February 2014, Written by Geula Zamist

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

― Martin Buber

Very often when a teacher sits down to present an idea and share a new thought with her class, she finds that the conversation goes in a completely different way than she thought it would.

A wise teacher listens carefully to what the children are thinking about and talking about and is able to go with their ideas and help them explore those ideas more deeply.  When we tap into children’s interests and use it to inform our teaching; we refer to that as emergent curriculum.

When the subject matter grows from children’s interests they will naturally be more connected to the material and more motivated to learn.

The same concept can be applied to the adult education that is an important component of our school.

As a community of learners we all look for opportunities for emergent curriculum.  If parents of fours express concern about the transition to kindergarten – we create a parent workshop on that topic.

Similarly, if a conversation about God’s role in the Chanukah story, prompts teachers to ask questions about how we address God in our early childhood classroom – we create a teacher workshop on that topic.

This year we have carved out sacred time for the entire faculty to learn together.  Approximately every two months, we close school early to give the teachers a chance to join together and learn together and from each other. 

Recently Susan Werk led a discussion for the teachers entitled “Where does God sit in your classroom?” She reviewed the developmental stages of faith and helped the teachers understand what stage our students might be on as well as the parents of our students and ourselves.    We then reviewed a text study of a number of different chapters of Psalms to understand the different roles God plays and how God is perceived in different ways.

The workshop ended with an exploration of various beliefs about God that are reflected in the different names of God. 

The teachers  were all delighted to have the chance to think deeply about these important matters, to learn with Susan and to stretch their minds and their souls in a new way.

We are grateful to the parents and to the board for respecting the importance of these professional development days and allowing us the opportunity to continue to travel to new destinations along our journey.

Sun, November 19 2017 1 Kislev 5778