A pioneering spirit alongside modern sustainability
Ayanot Youth Village was established in 1930 by Ada Fishman Maimon, a pioneer who emigrated to Israel in her youth and founded the village to empower women in the years leading up to Israel’s independence. A feminist, she advocated for women’s rights and effected lasting change in raising women’s wages, advancing women’s role in society, and promoting work ethics for all people. While Ayanot was originally established as a working farm to train women laborers, it grew to include men, and an agricultural high school was founded there.
Today there are 350 students at the Ayanot Youth Village high school, including approximately 50 Naale students. The native Israeli students hail from all over the country. They choose to attend Ayanot because of the wealth of opportunities it offers.
The original values on which Ayanot was founded continue to reverberate today – taking pride in meaningful work, joyful cooperation, and boundless creativity. Classes at Ayanot are small and offer a lot of individualized attention.
The Ayanot Youth Village is also home to a pre-army preparatory program, or mechina, that is driven by the same principles.
Ayanot is an innovative, cooperative environment that maintains its rich history alongside modern, collaborative values.
Ayanot Youth Village is set in a picturesque environment where old meets new. Several original buildings are maintained on the site and an agricultural atmosphere is felt throughout the campus. The grounds of the school are lush and green, with up-to-date dorm facilities and a natural sense of quiet enjoyed by students and staff members alike.
A home away from home in which to thrive and make a difference
Ayanot is a microcosm of society. There is a strong sense of community and family at the school and everyone knows one another. Academics are important at Ayanot, along with so much more that creates an enriching experience.
The school is set on an agricultural farm and emphasizes experiences and informal educational methods. There is a working farm at the school with goats and other farm animals. Free range chickens produce eggs that are later sold at a market. There are friendly miniature horses at the school that students help to care for. There is a greywater system, among other sustainable, eco-friendly initiatives at the school.
One day a week is designated a work day in which students fulfill tasks and projects of various kinds. This gives students a productive break in the regular routine of the school week. Students can work in gardening or learn handy work skills. In the Teva Ayanot program, students can grow herbs that are used to create health and beauty products in a process that the students oversee from plant to store shelf.
Volunteering is an important part of the Ayanot experience in which students help the wider society and community. Through meaningful volunteer work, students encounter the diversity of the Israeli population. In a hands-on way, they are part of something greater than themselves.
What sets Ayanot apart is that these unique features are not simply extras at the school. They are woven into the school week and take place during regular school hours. The school believes that these experiences are not merely nice added features, but that they form the foundation for a student’s character and future, on par with mainstream academic study.
Ayanot students are a diverse group. They share the desire to attend a small school where each student matters. Some say they had felt swallowed at a larger school and sought a more intimate environment in which they could have an impact. There are no ‘outsiders’ at Ayanot as everyone feels a sense of belonging.
Ayanot’s Naale students hail from around the globe. They are doers who strive to succeed. An impressive 90% of Ayanot students earn a bagrut diploma. The school is diverse and accepting. Ayanot students consider themselves open-minded self-starters who are eager to form connections with others. Kids who think outside of the box and like to DIY will feel very much at home at Ayanot.
An innovative education that fosters creativity, leadership, and independence
Ayanot Youth Village offers a full range of school subjects. Core subjects include literature, history, math, science, land of Israel studies and more. Megamot or electives offered include biology, chemistry, agro-ecology, film and media studies, nutrition sciences, and law. There is also a diplomacy track in English in which students engage in debates with students from around the country. There is a unique track in green/modern architecture which includes practicum in the field. For instance, the architecture students planned and built their own unique classroom. Next year, global studies will be added to the fields of study.
Ayanot’s campus includes a technology center for computer studies. Ayanot students will soon be able to take classes at the nearby Weizmann Institute, earning academic credits that can be used towards university study in Israel.
Starting September 2021, Naale students at Ayanot will have the opportunity to participate in an Earth Sciences track as part of a special program in partnership with the prestigious Weizmann Institute of Science.
The Earth Sciences study track is a multi-year program, specially designed for Naale students, with extra preparatory classes taught by top scientists from the Weizmann Institute. Students will benefit from hands-on experience with cutting-edge equipment, independent online learning, and plenty of field outings where participants will come into close contact with the environment they are learning about through trips to Israel’s mountains, water sources, deserts and beaches.
Earth Sciences is a multi-disciplinary course, covering geology, oceanography, physics, biology, chemistry, climate, astronomy and more. Beyond the basic requirements, topics of research and study are tailored to individual students, who are taught the fundamentals and then encouraged to pursue what interests them most. The atmosphere in the program is friendly and reciprocal, with students encouraged to contribute according to their schedule and inclination.
This program is based on a similar program for Israeli high-schoolers, which has been operating for the past decade. Many graduates of this successful program have gone on to study Earth Sciences at university level.
An array of chugim and classes to meet diverse interests
The broad range of extracurricular offerings are true standouts at Ayanot. Extracurriculars are available in sports, art, music, technology and more. Music classes include guitar, piano, drums, vocal coaching, and band. Ayanot has a recording studio where music students create and record their pieces. Music studies also take place in collaboration with a conservatorium in nearby Nes Ziona.
Studies at Ayanot include a trip to Poland as part of Holocaust studies, and a delegation to Ethiopia. There is also a film delegation that creates films in collaboration with a school in Germany.
Sports feature prominently at Ayanot. There is an active soccer academy. Students who excel at soccer can join an Israeli pro league. Bike trails abound in the area, and the school cycling academy goes on bike rides two or three times a week. They also cycle during school vacations in various locations throughout Israel. Other school sports include martial arts, soccer, tennis, and more. There is a gym at the school, and a Naale student who has earned licensing as a physical trainer assists students there.
Additional chugim at Ayanot are hip hop dance, ceramics, drawing, cooking, chess, makeup arts, fashion design, film acting, scouting with hiking trips throughout Israel, 3D printing, and professional DJing including a certificate.
Chugim offerings range from year to year based on interest. The school is small and therefore able to tailor itself to find creative ways to meet students’ needs on a personal level. The wide array of extracurricular studies attest to Ayanot’s dynamic way of encouraging individual development.
A global village where everyone belongs
There is a deep connection between Naale students at Ayanot and the Israeli program. Everyone is part of the same thriving community, and meaningful friendships are formed on the basis of shared goals and interests.
The atmosphere at Ayanot encourages connection among students. The school atmosphere promotes a sense of belonging without cliques.
The Naale dorms are in close premises of the Israeli students’ dorms. Students go on trips together and learn side by side as much as possible. Chugim and other shared experiences create more opportunities for bonding.
New Naale students at Ayanot learn in an ulpan program at the school so they can acquire Hebrew language skills. upon completing the ulpan, students attend classes in Hebrew, with continued support provided as needed.
Attentive and Nurturing Staff
Ayanot staff members are known for their supportiveness and warmth. They encourage students’ independence and growth.
Typically, Ayanot encourages students to seek academic help or support if they feel they need it. If help is needed, the staff steps in, whether language assistance is needed, or a side project a student is pursuing requires additional input. Students are matched with a teacher or volunteer who will best suit their needs.
Additional support comes from older students in the Naale program at Ayanot who are eager to lend a hand to newer students. There are also post-high school youth doing sherut leumi, or national service, on the staff who can provide help to students.
DORMING AND FACILITIES AT AYANOT
The dormitory buildings house 30 students each, with 3 or 4 students in a room. Dorm facilities include a common area for recreation and laundry machines where students can wash and dry their clothes. Each building also houses a basic kitchen in which students can prepare simple meals. Three nutritious, hot meals are provided daily at the school cafeteria.
SHABBAT AND HOLIDAYS
Ayanot is considered a secular village and is part of the mamlachti, or national curriculum school system. Like all schools within the Ministry of Education, basic kashrut laws are observed. The school commemorates Jewish holidays and there is a synagogue on the premises for Shabbat services. Individuals at the school who are religiously observant have their needs met, though the environment is not an actively religious one.
On some weekends during the school year, everyone remains on campus. On weekends away from school, Naale students may always choose to remain at school if they wish. Students from overseas are paired with adoptive host families who are an added resource of support. While they cannot replace a student’s family, adoptive families are known for their warmth and welcoming nature, often maintaining ties with students well beyond graduation.
Ayanot won the National Prize for Education in 2019. And we’re not the only ones who recognize the beauty of the Ayanot campus – for eight years, the school has been awarded 5 stars by the Council for a Beautiful Israel.
The school campus includes a small museum that tells the history of the village and houses its archives. Featured prominently is the story of Ayanot founder Ada Fishman Maimon’s feminist history. She fought against the tide for dramatic change in the perception and treatment of women, and their role and voice in the developing State of Israel. As a founding member of the Mo’etzet Hapoalot, or the General Council of Women Workers in Israel, Maimon’s influence echoes to this day in the values at Ayanot and in all of Israel. The museum, school, and the village itself celebrate her legacy.
The annual Ayanot Marathon has been held for the past 9 years, with a track that goes throughout all of Ayanot. The proceeds of this charity run go towards children with special needs.
Until their arrival in Israel and exit from quarantine, Naale students learned remotely and have since caught up on work as needed. The regular program at Ayanot began with regular frontal learning on September 1. Hands-on learning is favored whenever possible.