Partnership 21, a leading force in 21st century learning serves to position 21st century readiness at the center of education by building collaborative partnerships among education, business, community, and government leaders. 21st century learning combines “The 3Rs” which are now expanded to include: English, reading or language arts; mathematics; science; foreign languages; civics; government; economics; arts; history; and geography. These core subjects are coupled with “The 4Cs” which include: critical thinking and problem solving; communication, collaboration; and creativity and innovation.
Mastery of core subjects and 21st century themes is essential for students in the 21st century. Our schools today must move beyond a focus on basic competency in core subjects to promoting understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into core subjects. Environmental Literacy is one of these themes of 21st century learning and is defines as:
“Demonstrating a knowledge and understanding of the environment and the circumstances and conditions affecting it, particularly as relates to air, climate, land, food, energy, water and ecosystems; Investigating and analyzing environmental issues, and making accurate conclusions about effective solutions, and taking individual and collective action towards addressing environmental challenges.”
It is within this spirit that Akiva School is a pioneer in leading a 21st century initiative and creating our first organic vegetable garden. Our grade 6 leaders worked with our young kindergarten children and built the garden together. Our students were actively involved in every step of setting up this organic garden; from actually building the framework, preparing the soil, planting, and setting up their Scarecrow. The vegetables grown will be donated to “Meals of Wheels” service which incorporates a very importance social justice piece, and Tikun Olam. Empowering young children to take ownership of their environment and to be involved in projects that rely on strong communication and collaboration are empowering our students at this young to take responsibility, problem solve, and reach out to their community as leaders. They are an example to us all.