Who Are we
Yasmin pre-kindergarten and school operate on principles of humanistic, sustainable, Waldorf Education and Agricultural-Zonist. We consciously operate under the knowledge that each child is unique and must be met with dignity and understanding of their individual self. Our students come into daily contact with nature, with creation, and with a small, amazing group of educators, committed to nurturing through participation, responsibility, solidarity and growth. We are open to all newcomers and make special efforts to welcome and accommodate students with special needs. Yasmin combines a progressive and insightful educational approach with “back to basics”: while we are not luddites and many of us work in the technology sector, there is little exposure to digital technology in our classrooms, as we emphasize the use of simple and natural materials, manual production - promoting rich dexterity close connections between educators and students. On top of complying with all state scholastic requirements, our students actively explore nature and the environment in weekly hikes, interact with the region’s rich agricultural heritage learning with play and art, experience sustainability, and participate in rich music and art programs. Living in an ethnically mixed region, we begin Arabic language instruction in first grade (age 6).
In the course of our journey, we discovered that we have formed not merely a school, but a learning community. Negotiating the trying period of the Covid-19 crisis, we have spontaneously developed a supportive network of social and economic solidarity. Families who faced hardships could rely on temporary tuition relief and other forms of assistance. A revived tradition from olden days is ‘birth pots’: for several months after childbirth , families with newborns receive daily home-cooked meals from other families of our community, as well as other forms of support. They receive them even if they cry out “enough!” – The traditional ethic of giving, the “mitzva”, is not less important than meeting the actual need.
While the educational programs are run by certified, hand-picked professional staff, the school itself is entirely dependent on families’ and parents’ contributions. Our children are by now used to our various “drives” – involving construction, restoration, decoration and maintenance of our small campus. All children and parents contribute time, effort and skill to the constant creation of this unique environment.
What are our needs?
Yasmin now operates – on a shoestring – in what used to be a 19th century agricultural hangar, which we adapted through labor and love to a small school. Through countless hours of investment, all voluntary, of our community members, Yasmin is now a safe, nurturing space. However, it requires a lot more work to fully answer our children developmental and educational needs. We envision adding a music room, an art studio, and a space for movement and dance. We have critical staffing needs. Our challenges are both to maintain what has already been achieved and to develop and enrich the portfolio of services and offerings for our students, especially as we welcome with open hearts all children, including those with special needs. We have no budget for field trips or external enrichment programs and zero margins for dealing with crises – Yasmin has just barely, although courageously and through a strong show of commitment and solidarity – negotiated the Covid crisis. In addition, we plan to create a separate scholarship fund, where families with less economic clout can allow their children to receive this gift of educational enhancement.
In order to promote its environmental commitment and agricultural heritage, Yasmin was granted access and use of fields owned by several farmers in Binyamina – the “old guard” of pioneering farming families committed to maintaining our unique heritage in our land. On these fields we plan to gradually build our own educational farm, complete with an orchard, greenhouse and educational center, based on bio-dynamic principles and respect for the land. There our children will grow what they consume and understand the use of resources - not only theoretically, but literally from the ground up, connecting to the first pioneers who settled these very fields when nothing was easy and nothing was promised.
The knowledge, expertise, vision and land are all at our disposal however to continue realizing this magnificent project, there is a need to establish funds, for which we request your help.
Yasmin is open to all. Some of our students and candidates face educational, physical or emotional challenges. Our vision is to be able to integrate all students, including those who need ongoing, sometimes constant assistance. Some of our families need further assistance in making the shift to the region or otherwise meeting their children’s needs. Please help us to be as inclusive and supportive as we should and wish to be!
Additionally, the physical infrastructure of our installments is rudimentary – many of them have been built by the parents. Moving ahead, we are required to adhere to approved standards of safety and construction.
Music and music education is part Yasmin. Our vision is to allow every pupil exposure to any number of musical instruments and musical traditions, and we envision a school band and other forms of musical ensembles. However, we still need to purchase instruments (we have one old and used piano for Eurythmics), to create a bespoke space for music instruction and performance, and are currently extremely limited financially to retain top staff. With your help, Yasmin can sing – literally.
Our “Learning Community” is one of our most exciting frameworks. As part of the ongoing dialogue between our involved families and the school, we offer periodical enrichment activities for all to share – lectures, circles, debates, specific instruction, open to all students, siblings, parents and grandparents alike… initially, the learning community was based mostly on our own resources, as parents volunteered to share. As the community grows, so do our needs in developing this promising interaction, seeking and engaging outside instructors, experts and educators.
Currently, our budget is collected almost entirely from the participating, working families – and that simply doesn’t allow us to grow and realize the potential of what we know Yasmin can become. We live in the midst of a region of rich pioneering heritage and spirit, which we attempt to harness into an educational vision. We have proven that this is possible – but in order to develop further need your help. “Without flour there is no Tora.” Our “Tora” is robust, nurturing and promising. Our “flour” is ridiculously low.
We seek and will lovingly accept and acknowledge all donations -- big, small and ongoing. If you would like to earmark a donation for a certain use – music education, agricultural training, sustainability, infrastructure, a scholarship fund, an educational program dear to your heart or supportive child therapies – please let us know! All donations will be lovingly acknowledged. As an NGO, a portion of your donation (or all of it) will be tax exempt, and our CPA will work with you to ensure this. If you wish to visit us and see and feel for yourself – all the better!
Become a part of our children’s journey and help make this vision a reality!