Most students are ready for real “grown-up” skills such as pre-reading, writing, and using math manipulatives to solve problems. All of the following skills are taught in away that meets the individual needs of each child. This may include adaptation to various learning styles. Staff members evaluate the progress of each child through formal methods at various points during the year, and informally on a daily basis. The curriculum and activities are adapted to meet the needs of each child. In addition, children are tested at year’s end using the Metropolitan Test to further assess their newly acquired skills.
Religion and Hebrew Language
We aim to integrate knowledge and general developmental skills into one combined curriculum. It is our aim for children to view their "Yiddishkeit" as a "gestalt", not merely as a Shabbat activity.
The Judaic curriculum for kindergarten proposes two basic goals:
- Immersion into Torah values and practices.
- Concentration on oral Hebrew language, both active and passive.
Reading readiness in Hebrew will include the presence of Hebrew words around the room, as well as Hebrew Language games and puzzles. Children will be involved with numerous manipulative materials aimed at recognition of the Aleph-Bet and basic phonics. With extensive use of the flannel board and the "Shalom, Shalom Aleph" song, the children are soon able to recognize the letters of the Aleph-Bet, as well as the sound, those letters make. Children are taught to read and write their Hebrew names. By year’s end, the kindergarten students are able to read Hebrew words and are working towards fluency. They receive a Siddur (prayer book) at their graduation ceremony.
Tefillah - Prayers
In accordance with our commitment to Torah, we shall emphasize traditional davening. The tefillot to be recited will increase through the year as the children learn and develop their understanding of these. Projects will be included during the year which will focus on particular prayers.
It is our aim for each child to have positive feelings toward prayer. We want children to feel comfortable in Tefillah so that they may use prayer as a means of self expression in dealing with fear, sickness, happiness, joy and thanksgiving.
Torah and Values
The Hebrew Academy hopes to instill in our students a pride and love of Torah. Torah and its values are discussed and included in various art and dramatic play activities. Parashat Hashavua is discussed weekly, and lessons are brought forth from which the children can apply to their daily lives.
- Tzedaka — the children are encouraged to give even a penny a day to charity. This fosters an acknowledgment and empathy to less fortunate people.
- Utilization of appropriate classroom activities to say in prayer for the sick; get well cards, Refuah Shelaima song, phone calls home...
- Hachnosat Orchim — inviting guests to the classroom.
- Responsibility towards pets — kindness to animals; Hashem’s creatures.
- Respect for all books; especially of importance of learning to Jews: Siddur, Chumash ...
- Derech Eretz — proper conduct; appropriate language and behavior as a religious obligation.
- Discussion of relationships within a family and mutual obligation.
- Recognition of Jews around the world including Eretz Yisrael, Iran and others.
- Concept of Mitzvot and Midot as an active, ongoing, meaningful part of our daily lives.
Language Arts and Whole Language
Reading Readiness Skills
- Auditory discrimination and Visual discrimination.
- Auditory memory and Visual memory.
- Ability to distinguish sounds.
- Ability to recall material presented orally.
- Ability to rhyme.
- Discrimination of letters, words, objects, phrases, consonants, and vowel sounds.
- Letter recognition.
- Consonant blends.
- Sight words.
- Journal Writing using inventive spelling.
Developing Use of Speech and Language
- Story-telling (dictating stories to the teacher or telling stories to the class).
- Creative Dramatics.
Developing Literary Awareness and Appreciation
- Experience with prose recitation and creation.
- Library hour.
- Exposure to real literature by well-known authors.
- Identifying and writing numbers 1-21.
- Counting in sequence numbers 1-21.
- Number names around us (address, telephone number, howmany children in the class, etc.).
- Sets 0-10.
- Geometric shapes - identify and describe circle, square,triangle, rectangle, sphere, cylinder.
- Fractions - halves.
- Simple graphs.
- Elementary problem solving.
- Making comparisons (longer, shorter, fewer, more, etc. basic mathematic terminology).
- Concepts of more than, less than, equal to.
Students are given many opportunities to experiment with manipulative materials and games as part of the regular class program.
Music and Movement
Children are given opportunities to use musical instruments to experiment with and to express themselves. Teachers offer movement activities and finger plays for the children. In addition, they are exposed to classical music as well as traditional Jewish music.
A specialty teacher comes in once a week for a creative movement classes. Children sing, dance, and use musical instruments in creative manners. In addition, children are taught to read music notes and play on glockenspiels (a musical instrument similar to a xylophone).
A professional gym teacher visits twice weekly to conduct the children in exciting exercises. Students play non-competitive sports, and practice balancing activities. Additionally, children have the opportunity to use our elaborate outdoor play equipment on a daily basis. During inclement weather, the auditorium is utilized.
Science experiments and themes are connected with current seasons, holidays, and social studies units. Our goals are as follows:
- What is alive -- animals, plants.
- Discovery through senses; seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching.
- Discovery with a magnifying glass.
- Seeds and fruits -- planting.
- Heat changes food -- cooking and baking.
- Light and dark.
- Use of the magnet.
- Weather; seasons, thermometer.
- Our environment -- pollution, recycling
- Health and nutrition.
- The Solar System - The children learn about the Solar System andabout our planets.
The aim of the social studies program is to develop individuality and self-respect as we relate to other people.
- Discussing special days together in school - Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, Lincoln'sBirthday, Washington's Birthday...
- Families - concept of extended family.
- People in other lands - similarities and differences in people.
- School - Places and people in our school, Rules, Safety Precautions...
- Eretz Yisrael Israel - A continuing study of the Land of Israel, our relationship to it, its geography, topography, food, climate, dress, etc.