We’d like to create a space for children to connect with themselves and Hashem, to have the self-confidence to trust themselves, and to reach their own unique
potential as individuals.
Education needs to be addressed in a holistic way, balancing the mind-body-soul connection. Children grow at their own pace and it is the job of the parents and educators to support this growth. Children need to be shown patience, feel respected and given the freedom to allow this natural flow to occur. Children are naturally motivated to understand and explore the world around them, and it is the adult’s job to provide and guide a safe environment for them.
Chanoch L’Naar (the proposed name for the school) will be a Torah-based learning experience, synthesizing the secular and the holy, the experiential and the conceptual. We will utilize the huge advances in technology to create a unique atmosphere of auto didacticism as well as fostering (and not G-d forbid smothering!) a child’s natural passion for learning and discovering. Exploring the world on the child’s own terms is crucial to the developing of a healthy foundation from which to view the world, and we plan on allowing space and time for that exploration to occur, while providing guidance and materials for them to follow their passions.
We use the term “holistic” because a child’s education, growth, and development should be about the whole child- not just his mind, but body and spirit as well. Traditional schooling tends to focus on the waist up, praising and rewarding the intellect and punishing the fidgety kids, who are just living according to their nature- the child’s desire to move! That might be worth the trade-off if the sitting-at-a-desk-all-day paradigm worked. But the truth is we all learn better when we are happy, and no child is happy sitting at a desk and following instructions for the majority of the school day.
Throughout our homeschooling years, and especially the past few as our kids are getting older, we have studied, researched and explored different learning methods and ideologies that are embracing the technology advances of the 21st century, while questioning the status quo of the current and common school structure. We have researched and studied the works of (to list a few) John Holt, Alfie Cohn, Sugata Mitra (School in the Cloud- SOLE), Rudolph Steiner, Sudbury Valley School books, Carol Tuttle (Energy psychologist and author of The Child Whisperer) and Ken Robinson (famous for his Ted talks “School Kills Creativity”), amongst many other child-rearing techniques and philosophies. Alongside all this researching, we’ve been reading about education from a Torah perspective and we came to realize as well that the concept of individualizing education, allowing children to pursue their passions, and focusing on individual growth and character traits, was not only an additional way, but the way. Almost every time the Rebbe wrote a letter to a teacher or educator he spoke about how the main point of education is to promote healthy character growth and traits and establishing a school based on good Jewish morals and values.