Adat Ari El Day School

Adat Ari El Labowe Family Day School was founded in 1979 and offers a Jewish and secular education to students from transitional kindergarten to sixth grade. It pursues its mission—”to raise up students who know themselves, serve others and act to improve the world”—through an education model rooted in project-based learning and Design Thinking methodologies.

How does your school support students’ passions?

“In addition to our core curriculum, we take a student-centered approach to all aspects of the students’ learning. Supporting their interests and passions is at the core of who we are and what we do. Throughout the year and across grade levels, projects and units are explored in greater depth as a result of the students’ passions on a given subject.”

What do you see kids doing to make this world a better place?

“Last year our fourth graders went to the board of directors with the goal of making change. What resulted was an initiative that today addresses food, waste and landscape and connects values of environmental stewardship to Jewish teachings. We have a community composting program, we created gardens that grow organic vegetables, we recycle and ultimately we hope to have a sustainable campus. At the core of the Green ADAT initiative is the idea that when the students make it their own, their leadership is what will affect institutional change.”

How do your teachers encourage teamwork in students’ lives?

“Every day at ADAT, students are engaged in project-based learning and collaborative work with partners, teams and even across grade levels. This year our kindergarten, third grade and sixth grade are working together to design a new play yard on campus. They are using the Design Thinking process, along with their individual and collective creativity, to create the ideal outdoor environment to meet the needs of students of all ages. The school as a whole is a close-knit community, and mini-communities are created in every grade as well.”

Do you help students develop an entrepreneurial mindset?

“Developing an entrepreneurial mindset is woven into the Design Thinking process. At the conclusion of this process, each student is asked to evaluate, refine and oftentimes restart. In this way, students might see many iterations of a given project or idea. These ‘failures’ yield the best chance for eventual success. We encourage students to follow their passions and persevere even in the face of perceived failure.”