As Jewish kindergartens and schools across the FSU take their summer vacation break, FJC’s Darkeinu Jewish heritage learning program uses the time to review year-end results and develop new initiatives for the upcoming September.
In 2016-2017, the program’s eighth year of operations, Darkeinu educational curriculum was used by 130 schools and, for the first time, by 80 kindergartens in 8 FSU countries. Furthermore, 1,700 students participated in the Darkeinu Olympics, the program’s signature extra-curricular competition, and over 3,000 students took part in Mega-holiday contests that were introduced for the first time this year.
Another innovation was the shift to a more interactive, internet-based webinar system, implemented in teacher trainings and student classes, which will continue to gain momentum next year.
And, of course, Darkeinu staff is always looking to perfect the curriculum’s learning materials, numbering over 100,000 printed copies, be it textbooks, workbooks or in-classroom maps and info-graphic posters.
“Darkeinu is a modern, interactive learning curriculum that adapts to the changes in students’ mentality and the way they learn and walks with them hand-in-hand,” said Mrs. Hila Selsky, Darkeinu’s outreach coordinator. “This year we introduced student webinars for the first time, with several hundred students learning together in an on-line format. We also had a live translation of our Olympics finals, where entire schools were tuning-in to root for their finalists.”
The on-line format is also being successfully used for teacher qualification courses that are developed to ensure that Darkeinu’s high educational standards are upheld in the best possible way.
“We’ve also developed seminars for kindergarten teachers, whose task of teaching Jewish tradition is even more difficult. The program’s first year in kindergartens was very successful and we are now expanding our curriculum for all the age groups,” Mrs. Selsky said. Darkeinu staff is using the summer months to prepare the materials.