The Open Classroom: Young Leadership Empowerment

In honor of its 110th year, KKL-JNF has initiated a unique educational-ecological project, in which it will be presenting open classrooms to schoolchildren in educational institutions all over Israel.

The Green Leadership Classroom program was completed in 2016.

About the Leadership Classroom Program

Unique open-air classrooms will be installed in schoolyards around Israel, which will be run by the students themselves. A group of students in each school, who form members of the school's student council, will run programs for the student body using the open classrooms. The program will be guided by KKL-JNF instructors.

The student leaders will become social leaders, “KKL-JNF trustees” among the student body, and they will disseminate leadership values among their friends, including ecological, Zionist responsibility and involvement.

Class activity in an open classroom. Photo: Ancho Gosh, KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Receiving a classroom is conditional on the school’s implementation of the educational program throughout the year and adhering to its aims and objectives. This is in order to preserve the classroom as a thriving, extracurricular, educational anchor.

The educational program implemented in the open classroom will give the student council representatives tools to guide and lead the student body of their school in regards to ecological, environmental and Zionist issues.

The leadership tools and the various directives will be given by KKL-JNF instructors to the members of the student council in a series of sessions, which will take place in the open classroom and in the schoolyard over the course of the year.

Program Goals

  • Creating a school leadership group, which will be comprised of student council representatives, and which will lead educational and environmental programs within the student body of the school.


  • Inspiring the schoolchildren with regard to ecology and Zionism by means of assorted activities led by student council representatives in the open classroom.


  • Promoting school initiatives that will accompany the program and combine social action and contribution to the local environment.


  • Connecting the schoolchildren to the diversity of KKL-JNF projects, and consolidating a group of students, who will work as a group of “KKL-JNF trustees” among the students in their school and within their community.

Inaugurating a new leadership classroom. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Using the Open Classroom

  • The open classroom is designated for use as a place for activities that the student council representatives will be responsible for. It is to be used by the student council representatives and all the schoolchildren, and it is to empower the leadership of the student council members among their peers.


  • The classroom is also to serve all the schoolchildren as a place for rest and relaxation during recess.


  • The classroom is to be used as a regular meeting place for the school’s student council representatives and the KKL-JNF instructors, and also as a place for the student council members and the KKL-JNF instructors to implement educational programs in interesting and experiential surroundings.


  • Instructional material will be posted on the bulletin board in the open classroom, as well as information sheets and different announcements for assisting the instructors.


  • Student council representatives will be responsible for the open classroom and will be obligated to take care of it and keep it clean.

    Promoting young leadership and ecological values in all sectors of Israeli society.
    Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

KKL-JNF Trustee School Seal

Schools that receive the KKL-JNF Trustee School Seal will be welcome to take part in the KKL-JNF open classroom project. The seal is awarded by the KKL-JNF Youth and Education Division according to the following criteria (the application of at least five of the following nine criteria will be reviewed):
  1. Inclusion of Zionist ecological topics in the curriculum: previous activity with KKL-JNF, including KKL-JNF topics in the annual curriculum—stamps, booklets, educational pamphlets, online activities and topics from the KKL-JNF website.
  2. Inclusion of activities with the KKL-JNF Activity Mobile, participation in excursions in the Chain-Link Program, or implementing ecology days.
  3. Adopting a KKL-JNF site in the vicinity of the school (field, forest or park).
  4. Participation in forest volunteer work.
  5. Participation in the annual KKL-JNF Quiz on the topics of Zionism, people and the environment.

    PM Binyamin Netanyahu visits an Open Classroom in the Barkan School near Beit Shean.
    Photo: Tania Susskind

  6. Application of the principles of intelligent use of resources on school premises: recycling and separation of trash, harvesting rainwater, economizing on the use of electricity and so forth.
  7. Participation in Tu Bishvat tree planting.
  8. Organization of a school project in arts and crafts using recycled materials or the implementation Zionist-environmental festival.
  9. Green action within the community and maintaining the local environment: at least one school project within the community or the family with an emphasis on the connection between Zionism and ecology, on social and community involvement and personal responsibility; undertaking maintenance of the schoolyard in an ecological and sustainable way, while promoting responsibility for the local environment among the schoolchildren.

Content Outline

The Open Classroom for Leadership Educational Program:

KKL-JNF will be giving educational material, and instructions for 14 sessions in the open classrooms to the schools participating in the project. Student council representatives guided by KKL-JNF instructors are to choose at least eight sessions from among them to be implemented in the course of the year.
The educational material will address the following topics:

  • Arts and crafts from recycled materials. Photo: Yoav Devir, KKL-JNF Photo Archive

    familiarity with the water situation in Israel and all over the world; familiarity with the work of KKL-JNF in constructing reservoirs and rehabilitating streams; performing water quality checks on water reserves in the vicinity; activities for saving water at home and in school.


  • From problem to product: familiarity with various environmental issues related to recycling and waste treatment.


  • Forest and afforestation: understanding the importance of trees and forests; studying the topic of carbon sequestration and understanding the importance of green lungs; familiarity with the concepts of an ecological footprint and of a carbon footprint.


  • KKL-JNF: familiarity with the history of KKL-JNF as part of the Zionist enterprise and with its present fields of activity.


  • Tu Bishvat celebration: festive ceremony; planting and activities in the schoolyard.


  • Planting a tree for Tu Bishvat in Shokeida. Photo: KKL-JNF Photo Archive

    Homeland – Independence Day:
    interactive game for familiarity with prominent people in the history of Zionism, and with the history of the establishment of the State of Israel.



  • Volunteering: familiarity with the needs of forests and the ways to rehabilitate and maintain them.


  • Fire prevention: rules for behavior in forests and the importance of following them; forestry principles and rules for rehabilitating forests after wildfires.


  • Fun days on various topics: with the KKL-JNF activity mobile.