During the week of October 16th, the 7th and 8th grade students participated in four full days of Experiential Education, developing knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences outside a traditional academic setting. The week began with the students and staff engaging in Tikkun Olam activities at Feeding San Diego and packing Blessing Bags for homeless adolescents in San Diego. While at Feeding San Diego, SDJA students packed 12,000 Kids Cafe meals helping low-income students and their families. Students also organized and packed 100 Blessing Bags, which consisted of basic toiletries and everyday necessities, for some of the 23,000 homeless adolescents in San Diego. The students not only learned about food pantry programs, those struggling to get food and shelter, and the lives of those that are less fortunate, but were also given the opportunity take action and help those in need. Through the process of giving, the students and staff were able to make empathetic and compassionate connections not only with each other, but also to the greater good of the world.
During Experiential Education week, the students had the opportunity to FLY! That’s right, fly! The 7th and 8th grade students traveled to the iFly facility in San Diego for a fun filled day of interactive presentation demos in the wind tunnel and participated in STEM labs activities. In the lab sessions the students designed their own parachute and tested it in a mini wind tunnel. In the math/physics lab students manipulated equations for volume and area of different objects being placed in the wind tunnel. Each student had the opportunity to suit up and fly in the wind tunnel as well!
As the concluding event of the week, the students made their way to Intrepid Theater Company to watch the play Father Comes Home from the Wars. This modern play is a story about a slave who must earn his freedom by fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War. After the performance, the students participated in a panel discussion with the actors and the Education Teaching Artist at the Intrepid Theatre. During the discussion phase of the program, students dialogued with the actors on freedom, race, tolerance, and gratitude. Although the play was performed in an historical context, the central thmes easily connected to modern day issues facing society. The day was thought provoking, engaging, and incredibly educational!
While the students were able to engage in some very meaningful activities off campus, they also participated in many other EXCSEL activities throughout the week on campus. The students had the chance to participate in Free PE, Art, Improv, Yoga, and Jewish Life activities. All of these activities provided students time to explore, create, collaborate, reflect, and have fun!!