At Beit Rabban Day School, the way we educate is as important as the content that is taught. For more than two decades, our educational leadership and faculty have dedicated extensive time to selecting and implementing the best pedagogic practices for our distinctive approach to learning.
THE EDUCATIONAL PRINCIPLES OF PRACTICE AT BEIT RABBAN DAY SCHOOL
The list below reflects contemporary research based practices that have proven effective pedagogy and student learning. They ensure that students across grades and classes are engaged, challenged, and feel safe to take risks that support their learning.
Attending to the Whole Child
We are interested in helping our students become good people as much as good learners. We are committed to furthering the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive growth of all of our students, and consider all areas of development in planning and implementing our curriculum.
Children and teachers learn with and from each other in a caring and respectful community. Students are encouraged to collaborate with each other on tasks and assignments and to serve as resources for one another. They learn to engage in discourse around interesting questions and ideas and to appreciate the unique qualities and contributions of themselves and others.
We see students as individuals as well as members of a group. We want students to experience the satisfaction and excitement of their own creativity and to be inspired by their peers. The interests of students help formulate the course of study, and we build opportunities for self-expression into our lessons.
Students are naturally curious and have an innate desire to learn. Learning enriches their lives and enables them to experience and achieve more. Teachers encourage student interest by exposing them to new ideas, asking thoughtful questions and facilitating experiences. Students are actively engaged in their learning and play an important role in formulating questions and seeking answers.
Children participate in many different learning experiences that foster exploration and discovery. We encourage active participation by drawing on children’s experiences and organizing studies around interesting questions, ideas, and projects. Students are encouraged to access varied learning resources in their quest for understanding.
We invite our students to think deeply about important issues and help them understand and develop complex ideas. Students learn to analyze, synthesize, apply, and communicate knowledge in creative ways. Topics are approached in a way that is interdisciplinary to encourage deeper understanding and a holistic worldview. Students are provided with the time and tools they need to reflect and develop habits of the mind.
Learning of Judaic and secular studies are integrated throughout the day so that the study of each informs and strengthens the other. Our faculty regularly refer to concepts and skills learned in a particular discipline to apply in new contexts, strengthening their conceptual understandings and skill sets.
Students are assessed on an ongoing basis to ensure conceptual understanding and skill acquisition that is consistent with the learning goals at each grade level. Assessment takes many forms including class participation, assignments, presentations, questions, answers and projects. These considerations inform future studies and areas of focus. Students learn to assess their own progress by engaging in a process of goal setting and reflection in conjunction with their teachers.
Collaborating with Parents
We value communication with parents and aim for children to receive consistent messages at home and at school. We keep parents aware of what is happening in the classroom on a daily basis to stimulate conversations at home, and provide students with new ideas and points of view to consider. Parenting workshops and opportunities for learning are an extension of the classroom learning and support a high level of partnership between home and school.
Community service and learning projects are integrated in the curriculum. Students think critically about real world problems and are empowered to try to effect change in the world. During this process, students learn compassion, gratitude, strength of character, and respect for the integrity of people different than themselves.
An essential habit of the mind that is encouraged and practiced at the school is the ability to think critically. This involves developing a sense of patience before rushing to judgment, the willingness to consider alternative ideas and opinions, seeking evidence and new information, and being reflective about one’s own thoughts and ideas.
On a daily basis, children see staff and faculty modeling a commitment to lifelong learning. Teachers participate in professional development opportunities throughout the year. They also demonstrate a quest for knowledge by exploring ideas together with students, and bringing in resources to inform and support new ideas.
Students are encouraged to bring forth their best effort in all of the work they do. Teachers work to build students’ beliefs in their own capacities to learn successfully and their understandings of the relationship between effort and success. Teachers learn the particular strengths and challenges of individual students and challenge and support them appropriately.
Children at the school are encouraged to embrace and express their own agency as they learn to interact with others and with their surroundings. The sense of empowerment is encouraged by the adults in the community who believe in young people’s ability to share perspectives and opinions, enjoy rights as members of the community and exercise choice in their academic work.
Child’s play and creativity
The work of children is play and the daily and weekly schedule is developed to encourage opportunities for children to play, whether independently, with peers or in mixed-age settings. The opportunity to engage in creative play assists with brain development, sparks imagination, and infuses the school with joy.
Derech Eretz and Character Education
Respect at Beit Rabban Day School goes beyond the ethical virtue; it is an essential foundation for positive relationships, learning, and functioning as a community. Time is taken to ensure a high level of mutual respect, kindness, empathy and other behavioral characteristics that reflect our most essential Jewish and human values.
As an intentionally non-denominational community, the school allows for a range of families with diverse practices to be full participants in the school community. While shared space and calendar is shaped by Halacha, the school does not have a religious agenda or a set of outcomes it hopes will extend into the home lives of our families. It is an environment that encourages individuals to share how they build their Jewish lives, to consider the motivations, beliefs, and practices of others, and that places a premium on nonjudgmental discourse and appreciative tolerance.