Yarka Innovative Elementary School

 Yarka, Western Galilee
Client: Ministry of Education
Completed: 1995
Description: The 14-classroom elementary school campus is situated on a mountain range overlooking the unique Galilee landscape. The school was planned as part of an experiment initiated by the Ministry of Education on "Innovative Schools", and the planning stages involved the extended work of a multidisciplinary educational steering committee.  The project was designed to encourage the application of novel teaching methods and original study curricula.

Each classroom building houses two grade levels (3rd and 4th grade, and 5th and 6th grade) or, for the junior section, kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades together.  Every “house” has its own library, art workshop and computer lab, so that it can function as a complete learning environment.  The classrooms in each of the units are clustered around a common learning space, with fixed wide openings between the classrooms and the central space. Learning activity takes place throughout the day between the open learning areas in the classroom and the common area.

The buildings are connected by a covered two-level passage which serves as the school corridor.  At the core of the school is a 240-seat amphitheater overlooking the breathtaking landscape to the north.

The school specializes in natural science and environmental studies, and a professional meteorological reporting station of the National Meteorological Institute was constructed on the site to provide students with hands-on experience in the field.  An educational garden combines a greenhouse, terraces for growing spices and medicinal plants, and demonstrations of traditional artisan stone building techniques and the extraction of olive oil, all typical of the region.
[science, junior section, innovative, environmental, elementary school, educational garden]

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