A pilot program to develop a unique model of science-oriented school was launched in 2008/9 at the Ye'elim Elementary School in Eilat. The program, which offers 8-10 weekly hours of science studies to all 300 pupils of the school, operates within the Madarom Project – a joint initiative of the Rashi Foundation and the Education Ministry – in cooperation with the municipality. And taking place in Eilat by the Red Sea, no wonder that the focus is on marine biology
The studies take place in the school's well-equipped, modern laboratory that was established as part of the program, but also out in the natural environment – through educational excursions in collaboration with the Underwater Observatory, the Eilat Bird Sanctuary and the Nature and Parks Authority. The Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences oversees the academic aspects of the program and its students serve as teaching assistants in the school.
Other learning environments available to Ye'elim pupils are the school greenhouse and the library, which has been upgraded into a resource center for research projects. The educational campus – comprising the school and the adjoining community center – is teeming with life in after-school hours as well, with pupils doing homework under the guidance of the university students and participating in extra-curricular activities in science and also music, dance and theater. Says the principal Orna Cohen: "we have embarked on a fascinating and exciting course that benefits the entire school community – pupils, parents and teachers alike."