Yavneh & the World Around Us by Sonia Slonim – Head of HASS

Yavneh & the World Around Us by Sonia Slonim – Head of HASS

In the Humanities and Social Sciences Department, we are committed to providing our students with opportunities to enhance their learning and broaden their horizons. One such program that our students recently participated in was the Victorian Young Leaders Global Youth Forum, where nearly 1000 students from 100 schools across 10 countries came together virtually. Among them were 12 students from our Year 9 cohort. We thank Amity, Nissim, Matan, Noah, Hayley and Tanna, Hayley and Rebecca, Leah, Lily, Meital, and Benjamin for their participation in the programme and representing our school.

The forum was designed to foster interactive and meaningful learning experiences, connecting students from Victorian schools with their peers in the Asia-Pacific region, including countries like China, Thailand, Japan, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines. The focus of the forum was to deepen students’ understanding of identity, belonging, culture, globalization, and what it means to be a global citizen.

During the forum, students explored the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and engaged in discussions with their counterparts from various Asian countries. Topics such as Quality Education, Social Inequalities, and Environmental issues were explored, providing a platform for cross-cultural exchange, and understanding. Additionally, students had the opportunity to learn about the lives and perspectives of young people their age from different countries and religions.

In May, five Year 8 students, Orli, Ella, Joshua, Benji, and Nadav participated in the Emerging Young Leaders program, which involved engaging in discussions about respect in school with students from China and Indonesia. This allowed for an exploration of cultural differences in terms of religious studies and respect toward teachers. One of the highlights was attending the forum at Melbourne University, where students interacted with peers from Lyndhurst Secondary College and compared their schools. During their time at Melbourne University, the students collaborated to design a three-day program for students in Years 5 and 6, and one of our students, Benjy, has been selected to present at the Forum for Years 5 and 6 as an inspirational young leader.

The objectives of these forums align with our broader aim of teaching students to appreciate and understand the significance of being global citizens. We strive to deepen their understanding of bias, the influences shaping their worldview and their role in shaping global citizenship. Additionally, we aim to strengthen their awareness of their own biases and those of others, as well as identify ways to respond to divisive views and behaviours, ultimately contributing to the realization of their vision for the local and global community. These programs align with the Australian curriculum’s standards on globalization, the interconnected world, and Australia’s relationship with Asia. They also align with our school’s mission of educating global citizens with Torah values.

Looking ahead, we are eagerly anticipating our participation in the Together for Humanity Victorian Youth Summit in July. This summit will provide a platform for our secondary students to voice their ideas on diversity, inclusion, and community cohesion to politicians, leaders, and the wider community. Students will actively engage in working groups and experiential learning, guided by Together for Humanity Education Officers and schoolteachers.

In addition to these enriching programs, we also encourage our students to participate in the Australian History Competition, which fosters a deeper understanding of our country’s history. All students in Years 7-10 will have the opportunity to take part in this competition, which is divided into two divisions: Years 7-8 and Years 9-10. We have consistently witnessed improvements in our results over the years, and we anticipate further progress this year.

We firmly believe that excursions play a vital role in our curriculum. In the coming weeks, Year 8 students will be visiting Kryal Castle, while Year 9 students will be heading to SYN Radio and Ballarat. These experiential learning activities provide invaluable experiences that cannot be replicated in the classroom alone. They foster critical thinking skills, teamwork, and personal growth. We kindly request your support in encouraging your child to participate in these excursions with a positive attitude and an open mind.

The HASS exams and SATs have concluded as we follow a trimester system in our academic year. Conducting these exams before the official exam period proved beneficial for our students as it alleviated the pressure of exams during that time. This arrangement allowed the Year 9 students, who were writing their exam in a large hall for the first time, to gain valuable experience and understand what to expect in such settings.

Good luck to all students for the upcoming exams and hope you have a happy and safe break.