Yeshiva Lab School to Launch Middle School for 2017-2018

yls-fb2Lower Merion, PA – Yeshiva Lab School, an educationally progressive Modern Orthodox elementary school serving the Lower Merion Jewish community, announced today that due to overwhelming interest in its innovative pedagogy and distinctively Modern Orthodox and Zionist philosophy, it will open a middle school for the 2017- 2018 academic year.

According to YLS Principal, Mrs. Becky Troodler, YLS Middle School will deliver the same highly individualized, skills-based approach to student learning for which its elementary school has already become known. Like the elementary school, the middle school will embrace multi-age learning environments and attention to pre-assessments followed by small group, collaborative and independent work tailored to each student’s needs and abilities. Parents can also expect to see an emphasis on creativity and critical thinking. “All too often, kids enter elementary school filled with creative and out-of-the-box ideas only to graduate with almost no trace of that sort of thinking still intact,” notes Troodler. “Yet, these abilities are the most valued by the 21st century world to which our children are headed.”

Another hallmark of Yeshiva Lab School’s middle school will be its wholehearted embrace of Modern Orthodox ideology. As such, the Judaic Studies curriculum will be identical for both boys and girls and will continue to emphasize Hebrew language immersion and deep-seated identity with the State of Israel. Employing progressive pedagogical approaches such as Project-Based and Inquiry-Based Learning in both General and Judaic Studies, YLS will not only build student skills in Hebrew reading and text analysis, but demonstrate the profound relevance of Torah learning and foster personal commitment to Torah living.

Heading the school design team is Rabbi Dr. Gil Perl, Head of Kohelet Yeshiva High School and Chief Academic Officer of the Kohelet Foundation. “All pedagogy at YLS begins with the question: ‘What do we know about how children learn?’ That won’t be any different in middle school. There is really good research out there today about how memory and cognition work, how character development is best nurtured, and how academic and executive functioning skills are best acquired. The Kohelet Foundation created Yeshiva Lab School with the express intent of modeling what a truly progressive education might look like when applied in a fully dual curriculum yeshiva day school setting.”

“One of the Foundation’s goals has always been to generate and share replicable models. The creation of YLS is no different. We’re innovating on both educational and financial fronts and intend to share what works and what doesn’t. We’re investing in YLS for our local community and for the field,” said Holly Cohen, the Kohelet Foundation’s Executive Director.

“This is one of our most exciting projects to date and we’re making a long-term investment in the educational model as well as the physical plant,” said Cohen, confirming that the Kohelet Foundation is prepared to invest up to $25 million to develop, complete and share the project.

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