A unique collaboration between the ICT Department of the Ministry of Education in the Haifa District in Israel throughout the Municipal Education Department of Hadera Israel has resulted in a memorable program involving many of the 4th grade students during spring 2021 with terrific outcomes! It’s been exciting to see Dr. Lea Atzmon, the city's ICT counselor envision the Hadera Green Map project and bring this place-based education program to life in teamwork with Shelly Harush, director of the elementary school department during the city's 130th anniversary celebration. See the map and video below!
During the 8-week project, all the Fourth Grade classes were invited to take part, including regular, democratic, special needs, and religious school students (introduced here in Hebrew). Many lessons were learned and materials shared by the 20 participating schools as the students explored, investigated, undertook field observations and cleaned up around campus and across the community. Although some places were inaccessible and social distancing rules complicated the process, almost every school completed their mapping process. Now, with the culminating event over and heading to 5th grade, these students will go on to activate the school. In the next school year, the program will start earlier in the year to more fully engage the 4th graders!
Lea’s role with the school system includes computers and technology, guiding the teachers who responded to a survey and the number of children each wanted to involve. With all schools on board, and support of the principals, collaborations between schools, the Green Map project gelled though group and smaller meetings. Moreover, a ‘guide for sustainability’ will join in the coming year, and the program will be extended with outdoor learning and count for teacher development.
There is wide potential to focus on areas of concern that the kids can do something about! Already, the 4th graders have made an impression on the Mayor who fully funded three of the projects outlined in letters written as part of the mapping experience, and symbolically participated in all the initiatives the students put up! This investment is a testament to the dedication of all involved. We’re looking forward to watching this project grow in the coming years.
More from Dr. Lea Atzmon:
"The aim of the project was to motivate children to entrepreneurship and community activism in the field of sustainability. Based on the great global platform of Open Green Map 2, led by Wendy Brawer and guided by her patience and love.
The importance of quality of life in the community was increasingly manifest in the recent period of the Corona pandemic. The mobilization of schools for the project is heartwarming and it is evident that the teachers and students do so out of an understanding of its values and the desire to promote the quality of life in the community.
It would not have been possible to lead such a large-scale venture successfully without the cooperation and support of many people around the partnership in values. It is important for me to mention my direct principal, Naomi Sharoni, who promoted the project and provided me with an excellent team: Roni Shaked, who developed the accompanying website, Tali Ben Daat, and Alon Dimol - who assisted in connection with the schools. The school supervisors, the principals and the teachers who led amazing, exciting, significant and important processes within the schools with the children and of course Shelly Harush from the Education Department and the Mayor of Hadera, Mr. Zvi Gandelman."