A global mindset is key to success in today's world and a primary focus of our inquiry-based program.
Project-based learning units deeply engage students with an exploration of other cultures and current affairs. For example, Blue Village learners investigate the Chinese immigration experience in Seattle, discovering the impact policies and programs had on this population. In middle school, learners take on another persona for the Jewish Court of All Time (JCAT), an online Jewish history simulation that culminates in a virtual trial. Units like these empower students to “assume active roles, both locally and globally, in building more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, and secure societies” (UNESCO, 2023).
JDS students openly explore the diversity of global religions with their unique historical and political positions in the world. Speakers from a variety of faiths are invited to campus for “God Talks” to share their personal perspective on different faiths. JDS has enthusiastically welcomed Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, and more. The annual “Lorax Trial” interweaves a study of the American judicial system with the Jewish values of Tikkun Olam and Tzedek Tirdof.
honoring our heritage
Tamara Vershitskaya, the lead historian for the Bielski partisans and Novogrudok Ghetto in Belarus, recently collaborated with middle schoolers via Zoom to deeply examine the Holocaust and the experience of the partisans. The ultimate goal of this partnership was for students to create artwork for a commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the escape from the ghetto and liberation of the Bielski partisan camp. Students Zoomed with Aron Bell, the last remaining Bielski brother. The students will take part in an international webinar, hosted by the Ghetto Fighters’ Museum in Israel, in October to discuss this work.
respecting our culture
During the 2023 eighth grade Israel trip, students celebrated their first Shabbat in Tzur Hadassah, a quaint town near Jerusalem, where Rabbi Gail Diamond and her students hosted our learners. They took part in services in Reform and Partnership Minyans, shared meals with Israeli families, hung out with their Israeli peers, and made new friends. Our learners experience great joy and enthusiasm during this deeply personal exchange, which truly highlights the boundless possibilities of cultural exchange.
discovering the world
Green Village learners (kindergartners) investigated the essential question, “Where do we live in the world?” They designed their own make-believe towns and discovered states, continents, and oceans on maps. Their endless curiosity prompted them to inquire about systems that keep us all connected, which led to an experiential learning opportunity at the post office where they sent notes to family and friends all over the world.
JDS students respect and value differences in cultures and opinions as they, themselves, represent diversity. They come from all different parts of the world, speak a variety of first languages, and belong to an array of denominations of Judaism. A global lens on early learning and challenging students to appreciate differences creates individuals better prepared to understand and address global issues in the future.