The Anne Frank Haven in an Israeli Kibbutz

By Dror, Yuval | Adolescence, Fall 1995 | Go to article overview

The Anne Frank Haven in an Israeli Kibbutz


Dror, Yuval, Adolescence


INTRODUCTION

The Anne Frank Haven, founded in 1956 in Kibbutz Sasa, Israel, has a unique educational program for coping with multicultural and integration problems. The program is a joint educational project of kibbutz educators and Youth Aliyah - the world Jewish and Israeli organization that cares for children and youth who have to be educated in residential schools. The Haven is a regional junior and senior high school in the north of Israel, with its activities based on the complete integration of urban children of low SES and a different cultural background with children from three kibbutzim - Sasa, Yiron, and Bar-am (Kibbutz Yiron became a partner in 1976 and Bar-am in 1989). The program is holistic, within the kibbutz community. Many graduates from the city have joined the kibbutzim, mainly in Sasa, and almost all of them are more successful and better educated than the parallel city population not educated in the kibbutz.

The Anne Frank Haven has been the subject of much research into moral development. Kohlberg himself, and some of his colleagues and doctoral students studied the Haven from 1969 to the end of the seventies, including their findings in their final work on the stages of moral development. They and other scholars wrote about the kibbutz as a model for the "Just Community" approach in the eighties. This can be briefly defined as secondary school moral education, unique not only in matters of school governance - "a little republic governed democratically, with full student participation and with justice . . . a living matter" (Kohlberg, 1970, pp. 82-83) but also from Kohlberg's focus on individual moral development and his educational emphasis on Socratic moral dialogue and moral dilemma discussions (Power, 1988, pp. 195-196).

In the early nineties, additional research by an Israeli group evaluated the success of the program and its rationale, taking into consideration all the educational factors in the Haven and in the three kibbutzim around it. This article does not summarize the extensive research on the Kohlbergian moral development theory or restate the main findings of studies of just communities worldwide. Instead, the focus is on the unique contribution of the kibbutz to Kohlbergian research and practice. At the same time it is suggested here that community education is a new approach to moral education, based on the recent research carried out in the same kibbutz educational system at Sasa. The Israeli kibbutz is a very useful laboratory for educational and social studies since its very special features makes it a kind of ideal type. Therefore, all findings are discussed with regard to their implications for non-kibbutz or noncommunal societies in general.

The structure of the article follows its two main aims: The section immediately following describes the Sasa moral development studies of Kohlberg's group, and the next evaluates their contribution to the just community approach as described in the Kohlbergian literature. Point by point, their significance for moral education outside the kibbutz will be discussed. Thus the article updates the picture of the Kohlbergian moral-developmental research at the kibbutz, including all relevant references and evaluations of the Haven as a part of the just community approach. The last section describes the suggested new community direction for research and practice in the moral education field in general, following the Anne Frank Haven example, complementing the Kohlbergian approach, but not replacing it. It will show that the just community depends on those surrounding it - the educational, the local, the regional and the national.

Moral Development Studies in the Anne Frank Haven, 1969-1987

The initial research in the Anne Frank Haven was carried out by Professor Martin Wolins (1969, 1971), of the University of California, Berkeley. Wolins and Meir Gottesman from Israel, edited Group Care: An Israeli Approach published in 1971 following the 1969 international seminar in Jerusalem on Youth Aliyah, of which the Haven is part. …

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