In Democratic Education: A Beginning of a Story, Yaacov Hecht takes readers on a journey through personal discovery, the history of the Democratic School of Hadera, and the theories and practical application of democratic education.
As he recounts the founding and early years of the Democratic School of Hadera, Hecht weaves the stories of students, teachers, and parents, together with theories of education, development, and methods of teaching. Equipped with an unwavering commitment to, and unconditional respect for students, Hecht shares how he and others have faced the unseen challenges of starting a school outside of the standardized norm.
An essential book for any educator, A Beginning of a Story explores the place of democratic education in one man’s life, and its capacity to transform the world.
Yaacov Hecht is an internationally distinguished leader and visionary in democratic education, learning theory, and societal change. In 1987, Hecht founded the Democratic School in Hadera, Israel, the first school in the world to call itself democratic. Due to the school’s success, Hecht helped to establish a network of democratic schools all over Israel. In 1993, he convened the first International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC); an annual conference that continues to connect educators, schools, and organizations. Shortly thereafter, Hecht founded the Institute for Democratic Education in Israel (IDE), which focuses on making change in the public schools system through democratic education principals. Within IDE, Hecht created an academic faculty for DE teachers. He served as the organization’s chairman from its beginning in 1995 until 2010. In 2005, “The Marker”—Israel’s largest economic magazine—named Hecht one of the 10 most influential people in the social and educational areas in Israel.
Most recently, in 2010, Hecht co-founded “Education Cities-the Art of Collaborations,” an organization which focuses on turning educational systems into a central growth instrument for the cities in which they exist. Hecht continues to be a sought after speaker and consultant, and plays an essential role in the movement for democratic education in Israel and around the world.
[quote]Democratic Education: A Beginning of a Story describes a fascinating personal journey and recounts the history of the foundation of the Democratic School of Hadera, which has successfully implemented a fascinating and important pedagogical experiment: How to convert the authoritative school into a democratic community, where the students have equal rights. Anyone with interest in education should read this fabulous book, about a unique school which has justly gained a worldwide reputation. –Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, Former Israeli Minister of Education[/quote]
[quote]Yaacov Hecht is the father of democratic education in Israel. From his school of thought emerged the democratic schools, the personal education programs and significant amount of the educational communities. Hecht puts in the center the attentiveness of the child and to his various abilities and needs. In the schools which are influenced by his ideas, teachers and students alike take responsibility for themselves and for their shared work, and create an involved learning community. The Ministry of Education sees in Yaacov Hecht's educational path a model worthy of studying and implementing throughout the education system. –Prof. Yuli Tamr, Former Israeli Minister of Education[/quote]
[quote]Yaacov Hecht wrote an important book, which expands the concept of education far beyond the schools' boundaries. He demonstrates how education can transform whole communities, and how the living standards of the 21st century enable all, young as old, to adopt the 'Life Long Learning' outlook. –Prof. Daniel Greenberg, Founder of Sudbury Valley School, U.S.A.[/quote]
[quote]Yaacov thoroughly understands what freedom is for children. This understanding enables him to define a free framework with clear rules and boundaries. His approach to the field of education and to child raising is free, open and grounded. This is a rare approach. I am honored that Yaacov drew his inspiration from my father, A.S. Neill, and from Summerhill School, when he founded the Democratic School of Hadera. –Zoe Neill Readhead, Principal of Summerhill School, England[/quote]