Midreshet Ben Gurion is well-known for its excellent High School for Environmental Studies. Students come to this boarding school from all parts of Israel in order to take advantage of the unique four year profram in Environmental Studies. The Zin Primary School serves the residents of Midreshet Ben Gurion (about 150 families) as well as some of the residents in the surrounding area. The Regional Center for Enrichment and the Sciences is a one-day program for gifted students. Students come from the surrounding towns (Dimona, Yerucham, Mitzpe Ramon) and communities (kibbutzim and moshavim in the area).
Environmental education is a holistic, humanistic vision of education depicting the environment as a whole, aimed at developing knowledge, awareness and involvement of man in his physical, biological, human, social and national environment.
The concept of environmental education at Midreshet Ben Gurion was founded at the beginning of the 1980's by a team of educators, field workers, reseaarchers and scientists of various disciplines.
This concept (Chapters in Environmental Education, Version by Sdeh Boker, 1982) is a transformation of actual knowledge accumulated in Sdeh Boker into a theory of education. The main principles of this theory are:
- Grasping the environment as a whole, holistic perception of the environment and integration of the content level and the learning level.
The content level - understanding the environment using various multidisciplinary means on the one hand and single disciplinary systems on the other.
The learning level - combining learning, cognitive and effective guidance in developing the senses and natural talents of man, leading to involvement and responsibility for action.
- Depicting the environment as a dynamic process on a time span - an environment as an acculumation of processes of different rhythms combined with each other. This perception creates a basis for the educated development of tools and the ability to live with doubt, to confront situations of uncertainty and to cope with complex changing phenomena (integration on a social level).
- Stressing values - a system of humanistic values tied to the relationships between man and his environment. Development of awareness, openness, and sensitivity in man to his human and natural environment, as a result of direct interaction with it (person-environment). Development of responsibility and a willingness for active involvemnet in conserving and improving the environment, and developing the necessary skills to solve environmental problems.
This doctrine serves as a framework for the existing educational activities at Midreshet Ben Gurion.
- High School for Environmental Education
- Nehama and Joshua Cohen Field School
- Zin Elementary School
- Unit for Developing Teaching Programs in Environmental Education
- Negev Databases
- Computer Communications Center
The educational activity at the Midreshet Ben Gurion educational institutes is dependent on cooperation with the two university research institutes there:
- The Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research
dealing in research on desert phenomena and on ways and means required to develop and settle the desert.
- The Ben-Gurion Research Institute and Archives
documentation, research and education on topics referring to the history of Zionism, the establishment of the State, the legacy of David Ben-Gurion, and the settlement and revival of the Negev.
Most of all, Midreshet Ben Gurion, which is a symbol of a Jewish pioneering settlement in the middle of the desert, is making a unique and valuable contribution to increasing the awareness and involvement of citizens in problems of environmental ecology and quality of life in the Negev and the State, and to the values of Zionism, such as the return of the People to their land, settling the land, and making the desert bloom.
The activities of the educational insitutes at Midreshet Ben Gurion, in cooperation with the research institutes there, make Midreshet Ben-Gurion a highly important scientific and educational center, contributing to the quality of educaton, environment and life in Israel.