workshop participant
The Freedom Theatre offers daycare for children aged 0-5. The activities are based on a pedagogy of play and creativity, where learning takes place in a natural pace, through children’s innate curiosity to explore the world around them. The children are listened to and feel safe to express themselves, knowing that their opinions will be valued and respected. Our daycare offers a safe and joyful environment that enables the children to remain curious to learn and to grow throughout their lives!
The daycare is open from 7:30 to 15:30, Sunday to Thursday. Groups of children are small, maximum six children per facilitator. Nutritious, home-cooked and sugar-free meals are provided three times a day. We regard this as absolutely vital to the children’s health, development and ability to learn. Three times a week trips are made to nearby forests and playgrounds.
Training in creative and artistic activities with children
In November 2016, The Freedom Theatre initiated a one-year specialised training program in early childhood education with a focus on creativity and play. Read more about the program.