In September 2012 Sounds of Palestine started in the kindergartens of two refugee camps in Bethlehem. Meanwhile nearly 100 children (age 4-5) receive weekly music workshops from experienced music educators. These workshops take place in two kindergartens in Al-Azzeh and Dheisheh refugee camp.
During these workshops the children get a chance to empower their social and emotional development. Through singing, percussion, movement and musical games social skills, teamwork and mutual respect is developed.
All workshops are based on the creativity and expression of the children and are attended by a social pedagogical worker who offers extra social support to the children and their families whenever needed.
In September 2013, after SoP’s first year in the kindergarten, the oldest kindergarten children entered the first grade. 30 children have applied to join our after-school music program and since then the program expanded every year. Currently around 160 students (grade 1-10) follow the after-school program twice a week. Here, they participate in the orchestra, choir, music theory and instrument lessons (Arabic percussion, violin, cello, double bass, flute and clarinet) as well as in art activities.
The classes are accompanied by social pedagogical workers. They support the music teachers and conduct discussion rounds and guided team games with the children. The social pedagogical workers are in contact with the families of the children and offer them long-term support.
The children receive a full, freshly cooked lunch and fresh fruit during breaks. In order to ensure the safety of the children, they are picked up at assembly points by the project’s own transport service to class and brought back to the assembly points after class.
Several times a year, performances are organized in which the young instrumentalists can perform their musical skills. Parents, family and friends are invited to the concerts and get to see the result of the children’s hard work.
The plan is to continue to accept new first-graders into the program on a regular basis and enable the older children to continue participating in the program until they have finished school.
Music Summer School
The Music Summer Schools round up Sounds of Palestine’s year-round program and are a highlight for the children who participate in Sounds of Palestine’s after-school program during the school year.
The music summer schools in which the music is combined with art and fun activities as well as with a trip to the swimming pool, are a welcome intermission from the long summer vacation. The 8-10 days of intense and focused work consolidate the results achieved during the school year – socially and musically. Each day also includes healthy snacks and a freshly cooked meal, and each music summer school concludes with a festive concert.