In this counseling answer:
“At that age, much learning is implicit and comes from awareness; therefore, it is important to pay attention to environmental factors, including the behavior modeled by siblings, parents, and other adults.
Children will often learn more from what they see and experience than from what they are told.”
Thanks for the question and your interest in the kind of education you hope to give to your child. Education is about a process of becoming, so the education one seeks is a crucial factor in what one will become.
However, it is also important to broaden the definition of education beyond formal schooling so as to include all the informal ways we learn.
In this context, Islamic education is the process of becoming a Muslim which may include learning a vocation or various forms of abstract knowledge, but first and foremost it is becoming a Muslim.
In fact, all education is about becoming something, and when we consciously seek an education—most often through schooling—, we are in a sense seeking to become someone else which often depends on the values embodied in the system from which we seek an education.
On a more subtle level, we are educated daily by the media and primary and secondary experiences, so Islamic education is also a function of living in an Islamic community or society.
On a more practical level, from my experience, it seems that such questions are important to many Muslims, so that is another reason why we should discuss them.
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Most 4-year-olds are quite inquisitive, therefore, instead of focusing on what you can teach them, it might be useful to listen to what they want to learn, the questions they ask, and then frame your answers according to your beliefs and what you think is important for them to know intellectually. But remember that this is only one aspect of learning.
At that age, much learning is implicit and comes from awareness; therefore, it is important to pay attention to environmental factors, including the behavior modeled by siblings, parents, and other adults.
This is a form of teaching that is often neglected in favor of the intellectual method. Children will often learn more from what they see and experience than from what they are told.
This experiential learning can also come from outside the home; it comes in various ways, including things like TV and shopping, and it depends very much on the society in which one lives.
I also think children can benefit immensely from experiencing nature as the creation of Allah: not by looking at pictures or talking about nature but by directly experiencing nature in whatever ways possible where you live.
Such learning will have a far deeper impact at that age than anything we might teach children about doctrine.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.