At PILAglobal we believe that all children, regardless of economic or geographic considerations, are entitled to an education that sparks creativity, curiosity, and joy.
So we created “Nests,” innovative and engaging education spaces where young children can learn and heal through play. Our programs are built on three pillars that allow children experiencing displacement and poverty to thrive:
Nest classrooms are outfitted with materials that inspire curiosity, invention, and creative expression. For children who have been separated from the familiarity of home, the opportunity to be autonomous, make decisions, and play freely within a safe and supportive social environment is a significant restorative experience.
Nests nurture children’s bodies as well as their minds through healthy meals and snacks during the school day.
All children deserve to be fully seen. Nest children are especially in need of warm, loving, consistent adults who can facilitate not only academic learning but also personal growth and healing. Nest teachers are careful observers who are highly attuned to changing needs of each child. This individualized approach makes each child feel valued. PILAglobal’s Nests are staffed by teams of local asylum seekers, educators and international volunteers — all of whom are trained in trauma-informed practice and pedagogy. Teachers and volunteers join children in play, helping them grow emotionally, socially, and intellectually.
Educators, or professionals with backgrounds in related fields, volunteer in our Nests in Greece and Mexico. They bring a wealth of knowledge of child development, education, art and trauma informed-practice. Additionally, all International Nesters take part in a training program to prepare them for their work at the Nest. Our Nesters hail from across the globe and enrich our Nests with their cultural and professional backgrounds.
Local Nesters are adults who live in the refugee camps and shelters that we serve. They volunteer daily in the Nests, bringing first-hand knowledge of the values, culture, language and circumstances of the children. They too are prepared for their work through a training program that introduces them to constructivist principles and trauma-informed practices.
Understanding that parental mental health is a key determiner of healthy child development, Nests offer support services to parents aimed at strengthening connections with their children and developing strategies to better manage daily stressors.