Lauder Schools of Prague
The Lauder School of Prague is the only Jewish school complex in the Czech Republic – comprising a kindergarten, an elementary school and a high school. It is open to students of all Jewish backgrounds and is also open to non-Jewish students. Not only is the school a partner of World ORT, but it also belongs to the European network of Lauder schools, established in the 1990s.
|Name of School||Lauder Schools of Prague|
|Age range||Preschool, Elementary, Junior High, High School|
Judaism plays a central role in the curriculum. It is taught in Jewish studies lessons and in Hebrew classes and Jewish topics are incorporated into a range of other subjects. In primary school, students from the 1st grade (aged 6) study Hebrew according to the Tal-Am programme.
On moving up to high school, the school offers students a 5-day team-building programme to bond with each other outside of the classroom, to meet their class teacher and to spend their first Shabbat together.
As part of their Jewish education, High school students (11 -19 years old) work on a film project about Israel. This project helps students to gain a lot of knowledge about Israel and a chance to show their creativity, which is a very important aspect of true learning. Examples of students' previous work speaks for itself such as this film.
Each year the school opens itself to the Jewish community to host the Global Day of Jewish Learning - an international project which brings communities together once a year to celebrate Judaism's foundational Jewish texts through community-based learning.
As of September 2013, the school has run an e-learning programme sponsored by the Lauder Foundation for Jewish students who live outside of Prague and attend non-Jewish schools. Students can take two lessons per week in both Jewish Studies and Hebrew, with an optional two further lessons per week in English, using tablets which are provided for them. Students are encouraged to use these lessons as a springboard for virtually interacting and engaging with each other, thereby building a broader sense of Jewish community across the Czech Republic and Slovakia. So far participants have included, 48 students and 8 teachers who live in 7 countries: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Israel, United Kingdom and Republic of South Africa.
The support of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, together with World ORT donor Raymond Tye, has been instrumental in helping the school to establish an ORT Technology Center with high-tech science laboratories and data logging equipment. The school also has two interdisciplinary technology labs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) equipment, 3D printer and 3D TV.
Through several projects during school year and regular half semester projects teachers apply modern educational methods like Problem Based Education or STEM. Students are required to solve a problem, with teachers working only as moderators. Students present their results not only to other students but also to parents and members of the Prague Jewish Community.
Languages and Interdisciplinary Teaching
- From the 3rd grade of primary school students (aged 8) start to study English.
- From the 3rd grade (aged 13) of high school, students start to study another language (French or German). Language classes are streamed according to ability across year groups, rather than across single year groups. This allows for a greater number of ability streams, and encourages students of different ages to get to know each other.
- Also beginning in the 3rd grade of high school, students take a specialised subject – “The World in Context” – which is taught in English and is an example of interdisciplinary teaching at the school. This subject merges English as a foreign language with History and Social Science, covering a range of historical events and their influence on the modern world. Students give sample presentations in English and often work collaboratively in groups. The development of this subject is informed by the theory of CLIL – “Content and Language Integrated Learning” – which specifies the need for content aims, linguistic aims and cognitive aims. The benefits of teaching in this way are that students see English language as a tool to gather relevant and meaningful information, and that they are able to learn outside the “box” of individual school subjects.
Projects and Collaborations
Exchange with Istanbul School
Students benefit from an exchange program with the Ulus Ozel Mosevi Lisesi Jewish School in Istanbul, Turkey – which introduces them to Jewish life in a different country and culture.
Cooperation with the Charles University of Prague
The school cooperates with the Faculty of Philosophy at Charles University of Prague – providing opportunities for university students to shadow teachers and participate in project-based learning.
Cafe for Parents
The school organises educational sessions for parents several times a year. The themes are usually from pedagogy, psychology and Judaism. Part of the improvised Café includes refreshments made by students and music by student bands.
Few times a year, parents, teachers, students or a local celebrity comes to school to read their favourite book from childhood to the students. The aim is to develop reading literacy and build excitement around reading.
"In Medias Res" Conference
The school has hosted an academic conference for its students, students from other schools in Prague and beyond and for members of the general public. Participants choose from a wide variety of lectures in the fields of both science and humanities. In the year 2015 speakers included: Gary Koren - Ambassador at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel in Prague, Andrew Schapiro – U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Leo Pavlat – director of the Jewish Museum of Prague, Tomas Pojar – former Czech Republic Ambassador to Israel, Jan Pirk – a heart surgeon.