Press Release: House of Hope Joins Spirit of Childhood Alliance

2019 is off to an exciting start for House of Hope! Today, the Spirit of Childhood Alliance named House of Hope its first West Bank Palestinian organization member. Read more below!

Spirit of Childhood Alliance Announces First West Bank Palestinian Member

House of Hope Joins Alliance to Improve Access to Trauma-Informed Education Best Practices for Children Harmed by Toxic Stress in Crisis Zones

Los Angeles, Calif, January 8, 2019- Today reGeneration Education announced that House of Hope has joined the Spirit of Childhood Alliance, a global coalition of education leaders united to decrease the damaging effects of toxic stress on children living in crisis zones. A holistically-minded kindergarten and elementary school in Abu Dis, House of Hope is the first Palestinian organization in the West Bank to join Spirit of Childhood Alliance and share trauma-informed educational best practices for children living in communities impacted by war and violent conflict, natural disasters, and poverty.

Healthy childhood development involves exposure to positive stress, which is moderate, short-lived and helps children learn how to face challenges. However, toxic stress, which the American Academy of Pediatrics defines as “the excessive or prolonged activation of the physiologic stress response systems in the absence of the buffering protection afforded by stable, responsive relationships,” causes lifelong problems. Research shows that it provokes psychiatric disorders, impairs brain architecture, and alters gene expression. A hallmark of childhood in crisis zones, toxic stress is also detrimental to aspirations for peace and communal health, as it hinders the development of prosocial behavior or positive actions prompted by empathy.

“The transformative power of early childhood development and education can be overlooked when communities are struggling to simply find food, shelter or safety,” said Shepha Schneirsohn Vainstein, MA LMFT, President of reGeneration Education, a founding organization of Spirit of Childhood Alliance. “Studies show that when young children, especially those experiencing toxic stress, receive quality early childhood care and education, they are better able to learn, avoid responding to frustration with violence, and productively contribute to society in later years. Spirit of Childhood Alliance is delighted to welcome House of Hope to its coalition of global leaders working to improve access to trauma-informed early childhood and elementary education in crisis zones.”

As in many crisis zones, the public education system in the Palestinian communities served by House of Hope lacks the resources to adequately address student’s toxic stress. Instead, House of Hope fills this gap with a learning environment that overcomes trauma-induced educational barriers and decreases the likelihood that students will respond to toxic stress with violence as teenagers or adults.

“House of Hope is the only school in the West Bank whose founding principles are based in nonviolence, the practice of causing no harm to oneself or others- no matter what,” said Milad Vosgueritchian, Cofounder and Chairman of House of Hope. “We are a healing organization that blends different approaches to holistic education: dance therapy, environmental therapy, music and art therapy, Waldorf education, NonViolent Communication (NVC). This year we celebrated reaching 15,000 children since our founding a decade ago. We are honored to join the Spirit of Childhood Alliance and strengthen its collective work to bring transformational healing through holistic education to disadvantaged children around the world.”

Since its launch in 2015, Spirit of Childhood Alliance organized two international conferences in Jerusalem to share sustainable methodologies for teaching children who encounter educational barriers caused by toxic stress. Since both conferences, Alliance members have worked together to identify, develop and allocate sustainable resources to positively affect the future of young children in dozens of crisis zones.

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Spirit of Childhood Alliance

Spirit of Childhood Alliance is a global coalition of leaders in trauma-informed education united to mitigate the damaging effects of toxic stress on children in crisis zones. Founded in 2015, Its members provide on the ground support to children living in communities impacted by war and violent conflict, natural disasters, and poverty.

reGeneration Education

reGeneration Education advances peacebuilding through innovative approaches to the education, development, and resilience of young children in crisis zones so they are able to imagine and create a better future. To learn more, visit http://regenerationeducation.org.

House of Hope

House of Hope nurtures the wellbeing of young Palestinian children caught in the crosshairs of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Founded in 2008 as a community youth center in the West Bank village of Al-Eizariya, House of Hope expanded in 2014 when it opened a holistically minded kindergarten and elementary school for young children experiencing cyclical regional violence and household poverty. House of Hope students learn healthy skills for coping with trauma, such as art and music expression, therapeutic body movement and other self-esteem affirming activities. Students also practice Nonviolent Communication, a healing approach to conflict resolution and communication. For more information, please visit www.supportinghouseofhope.org.