when some of us think that the West has better ways to educate a child, i beg to differ. yes, we found lots of Western theories & books in the market, and with minimal books about educating a child in Islamic way. & if it is, most of the time it doesnt kupas the point until we understand the relationship between Islam and this very age (but there are some good books to read).
as in early education, Islam also has agreement with Western theoris about physical activity. that's why Saidina Ali suggested for under 7 YO kids, they should be taught through play & let them play.
the 'play' is not computer game, definitely. what had been mentioned was anything that give benefit, like physical activities, role plays, & toys those stimulate a child. according to At-Tabrani, Rasulullah recommended us to play archery, horse riding and swimming. Aisyah played with dolls during her childhood. as long as it gives benefit to them and does not associate with other religion and khurafat, it is allowed.
the importance of 'play' for children under 7YO:-
- their tendecy to play is high at that age.
- a study said that a child who spend 5-6 hours a day doing physical activity will do better in Maths, Language, social skill & leadership than a child with less than 2 hours doing it.
- physical activity helps our children to stay healthy and maintain excellent weigh.
- a good physic ignites excellent mind. a hadis by At-Tabrani said "an energetic child is going to be a very effective adult".
- toys like dolls, animals, cars, blocks, provide room for creativity and imagination.
Rasulullah liked to play with his grandchildren and sahabahs' kids. he used to go among them and offered presents for the fastest runners among those kids. Hassan & Hussein loved to be on his back, playing pretend, where Rasulullah was the horse and they were the riders.
the best part is, according to Imam Ghazali, the play always comes after hardworks. meaning, after the kids had their study time & other obligation, then they went to play. English idiom also says that, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. so does in Islamic practice.
but today's world is different. when i pass by churchs, usually they have basketball court in the yards but not all masjid has space to play, unless there's school within it. and kids are prohibited to play in masjid, either inside or outside, meanwhile during Rasulullah time, he never prohibited, and even he stopped sahabahs who scolded those children. they even played under the mimbar during Rasulullah's khutbah and he was happy with it.
as what had been said by al-Ghazali, those kids received a very good lesson at home to build their akidah, and the parents did not leave them with just -play-.
Islam has shown a well-balance child education method, hasn't it?