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Deeper


will it really be that different?

Well, depending on what your baseline is, it's anywhere from "yup, it's different", to "huh? what is this place?"

SCROLL DOWN

Deeper


will it really be that different?

Well, depending on what your baseline is, it's anywhere from "yup, it's different", to "huh? what is this place?"

 

Chanoch Lana'ar will be more of a space for children to explore and grow than a traditional school. 

Browse the links below or just scroll down (and down and down).


 
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Discovery


Time for Self-Discovery

Free time is crucial for a child's journey. Our understanding of how the world works has to be based on a solid experiential foundation, and that cannot be taught.

Discovery


Time for Self-Discovery

Free time is crucial for a child's journey. Our understanding of how the world works has to be based on a solid experiential foundation, and that cannot be taught.

The child is curious. He wants to make sense out of things, find out how things work, gain competence and control over himself and his environment, and do what he can see other people doing. He is open, perceptive, and experimental. He does not merely observe the world around him, He does not shut himself off from the strange, complicated world around him, but tastes it, touches it, hefts it, bends it, breaks it. To find out how reality works, he works on it. He is bold. He is not afraid of making mistakes. And he is patient. He can tolerate an extraordinary amount of uncertainty, confusion, ignorance, and suspense...
— John Holt, How Children Learn

ADDITIONAL READING

Free at Last, The Sudbury Valley School, Daniel Greenberg, 1995

The Overprotected Kid, Hanna Rosin, the Atlantic Magazine

How Finland Keeps Kids Focused Through Free Play, Tim Walker, The Atlantic, 2014

Free Play Is Essential for Normal Emotional Development, Peter Gray Ph.D., Psychology Today

 

I (Zalmy) was always pretty good at math. I joke (partially) that much of that is due to my constant calculating the exact amount of seconds left until recess. There has been much research done into the benefits of recess and the downfalls of its lack (and the vicious cycle of taking away recess for those who can't sit still), but this is about much more than allowing kids to stretch their legs and get their blood flowing.

Education implies a downward flow of information, from the teacher to the student, so the natural implication would be that education would not happen on its own. That children, left to their own devices, would learn nothing. Anyone who spent even a small amount of time watching young children work hard at walking, at talking, at observing and mimicking, knows that that is absolutely false. Children are fascinated by the world in general, and in the adult world in particular, they want to know how things work, and why rules exist. A child who wants to build a tire swing will be much more interested in learning about knots than one who is in a class where "understanding the history and evolution of knots" is on the curriculum. We must allow for the freedom and head space needed for children to build their own excitement and ask their own questions.

Going back to the knots; learning about knots can lead to learning about string, how it's made, where it's grown, who picks it, why is it so cheap, which cultures started using rope and string, why are sailors obsessed with knots, why are there no famous Jewish sailors... Nothing exists in a vacuum, not even subjects. If we are to have classes (which we will) they must be able to bend and evolve according to the interests of the students and in tandem with the other (intertwined) subjects being taught. And it should always be linked with the Torah.

 
 
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Holistic


Jewish ∞ Secular

The Torah is not just a subject. It's a pair of glasses through which we view the world. It covers all subjects, and has a say in everything. Treating the Torah and the world as two separate realms is confusing to a child who is more inclined to a holistic worldview.

Holistic


Jewish ∞ Secular

The Torah is not just a subject. It's a pair of glasses through which we view the world. It covers all subjects, and has a say in everything. Treating the Torah and the world as two separate realms is confusing to a child who is more inclined to a holistic worldview.

G‑d looked into the Torah and created the world. Man looks into the Torah and maintains the world.
— Zohar, II, p. 161a,b
Everything that exists—whether it be an object, a living organism, an event, or even a memory of the past—each and every thing is an artifact of a divine spark.
These sparks are not fiery sparks or even electromagnetic sparks. The divine spark of a thing is its meaning, what it’s really trying to say, its place in the puzzle of this grand story we call time.
— Tzvi Freeman

ADDITIONAL READING

Infinity in Torah and Mathematics, Tzvi-Yehuda Saks, Chabad.org

Secular Studies, Rabbi Dovid Markel

Tikun: Fixing Up the World, Tzvi Freeman, Chabad.org


sec·u·lar - ˈsekyələr/ - adjective

1. denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis.

To the mind of a Torah-Jew, with a bit of Kabbalistic knowledge, such a thing does not exist. Everything comes from Hashem, in fact everything is Hashem, and the degree to which it seems to be otherwise reflects how "deep" its source is hidden within (and depending on how accessible that "spark" is, we are commanded to uplift it, or shun it (as in the case of non-kosher)). Math, science, literature, art, etc. are all there to help us understand the Torah and strengthen our connection with Hashem. Once we separate the two ("okay children, please close your Talmud, and open your " The Noun Phrase in Ancient Greek: A Functional Analysis of the Order and Articulation of NP Constituents in Herodotus" to page 39..."), we are actively perpetuating the myth that the world and G-d are two separate things.

There is so much of agriculture, common law, math, economics, business practices, social rights, history, etc. in the Torah, that it in a Jewish school it just makes sense to teach these subjects within the framework of the Torah.


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emotional social


Emotional & Social Skills

will be much more than an afterthought. Our ability to navigate and succeed in this world will be more of a result of solid social skills and healthy emotions than anything else.

emotional social


Emotional & Social Skills

will be much more than an afterthought. Our ability to navigate and succeed in this world will be more of a result of solid social skills and healthy emotions than anything else.

 

In one of the private audiences that the Tzemach Tzedek (Rabbi Menachem Mendel, The third chabad rebbe) had with his grandfather, the Alter Rebbe (Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe), he asked (among his other questions): "What is the concept of Chassidus?" The Alter Rebbe answered: "The entire concept of chassidus is to change the nature of a person’s middos (character traits)."

 

Behind every Torah concept, no matter how mundane, is a spiritual meaning, or its "sod", secret. The point of Chassidus then is to take that Sod and learn a deep and personal lesson from it. Kabbalah teaches us that beyond the physical act of a mitzvah there is a spiritual act (and what it is), Chassidus teaches us that from that spiritual act (and from the understanding of it) needs to be a personal character growth.

This will be a central motto of Chanoch LaNa'ar, "how can we become better people".

Within every community there is always time and energy exerted in getting “everyone to get along.” This isn't only a social construct to insure that we don't bite each others heads off (no matter how appealing that proposition may sound), but it's a precursor and the catalyst for the ultimate redemption, when, to paraphrase Isaiah, "we'll all get along". Empathy, humility, caring, benevolence, mercy, modesty- these things are learned. And it's our job to teach them. By example.

  As learning best happens in a place where children can be happy and free of fear, core values like respect, honor, honesty, integrity, and kindness (among the children and staff, as well as between us and Hashem) will be the foundation of our school and will be stressed even higher than academics.

The educational system must, therefore, pay more attention, indeed the main attention, to the building of character, with emphasis on moral and ethical values... on the promotion of fundamental human rights and obligations of justice and morality, which are the basis of any human society
— the Lubavitcher Rebbe
 
Emotional self-control— delaying gratification and stifling impulsiveness- underlies accomplishment of every sort
— Daniel Golemanm, Emotional Intelligence: Why it...
 

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davening


Davening is about connecting

not just about saying the right things and standing in the right places. It's our daily meditation and caffeine for the soul. 

davening


Davening is about connecting

not just about saying the right things and standing in the right places. It's our daily meditation and caffeine for the soul. 

 
The world stands upon three things - upon Torah, upon divine service (prayer), and upon acts of kindness.
— Tractate Avot 1:2
 

One of my (Zalmy's) many hats is the photographer one, and I wore it while  teaching photography at a local Jewish summer camp. There was this huge large format camera I brought with me (you know, the whole "okay-hold-that-pose-for-13-seconds-while-I-go-under-the-blanket" kind), and always started off with "okay who knows what this is" (pointing to the tripod). There was always someone who yelled out "a tripod". When I joked that I am working on inventing a bi-pod, they all laughed (slight exaggeration, one may have smiled), because, well, that obviously wouldn't work very well.

Learning Torah and acts of loving-kindness are amazing. But without Tefilah (commonly translated as "prayer", or colloquially as "davening") the world will fall down.

Davening is not just about asking for our needs, the word Tefilah also means "connecting". To Hashem, and to ourselves. It's about starting the day in the right direction and in the right frame of mind.

Davening is not just words that we say, it's something we do. And that "doing" is not really about the shuckling and bowing and standing and sitting.

Children are much more in tune with the truth than we are, and focusing on saying words they don’t understand at a speed that makes it impossible to concentrate hurts more than it helps. At Chanoch L'Naar there will be a great focus on davening being a personal, meaningful, joyful, and even pleasurable experience.

In Vilna they learn how to learn Torah, and in Mezritch they learn how to daven. I already know how to learn Torah, but I would like to learn more about davening. I will go to Mezritch.
— Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (the founder of the Chabad movement), on his decision to find out more about Chassidus

ADDITIONAL READING

My Prayer, Rabbi Nissan Mindel, 1972

What is Prayer, Y. Hechel Greenberg, Chabad.org

Davening: the Avodah of a Chossid, Rabbi Yosef Yitchak of Lubavitch (the 6th Rebbe of Chabad)

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Agism


Age mixing

Besides for the fact that the real world isn't separated into ages, there is so much one can learn and grow from being around children both older and younger than oneself.

Agism


Age mixing

Besides for the fact that the real world isn't separated into ages, there is so much one can learn and grow from being around children both older and younger than oneself.

 
...school systems base education on the principles of the assembly line and the efficient division of labor. Schools divide the curriculum into specialist segments: some teachers install math in the students, and others install history. They arrange the day into standard units of time, marked out by the ringing of bells, much like a factory announcing the beginning of the workday and the end of breaks. Students are educated in batches, according to age, as if the most important thing they have in common is their date of manufacture. They are given standardized tests at set points and compared with each other before being sent out onto the market. I realize this isn’t an exact analogy and that it ignores many of the subtleties of the system, but it is close enough.
— Ken Robinson, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything
 

In the real world we don’t separate everyone by their ages, and it doesn’t really make sense to do so in a school either. A “2nd grader” may be on a “third grade level” for math, yet on a “1st grade level” for reading. It’s silly to have him bored in math and way behind in English (and made to feel inferior). Students will be able to choose their level. Additionally, it is very beneficial for students to be in an environment where they could both help out younger students and be able to get help from the older ones.

In Free to Learn, Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (seriously, shorten your titles people!!), Peter Gray writes about the benefits of age-mixing: "...children who can't read, or can't read well, can regularly be found playing games (especially computer games) that involve the written word with children who can read well. The readers read aloud what the others cannot, and in the process the non-readers gradually become readers themselves." Children in general are very aware of their lack of knowledge and skills compared to the adults around them, and no matter how kind and loving we are sometimes it's a bit intimidating to be so often taught by one who is infinitely better at whatever he is teaching than the child is (think of playing a one on one with Michael Jordan, it's just not fun). For various reasons (check out the links). Children often learn best from each other.

ADDITIONAL READING

How Children Learn, John Holt, 1995

Age Mixing, Another View, Mimsy Sadofsky, Sudbury Valley Blog

The Benefits of Mixed-Age Grouping, Lilian G. Katz,  ERIC Digest.

Why We Should Stop Segregating Children by Age: Part II, Peter Gray Ph.D, Psychology Today

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homework


homework? grades?

We want our children to love learning, not to resent it. We want them to learn and explore for learning's sake, with their eyes and mind in the present.

homework


homework? grades?

We want our children to love learning, not to resent it. We want them to learn and explore for learning's sake, with their eyes and mind in the present.

 
The more we want our children to be (1) lifelong learners, genuinely excited about words and numbers and ideas, (2) avoid sticking with what’s easy and safe, and (3) become sophisticated thinkers, the more we should do everything possible to help them forget about grades.
— Alfie Kohn
 

Additional Reading

How Children Fail, Jon Holt, 1995

The Homework Myth: Why our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing, Alfie Kohn, 2007

Does Homework Improve Learning?, Alfie Kohn

The Case Against GradesAlfie Kohn, 2011

From Degrading to De-Grading, Alfie Kohn, 1999

No Grades, No Problem, PRI. org

Competency-Based Learning, U.S. Department of Education (not to be confused with the Ministry of Magic)

The negative effects of homework are well known. They include children’s frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities, and possible loss of interest in learning. Many parents lament the impact of homework on their relationship with their children; they may also resent having to play the role of enforcer and worry that they will be criticized either for not being involved enough with the homework or for becoming too involved.
— Alfie Kohn

Many a time in my elementary school years, I (Estee) used to go to school with a note on my homework from my mother, saying something like "this is busy work, my daughter doesn't have to do this. Instead she's playing outside." My teachers had their eye-roll ready when they saw me pulling out my homework... 

A child needs a life outside of school, where he could choose (and learn to choose!) how to spend his time, help out at home, and hang out with his family. Learning is best done when one is excited about learning, and not much kills that excitement like mandatory homework. Additionally a child is much more likely to share his learning with his parents and family, and further his explorations when he his allowed the space and time to just be.

Incidentally, we recently visited a local Acton Academy, and the founder was telling us that ever since they started the school, without homework of course, his children have been asking for work to do at home. Children, once released from the pressure of needing to learn (and therefore resentful), actually want to learn.

On to the grade thing.

We won't be handing out “A”s or “B”s based on test scores, comparisons to other students, or arbitrary teacher decisions, or whatever complex rubric one would use to decide such a thing. We will work closely with the children and their parents to make sure that they are getting the most out of our school, and that they are growing intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Yes, there are those who don't get hurt by grades, but far too often it's a source of frustration, fear, and anger. Even in schools that downplay the importance of the final grade, it's always there, a looming threat in the background. Learn, remember, or else. I wouldn't wish that on any adult, how much more so a child who is still learning to master himself and his emotions.


 
 
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Admining


Admin? Events? Fundraisers?

There is so much man-power and resources involved in running a school, making events, fundraising dinners, etc. Which is great because these are all real world happenings and wonderful learning opportunities. The odd thing is that most of the time the children are excluded from all of this. 

Admining


Admin? Events? Fundraisers?

There is so much man-power and resources involved in running a school, making events, fundraising dinners, etc. Which is great because these are all real world happenings and wonderful learning opportunities. The odd thing is that most of the time the children are excluded from all of this. 

 
I doubt very much if it is possible to teach anyone to understand anything, that is to say, to see how various parts of it relate to all the other parts, to have a model of the structure in one’s mind. We can give other people names, and lists, but we cannot give them our mental structures; they must build their own.
— John Holt, How Children Fail
 

ADDITIONAL READING

My First Glimpse of What SVS Is Really About, Foss Tighe, Sudbury Valley Blog

Real-Life Learning, Alicia Woodard Green

the Schools Our Children Deserve, Alfie Kohn, 2004

The students will (if they want to) be involved in the administration, in the fundraising, balancing the books, planning and running events, etc. There is so much real-life math, science, brainstorming, economics, teamwork etc. happening behind the scenes and it’s quite a shame if that opportunity of education isn’t utilized.


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Curriculum


So Like, will there be classes?

yes! awesome ones

 

Curriculum


So Like, will there be classes?

yes! awesome ones

 

 
It’s important to remember that education is a human process, not a mechanical one. It can’t be replicated like making motor cars and exported to new markets like inanimate products. Education is much more like agriculture. It is a slow, seasonal process that’s affected by climate, local conditions and circumstances. And it has to be constantly tended and nurtured.
— ken robinson
 

After reading through all the ways we are different, the real question is, what are the days at school going to look like? Unlike some of the schools and materials we have listed, we are not going to be an "unschool" (like Sudbury Valley). While we appreciate all it's benefits, much of it is founded on the idea that we have no right, or even an idea of what is "right" and what children should be learning more than they do. And while we totally get that in regards to secular subjects, as Jews we are commanded (and we say it at least twice a day in the shema) “You shall teach them to your children...”, and as Jews we do have the right and the knowledge of how we are to look at the world, which ideas are healthy and which are not. 

However, it is important to remember that even if something it taught it does not mean it is learned, and if one goes to gets an education it does not mean they will be educated. For learning to happen it has to be about something that interests the learner, and it has to be at a level that challenges, yet is within reach of the learner, and it must be done in an environment that is free from fear and judgement.

Education would be challenging enough if all children learned the same way, were interested in the same subjects, and were at the same level in each one. Being that thankfully The giver, 1984, and a Brave New World, haven't yet materialized, we are not machines into which one can pour distinct packages of information and abilities mixed in a sterile facility by knowledge-experts. The acquisition of knowledge and wisdom is an organic process, in which the participants have to be willing and active.

If that isn't enough, we have absolutely no clue as to what type of knowledge or expertise our children are to know for the 2025 workplace and beyond. Technology and our world is changing faster than ever before and in ways our parents and grandparents could never have imagined. What we do know is that some of the most desired traits in both employees and entrepreneurs is creativity, the ability to see beyond how things are currently being done, and to come up with new innovative ways to do them.

To this end (is it really an end though?), and because human beings (children and adults alike) still need some sort of structure (whether from outside or from within), we will have a three piece class action suit. I can't believe I just wrote that. Anyways, 

  • Semi-optional and student-initiated classes.
  • Different levels of each class.
  • Full embrace of technology.

And the handle on this prong (with which we shall prong) will be our "dream team", aka our awesome staff.

Being as out-of-classroom, student-initiated exploring, playing, and learning is just as important (sometimes more) than the traditional student-teacher classroom, there will be large blocks of free time set aside for: drawing, reading, singing, twiddling, painting, debating, dance, arguing, gymnastics, gardening (Estee inherited her father’s green thumb so this should be a breeze), cooking (healthy of course!), coding,  spacing out, karate, woodworking, clay, yoga, meditation, sports, music, knitting, discussing, robot-building, or whatever else the kids are doing these days. 

Additionally we will have frequent field trips. To museums, synagogues, mountains, oceans (okay, maybe just one ocean), farms, rubber-band factories, etc. Seeing how all this "stuff" one is learning about in school (math, geography, geometry, biology, physics, social justice) plays out in the real world makes it infinitely more interesting (and thus memorable).

How do we know we can successfully do this? Well for one we don't. But we know it can (and should!) be done. Because it’s already being done. Currently there is a proliferation of micro-schools nationwide, and specifically a growing number of alternative schools, from Montessori to Reggio to Acton academies to tech schools to for children in the k-12 age range. These numbers are significantly increasing because parents and educators (like you!) are realizing that something has to give and are taking action.

We can best help children learn, not by deciding what we think they should learn and thinking of ingenious ways to teach it to them, but by making the world, as far as we can, accessible to them, paying serious attention to what they do, answering their questions — if they have any — and helping them explore the things they are most interested in.
— John Holt

ADDITIONAL READING

Do Schools Kill Creativity, Ken Robinson, TedTalks

Inside the School Silicon Valley Thinks Will Save Education, Christie Hemm Klok, Wired

The Schools Our Children Deserve, Alfie Kohn, 2000

In times of great change, learners will inherit the earth, while the learned will be beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists.
— Eric Hoffer

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optional Classes


Semi-Optional Classes

Allowing a child a say in which classes they want to attend inspires self confidence and motivation. It says to them "you are a person, and I respect you as an individual", how many of us could have used that as children?!

optional Classes


Semi-Optional Classes

Allowing a child a say in which classes they want to attend inspires self confidence and motivation. It says to them "you are a person, and I respect you as an individual", how many of us could have used that as children?!

We ask children to do for most of a day what few adults are able to do for even an hour. How many of us, attending, say, a lecture that doesn’t interest us, can keep our minds from wandering? Hardly any.
— John Holt

I (Zalmy) was talking to some local high school students about school and such, and I asked them if their school ever asked them for their opinions and thoughts in regards to what the school was teaching, how it was scheduled, etc. Nope. Never. I wasn't shocked, as I expected that answer, but why is that normal?! We stick children in these institutions from 3-18 and we never take the time to ask them their thoughts on it? There is no company in the world that wold survive not knowing how its customers perceived it (and not even caring to ask!). We have such high regards of ourselves and such low regards for children that we think they have nothing valid to add to the conversation.

Enough preaching, I kind of go crazy when I talk about this stuff.

Well, our school will be different. Very different. All classes will be optional (in the sense that there will be no punishments or rewards for attending or absences), however (and this is key) we will be having an ongoing conversation with the children and the parents about their goals and interests. Based on that, the staff will set them up with a monthly schedule as to which classes they should be attending (and ideas for what to do in their free time). Including children in conversations and decisions about their life creates the self-confidence and self-esteem to actually act on those goals.

Additionally (this deserves its own page), allowing children to have some power over their own lives relieves to a large part the desire to wield power over others through bullying, cliques, and other undesirable behaviors common in schools.


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different levels


Different strokes for different folks

We all have an area, somewhere between boredom and fear, where we can flourish and grow. Enabling children to choose a class that is comfortable for them allows that to happen.

different levels


Different strokes for different folks

We all have an area, somewhere between boredom and fear, where we can flourish and grow. Enabling children to choose a class that is comfortable for them allows that to happen.

 
Children. Nothing could be more simple—or more difficult. Difficult, because to trust children we must trust ourselves—and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted. And so we go on treating children as we ourselves were treated, calling this “reality,” or saying bitterly, “If I could put up with it, they can too.”
— John Holt, How Children Learn

This is very much connected to the previous concept, but it merits its own page.

Two of the most common emotions felt in school is fear and boredom. Even taking out all the other elements from school and just leaving the education, children are bored if the material is too easy, and fearful if it's too hard. Although there are schools which do work on making each class personal, it's impossible to do that when all children within a specified manufacture date are all grouped together. At Chanoch LaNa'ar each student will be able to choose which level of each subject they want to learn. So an 8 year old may choose a Chumash class in which the average age is 10 and a math class where the average age is 6. Contrary to popular opinion, children are not lazy, and rare indeed is the child who wants to just be entertained all day (though if we only see our children when they come home exhausted from school, then we might think that this is the case). If anything children are much less lazy than us adults (had anyone seen a child who didn't want to get up in the morning?). Imagine you choose to learn ruby-on-rails (a coding language), and after a month you are like "this is way harder than I thought, let me learn html instead." So you pick up a "HTML for dummies" book and go to town. No harm no foul. Now imagine someone tells you "hey Bob, based on your age you should really be able to learn calculus." and you try and try and try, and you just can't. You feel stupid. That's as an adult. Imagine a child being told that everyone his age should be able to do something, even if he naturally couldn't do it, he'll freeze up in fear. And that frozen feeling (and its negative side-effects) can stay with one for years. You'll hear adults saying things like "Oh, I'm bad at math", or "I never really could understand general relativity." Those statements aren't made after sitting in the library for weeks at 38 years old trying to figure things out and failing, they're made after falling behind in 6th grade and never catching up.


 
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Technology


Technology

"...compared to most people under thirty and certainly under twenty, we are fumbling amateurs. People of that age were born after the digital revolution began. They learned to speak digital as a mother tongue."
~Ken Robinson

Technology


Technology

"...compared to most people under thirty and certainly under twenty, we are fumbling amateurs. People of that age were born after the digital revolution began. They learned to speak digital as a mother tongue."
~Ken Robinson

Schools, as we know them, are based on certain principles. Children need to go somewhere where a teacher can teach the students, together with a limited groups of their peers, about things they do not yet know. They must sit quietly so all may listen, and pay attention at all times. Even when hungry or tired.

This model has severe limitations, like finding qualified teachers, how to group the children, how to (constantly!) discipline them, and how to keep them challenged, just to list a few.

Technology has taken all that, chewed it up, blended it, combined it with a bit of salt and pepper, sulfur, and charcoal, and blasted it to smithereens. Very small pieces of expensive smithereens.

Meet Mr. Samuelsonberg. In 1993 Sam Samuelsonberg was a pretty decent teacher (even with his unfortunate surname). We put him in front of a bunch of 2nd graders and he did a pretty good job of teaching multiplication, division, fractions etc. It took a while until everyone understood it and until then much confusion and boredom took place, but most eventually got it. Is he amazing? No, but not every school can have amazing teachers. And even if he was, he has so many different student's comprehension levels to work with.

Fast forward to 2016. Sam is walking around the class while the students are all on their computers watching bite-size videos of math concepts taught by world-class instructors. Each child is moving at their own pace, watching a video once, twice, or even three times until they "get it". Here a child is asking another to help them with something, there another is typing out his question for the online community of learners, and over there is another eating his lunch and spacing out. Mr. Samuelsonberg, meanwhile, is here helping a child understand something, there chatting with another about the real life applications of geometry, or sitting down and checking out the students progress on his own laptop (or watching cat videos on youtube).

The personalized teacher is already here, and the options, while still limited, are growing very quickly. Currently Khan Academy has over 2400 videos, from arithmetic to probability and statistics, from microeconomics to electric engineering, from organic chemistry to quasars and galactive collisions (I have no clue what that even means). Currently it has a complete teachers or parent backend for math (to keep track of the students progress and hangups) and is planning for more. And it's free. 

While there isn't yet such an option for Jewish studies, there are the beginnings of a few, and we want to join that movement.

Every lesson will be recorded, first with audio, and as we grow with video as well. Students will be able to log in and watch what they may have missed, and ask questions that fellow students or staff can answer. Down the line we want to make this a resource for homeschooling families as well as other schools. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

This is the future. And it's just the beginning.

The ultimate purpose for which these new technologies were developed is that they be used for holy purposes… The fact that they can also be used for mundane purposes, and even things that are the opposite of holiness, is to facilitate free choice… and G‑d commands, requests and grants the capacity that ‘you shall choose life.
— Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, The Lubavitcher Rebbe

ADDITIONAL READING

Bring on the Learning Revolution, Ken Robinson, TedTalks

School in the Cloud, Sugata Mitra, TedTalks

How Khan Academy Is Changing the Rules of Education, Clive Thompson, Wired

People over the age of thirty were born before the digital revolution really started. We’ve learned to use digital technology—laptops, cameras, personal digital assistants, the Internet—as adults, and it has been something like learning a foreign language. Most of us are okay, and some are even expert. We do e-mails and PowerPoint, surf the Internet, and feel we’re at the cutting edge. But compared to most people under thirty and certainly under twenty, we are fumbling amateurs. People of that age were born after the digital revolution began. They learned to speak digital as a mother tongue.
— Ken Robinson, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything
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the Dream Team


the Dream Team

A school can have the most wonderful philosophy in the world, but the staff is what turns it into a reality. Happy and positive staff make happy and positive learners. And our staff will be happy.

the Dream Team


the Dream Team

A school can have the most wonderful philosophy in the world, but the staff is what turns it into a reality. Happy and positive staff make happy and positive learners. And our staff will be happy.

We can sum up very quickly what people need to teach... First of all they have to like them (children), enjoy their company, their physical presence, their energy, foolishness, and passion. They have to enjoy all their talk and questions, and enjoy equally trying to answer those questions... They have to trust them as people, respect their fragile dignity, treat them with courtesy, take them seriously.
— John Holt, Teach Your Own

For all the technique in the world, I would trade a teacher with half of the above-mentioned traits. (That was written by Yoda.)

I'd like to add though that on top of treating a child like a human, for a teacher, far more important than any degree, certificate, or ability, is their energy. When the adults in a child’s environment are excited (really excited) about Jews, Hashem, and his Torah, the child cannot help but feel that excitement. Even for adults that is true, how much more so for a child! 

In short, our staff will be happy. 

 
 
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graduates


Our Graduates

Much of our philosophy is based on the simple question of "what do we want Chanoch LaNa'ar graduates to look like?"

We want our children to come out being lifetime learners and passionate about Judaism. They should know who they are, take themselves seriously, trust in their unique gifts and talents, and have a personal connection with Hashem.

 

graduates


Our Graduates

Much of our philosophy is based on the simple question of "what do we want Chanoch LaNa'ar graduates to look like?"

We want our children to come out being lifetime learners and passionate about Judaism. They should know who they are, take themselves seriously, trust in their unique gifts and talents, and have a personal connection with Hashem.

 

 

What our (future) graduates have to say

 
At CLB I felt like I could be myself and be on my own journey, and it didn’t matter what the other kids were doing or how they were advancing in their studies and achievements.
— former CLB student
CLB gave me a rock solid foundation in my Jewish identity and Torah knowledge.
— former CLB student
Chanoch L’naar really gave me the time and space to find myself, my talents, and my purpose in this world.
— CLB graduate
At Chanoch I was able to learn and have fun in a pressure-free, stress-free environment. I learned to love learning for the sake of learning, and not to be satisfied with the status quo.
— CLB graduate, current teacher
I love Hashem!
— current CLB student

 

Congratulations! you have come to the end of the page. There are a few things you can do now:

  • Have a L'Chaim
  • Take action (what that really means is donate money)...
  • Read some of the articles linked above
  • Sit back and think about how you can change the world
  • Grab a coffee and read this again
  • Do the 7 minute workout
  • Call your mother