Spring is full of activities at Yavneh – from our lower school class milestones and middle school journeys, including the eighth grade Israel experience – to West Bay Opera, model seders, Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut ceremonies, the Art Walk, the annual meeting, Lag Ba’Omer Field Day, Walkathon, the School Musical, Tzofim Caravan, and more. In recent years we have really worked hard to make our ceremonies and celebrations increasingly student conceived, led and driven. It is gratifying to see how these events have become even more authentic, and yet, have retained much of the polish of a teacher scripted performance.
This evolution in approach is a result of a shift in philosophy that focuses on the “why” or the intention behind everything that we do as a school. One of the school’s fundamental beliefs is that learning is more effective when it is purposeful and relevant. In order for our students to truly benefit from these events, we make every attempt to allow students to create their own meaning and purpose by their involvement in the creation and execution of these ceremonies.
Making students partners in their education isn’t limited to ceremonies, it is evident throughout the Yavneh experience. Two weeks ago, our fourth graders had to deal with the cancelation of the much-anticipated gold rush trip due to unseasonable and unsafe snow conditions. Their talented teacher, Renee Fine, helped turn their lemons into lemonade by empowering the students to brainstorm and design alternate activities.
As a school that has heavily invested in STEAM education, many of our students were intellectually and emotionally invested in the attempted landing of the Beresheet Lunar Craft, the first Israeli vessel (and fourth nation’s spacecraft) to attempt such a landing. We jumped at the opportunity for our students to meet with Yonatan Weinberg, a co-founder of Space IL. Our student body flooded him with questions about every imaginable aspect of this venture. When it was time to end the all-school assembly, there were as many hands in the air as there were at the beginning. Our students’ curiosity is insatiable… and it is our job to continue to foster that curiosity in every way that we can. #ThisIsWhy!