Unique Role Model in Israel
TAMRAT EL ZEITOUN, Fruit of the Olive Tree, is the first all-Arab Waldorf School in Israel. With Muslim, Christian and Druze children together in the same classrooms, Tamrat El Zeitoun demonstrates how Waldorf education can be integrated into an Arab community.
Each year since the first kindergarten class, new ground is broken at Tamarat El Zeitoun. History is made in the development of the Waldorf curriculum for each grade level that incorporates the seasonal celebrations from the diverse Arab faiths.
Tamrat El Zeitoun represents an exciting new educational direction arising from an inspired and empowered Arab community in Shefa Amr, a city of over 30,000 Muslim, Christian and Druze inhabitants in the lower Galilee. With Waldorf schools already well established for Jewish children in Israel, families from Shefa Amr wanted Waldorf education to be available for Arab children as well. They also believed that this education, which embodied universal human values, could become a unifying force in a society torn by a century of bloodshed and mistrust.
From its inception, Tamrat El Zeitoun was a catalyst for bridging Shefa Amr with the neighboring Jewish community at the Harduf Waldorf school. Arab faculty from Tamrat El Zeitoun and teachers from Harduf work together to create an effective and comprehensive curriculum, including joint activities for their classes.
The existence - and continued growth - of Tamrat El Zeitoun is testimony to the resourcefulness, determination and dedication of this small but vibrant Arab Waldorf community. These qualities have enhanced their resilience in confronting and overcoming significant obstacles. They miraculously raised the funds necessary to build their new school building on land leased to them by a Tamrat El Zeitoun parent. After a summer of community hands-on participation in the building process, the school triumphantly took occupancy of its newly completed structure in Fall 2013.
The first and only Arabic-language Waldorf school in Israel, Tamrat El Zeitoun runs on the dedication of volunteer founders, modestly paid teachers and the parent community. Like the olive trees rooted in their communities, Tamrat El Zeitoun is beginning to stand strong and tall in a Middle East where children can flourish.