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Israeli Arab Schools Embrace "Expanding the Circle of Compassion"


PRESS RELEASE

 

 

 
 

Educators:

First Seminar

Second Seminar

Students:

First Classes

Talks by religious leaders about
sacrifice

Press Releases:

27 March 2013

21 October 2012

1 April 2012

Media Coverage:

Quaker Concern for Animals,
15 August 2013

Jerusalem Post,
10 May 2013

Reshet TV,
19 April 2013

Panet, 15 April 13

Panet, 6 April 2013

Panet, 21 Oct 2012

Karmel Portal, 22 October 2012

Kol Israel Radio interview, 26 May 2012

Kol Israel interview partial transcript, 26 May 2012

Ma'ariv, 30 March 2012

 

 

 

Tel Aviv, 27 March 2013

 

Sixty teachers plus school and Ministry of Education officials will gather at Hotel Beit Oren on April 4-5 to attend "Expanding the Circle of Compassion," a conference led by American humane education expert and author, Rae Sikora. Ms. Sikora, co-creator of the first Masterís degree program in Humane Education at a U.S. university, will describe proactive ways youth and adults can effect positive change globally, by aligning their personal daily choices with whom and what they care most about. The conference is sponsored by the NGO Hakol Chai (Everything Lives), whose values-based education program of the same name, for Arab schools, has been spreading rapidly. Hakol Chai is the Israeli sister charity of the 29-year-old, U.S.-based Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI).

  

Begun as an 11 lesson pilot project for around 640 4th grade students, in just four months, the Education Ministry has been so pleased by the positive effect of the program on students and the positive response from teachers and students alike that it is expanding the program to include 2,000 students of all elementary school grades, with new schoolsóMuslim, Druze and Bedouinóbeing added rapidly.

 

"This project provides us with a tremendous opportunity to create a positive shift in consciousness in students and educators toward respect and compassion for all living beings," said Sikora. Her programs, which she has taught in many countries, have been changing people's vision of what is possible to create in our lives and in the world.

 

Experiential activities and critical thinking questions invite students to explore their feelings about others who are different from usóhuman and non-humanóand empower them to recreate their world. Once they understand the power of one strand in the web of life to affect others, the program encourages students to align their daily choices with their values and make positive change in their communities. Hakol Chaiís program for Arab schools will prepare students to make use of CHAIís extensive humane education curriculum for elementary through high school grades, which the charity plans to unveil in the fall.

 

The program, which includes presentations from religious leaders and involves parents, has been popular with students and teachers alike, who point to benefits they have seen already. This comment of a teacher on the program evaluation questionnaire is typical of the feedback received by Hakol Chai and the Ministry: "This program offers pupils the opportunity to create a better and more tolerant world." Yasim Khader, Principal of the Elbasalia Elementary School in Shefaram, commented: "The program teaches exactly the values our school aims to instill in children."

 

One of the many benefits of humane education is that it helps teachers identify children at risk of violent behavior. Scientific studies have shown that cruelty to animals in children is an accurate predictor of violence toward humans when children become adults. In response to a teacher's question, "Should we be responsible and compassionate toward animals?" at risk students self-report, saying no one cares about them so why should they care about others. Help can then be provided to them. Students in Hakol Chaiís program also reported fellow students who cut off catsí tails or otherwise abused animals. Teachers reinforce that such behavior is unacceptable and arrange counseling for the perpetrators. Children are encouraged to share their feelings about animals and learn not to take out their own painful feelings on those smaller and weaker. Child psychologists agree that instilling empathy in children is key to creating moral, contributing citizens and a compassionate society.

 

Hakol Chaiís conference and program are made possible thanks to the support of the Animal Guardians Foundation.

 

For more information about Hakol Chaiís program, write to info@hakolchai.org

 

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