Kfar Saba Democratic School

The Kfar Saba Democratic School was established in 1998, as a reaction to the murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.  It is the home of 410 children, ages 6 to 18, and 75 adults – two headmasters, teachers, therapists, consultants, teaching assistants, and maintenance workers. It aims to provide a democratic environment, which respects and preserves the human rights of each and every person.

 

The school is devoted to peace education in the Israeli society, which struggle a continual conflict between its Jewish and Arab communities and with its neighboring Palestinians and Arab states. The school is open for children and adults of all nationalities and religions.    

 

In 2014 the school was announced as an "Experimental School for Peace Education" by the Israeli Ministry of Education, for its five years initiative of cooperation with a school from the Arab city of Tybee, not far from Kfar Saba. This unique model consists of joined committees and parliament, collaborative courses, mutual visits, and a social circle composed of children, teachers and parents from the two schools. There are various Jewish-Arab projects in Israel, but this one is the first to be based upon a holistic approach. By the completion of the 5th year of the experiment, the two schools will become modeling schools for peace education, offering the knowledge and experience aaccumulated to other interested schools.

 

In 2010 the school was announced a "Green School" by the Israeli Ministry of Education, thanks to its contribution to the nearby environment, and to its courses on sustainable ways of life.

 

Loyal to its human rights vision, nine years ago the school opened two classes for children with autism, eight children in each. About 40 children with various ADHA symptoms are an integral part of the school's population. The school is not a special education school.

 

Democratic Community

The school enables and encourages a democratic way of life. Children, staff and parents, are welcome to directly influence the school's life at the weekly meetings of the school's parliament. The school's democratic system and organization is assimilated in its constitution.

 

The Learning Environment, and the Freedom of Choice

  • Based on the school's vision of human rights, there are no compulsory studies, and each child chooses a course plan from a given curriculum: the child becomes responsible for his/her own learning, accompanied by the guidance of a personal tutor, parents, and friends. A decision, then, is a result of a dynamic dialogue between all human components of the school's environment.

  • The learning environment suggests different methods - workshops, lectures, team-work, presentations, free time, internet-based lessons, games. A child can choose to study in a class or at a study center - individually, with peers, or with a teacher.

  • Children are welcome to suggest new subject matters: the school tries to response positively, in accordance with budget limitations and other considerations.  

  • Students who choose to, are able to take the matriculation exams.

 

Being a Teacher at the Democratic School

  • The prime role of the teacher is to maintain the child's mental and physical safety.

  • Mutual respect to every person is the prime educational goal.

  • Teachers should explore with the children the moral and ethical values assimilated in the different subject matters, and to examine them from a critical, humanistic perspective.

  • Learning is viewed as a process of exposure and discovery: the teacher should provide the child with the opportunity to reveal and widen the richness within him/herself, while exposing him/her to the diversity of local and foreign cultures. 

 

Staff

The staff contains women and men who believe in democratic values. Many of them are educated in the humanities, and are acquaintance to, and active in the field of human rights.

 

Tutoring

Tutoring has a vital role in the school's life. Each child chooses one of the teachers to be his/her tutor, and each tutor is responsible for a group of children (10-15).

  • The tutor is the child's address at school, the person who cares, listens, plays, guides, and who is there for the child. Tutors maintain a weekly personal meeting with each of their children for 20-30 minutes.

  • Tutors keep a regular contact with the teachers and parents of each child they tutor. They are responsible to assemble all pieces of information about the child, and to take needed actions accordingly.    

 

Areas of Study

  • The arts: Painting, Sculpturing, Wood Cutting, Drama, Dance, Music, photography.

  • Science: Nature Science, Geography and the Environment, Physics and Earth Sciences.

  • Physical Education, Yoga, Feldenkrais.

  • Information Science and Computer Systems.

  • Peace Education.

  • Mathematics.

  • Language Arts (Hebrew).

  • The Humanities: Democracy, History, Literature, Philosophy, Psychology, Bible Studies, Israeli and world cultures.

  • Languages: English, Arabic, German, Spanish.

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