Every facet of Brandeis Marin –– from academics to support services –– is designed to nurture the whole child. Our teachers know their students as individuals and understand the context of their lives as children, siblings, friends, athletes, artists and spiritual beings. Our entire community supports their physical development, promotes their social and emotional growth, cultivates their ethical consciousness and nurtures their sense of awe and wonder at the world.
Our Jewish studies curriculum adds significantly to our whole child learning and infuses each day with lessons drawn from our timeless wisdom tradition. Through Jewish learning –– which emphasizes character building, ethical action, mutual respect and honoring different perspectives –– students develop a sense of responsibility for their community and the world.
At Brandeis Marin, we incorporate Design Thinking into all aspects of our curriculum. Design Thinking guides students to examine complex, real-world challenges through multiple lenses and to solve them through creative collaboration and empathetic reasoning –– valuable skills that will stay with them throughout their lives. For example, our fourth grade students create model and architectural drawings of ideal bedrooms for their classmates. They also combine math and Design Thinking to create prototypes for school personnel to address unmet needs in their work or simply to make their lives easier. Our fifth graders use Design Thinking to examine invertebrates and then, using the principles of biomimicry, form their own ideas about how these animals can help solve human problems.
At the heart of what we do at Brandeis Marin –– and made real through direct action –– is Service Learning, which is rooted in tikkun olam (repairing the world). Service Learning is woven into our curriculum and brings to life our value of giving back and being empathetic global citizens. The moment students join our community their world begins to shift from “me” to “we”. For example, first and sixth graders collaborate to learn about Armory Creek, where they not only explore animal habitats, but also roll up their sleeves to clean the area. Our seventh grade tzedakah (social justice) leadership project challenges our teens to look beyond their immediate world to matters that are bigger and oftentimes feel out of range and insolvable. Students collaborate as a philanthropic “board” to select an area of focus, conduct research and then raise funds to benefit an organization they select. In past years, they have contributed to more than 60 global and local organizations, including Mazon, Nature Conservancy, Huckleberry Youth Programs, American Jewish World Service, Marine Mammal Center, Child Abuse Prevention Council and Homeward Bound. The breadth of organizations reflect the students' understanding of the world's challenges reflected in their own emerging values.
Our fourth through eighth grade classes experience learning beyond the walls of our school.
Fourth graders venture to Yosemite where they take part in a California Gold Rush simulation. Fifth graders travel down the coast of California where they explore marine life. Sixth graders learn about local habitats and the California forests while seventh graders participate in an outdoor education trip centered on their seventh grade tzedakah (social justice) leadership project. Eighth graders culminate their years at Brandeis Marin with a two-week trip to Israel.
Our Buddy Program is one of the most endearing and beloved aspects of school life for our students and knits together our community ever closer. Each grade partners with another grade and each student with another student. For Lower School children, it’s a precious opportunity to build a strong relationship with someone older –– a friend to emulate and trust. For our older students, it’s a beautiful chance to live the values they learn here –– compassion, empathy, responsibility –– and to be true role models and mentors.