How Pardes Students Are Being the Change

When you think about your child’s education, what is the end goal? Is it to succeed in college and ultimately attain a desired career? Or is there something more you want for them…perhaps, a learning experience that emphasizes their potential to do more than just achieve good grades? 

At Pardes Jewish Day School, students learn to think critically, use their voices, and help others. We call this “Be the Change,” and through utilizing Project Based Learning, students in kindergarten through eighth grade become the driving force for change.

Wondering what it looks like in action? Read on to learn more about how students at Pardes are being the change at every age and stage. 

Starting the Change in Kindergarten

There are many different ways students can make a difference in the world, but there is one skill that is essential in every field: effective communication. In kindergarten, students’ communication skills are developing rapidly; we take advantage of this by introducing opinion writing. It’s amazing to see how our youngest students have many opinions about the world!

Kindergarten writing projects have included making signs, writing letters to our Head of School, creating songs, and even drafting petitions. To communicate well, students are taught not only to provide their opinion, but also to make an effective argument using reasons why. The most important part of the unit is sharing their writing and having their classmates, teachers, and administrations read what they’ve written. 

Students in kindergarten have written compelling arguments for:

  • Not wasting water 
  • Needing another recess
  • Throwing away trash in the right place and not littering
  • Avoiding dangerous behaviors on the playground like not going up the slide

Becoming the Change in Lower School

This year our third grade students worked on a project titled, “Where Do Electronics Go to Die?” They researched how electronics that are not disposed of properly hurt the environment and can even affect habitats for animals. 

This study consisted of a hands-on project as well as a persuasive writing unit. In their writing, third graders wrote letters to people educating them about their findings and encouraging them to dispose of their electronics in a responsible way, avoiding negative impacts in the future. They also used their artistic talents to make posters bringing awareness to the issue. 

Being the Change in Middle School

In middle school, every student takes on a “Be the Change” project, which is a long-term project. Students examine a prominent issue and create a tangible resource to educate others.

Fifth grade — Students created a museum exhibit to educate others in biome conservation. Curious learners chose two organisms and investigated  their habitat, adaptations, diet and interactions.

Sixth grade — Students went on a journey to discover how to decrease their personal carbon footprint through recycling, composting, repurposing, and reusing things that would typically end up in landfills.

Seventh grade — Students led schoolwide change by identifying areas to help decrease the school’s footprint. They explored topics and developed potential solutions regarding our physical structure and environmental impact.

Eighth grade — Students explored how to use their voices as a catalyst for change. After identifying a problem about which they were passionate, eighth graders learned the tools and techniques of creating a TED-style talk promoting the change they wish to see.

Come See It For Yourself

As a Jewish day school, we regularly incorporate Jewish values of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and kehilah (community). Our students participate in community service activities both on campus and beyond our walls. This type of learning builds empathy and develops future leaders. When we expose students to these important values, it becomes a part of who they are, and they become active citizens in their communities. 

We encourage you to schedule a visit and experience our unique learning environment for yourself. It would be our privilege to partner with your family in raising up a young world changer.