Tradition and technology intermingled this spring as EY3 students learned about the traditions of Passover in a rather non-traditional way. As part of the Primary Years Programme (PYP) of the International Baccalaureate curriculum, there are six transdisciplinary themes:
- Who we are
- Where we are in place and time
- How we express ourselves
- How the world works
- How we organize ourselves
- Sharing the planet
At the beginning of April, our EY3 teachers began introducing the “How the world works” theme through virtual learning sessions. The central idea of the theme is the concept that various cycles occur in nature and throughout the world. With that in mind, our EY3 classes began with a line of inquiry about cycles in our everyday lives. Our teachers chose a very relatable way of introducing this idea in that cycles are continuously happening all around us every day. Some thoughts included our daily routines of waking up every day, having breakfast, going to school, and more.
As Passover approached, our teachers easily segued into the idea of other cycles in our lives, including the yearly cycle of our Jewish holidays. This led to learning that Passover occurs in the spring, which is a part of the cycle of seasons. In context, Passover was a spring festival that was connected to the offering of the “first-fruits of the barley,” as barley was the first grain to be ripened and harvested in the Land of Israel.
It’s actually pretty heady material if you think about it. But through engagement, association, and involvement, our students were able to digest the subject matter and relate to it in a way that made sense in their young minds. And in a manner that will help them better understand future concepts as they are discussed.
This is the very foundation of what the Strelitz International Academy is trying to achieve in creating students who are well-rounded and encouraging them to develop independence and take responsibility for their own learning. We focus on the development of the whole child as a thinker and inquirer in both the classroom and in the world outside—even if that means we need to use new models of teaching, such as using distance learning, to continue education in the face of adversity.