The Judaic Studies program at The Hebrew Academy fosters excitement, love and security in the child’s identity as a Jew. It provides for the required skills, understanding and knowledge of how and why to live as a productive Jewish citizen in our society.
In order to strive towards these objectives, the curriculum is designed with specifications tailored and individualized for The Hebrew Academy students. The detailed comprehensive curriculum is revised and updated each year to meet current needs, the advancement and growth of individual classes, and the unique strengths of its teachers.
The following represents a summary outline of the Judaic Studies curricula for grade 3.
Chumash in third grade covers the stories of Yitzchok's sons, Yaakov and Esauv in Parshas Toldot, the establishment of the Twelve Tribes through Yaakov in VaYeitzei, and the dramatic encounter of Yaakov and his brother Esauv in Parshas VaYishlach. Students in third grade are aware of the stories from Parsha review in previous years. Emphasis will be placed on comprehension, translation and insights. Students will learn to read and understand passages on their own with occasional help from their teacher.
Rashi commentary is officially introduced in third grade. This year they will learn how to read rashi script, and study selected Rashi passages. A greater appreciation and understanding of the Chumash will be achieved through the study of Rashi.
Hebrew Language Arts in the third grade builds on the foundations previously set. The informal methods of learning a language such as “immersion:” or ”Ulpan” will be continued. Students will be encouraged to speak in Hebrew in the classroom.
Formal language instruction will be increased. Grammar, sentence structure and correct usage will be taught through charts and analyses, and practiced through a multitude of workbook exercises and teacher prepared materials selected and designed for the particular class. Reading fluency and comprehension, writing and composition, vocabulary, and spelling will be further emphasized and advanced.
Hebrew language will be studied with an emphasis on comprehension (oral and written) and conversation. Students will read and understand simple stories form the HaMikra-ah Sheli text (Yonai). Grammar and usage will be taught and reinforced through the Yesodot HaLashon text (Yonai). Teacher selected and created materials will supplement these texts. Oral and written practice will take place in class and through homework assignments, thus ensuring that students internalize the grammatical principles and vocabulary they have been taught. Hebrew will be taught as a modern, living language with connections made to the biblical Hebrew of our Chumash study.
The weekly Torah Portion will be introduced each week on Monday. Students will learn the name of the Parsha and its major themes. The third grade students will be part of the school “Parsha program”. Students will be responsible for a certain number of questions each week for which they will be tested. An opportunity to be listed on the Parsha Honor Roll accompanies each quiz. Through the Parsha Program each student will develop a foundation of knowledge of each Parsha, which will be reviewed and added to each subsequent year.
In third grade, children will become aware and familiar with formal congregational services. They will learn the chants as they are conducted in the Synagogue. This is done in order to give the opportunity to our students to lead the services in their own synagogues.
The students will learn the structure of the Siddur, how the services are grouped and how a selection of prayers constitute a particular service; which recitation is central to the service and which may be considered peripheral.
In addition to the “Geography of the Siddur” as described in the preceding paragraph and the proper chants, emphasis will be placed on translation, such as regular blessings, the first paragraph of the Shema and a few paragraphs n the Shmoneh Esray. Other prayers will be taught by themes, such as the morning Torah blessings, the Shmoneh Esray as a whole and the Birkat Hamazon. Children will also learn the names and locations of a variety of prayers and when they are recited. An objective in the latter area is to be able to find the place in the Siddur without being told the page.
Oral reading practice to ensure proper reading fluency will be part of each class session as well as part of nightly homework. As prayers from our Siddur are added to our daily T’fillah they will be practiced and discussed in the class. Students will gain an appreciation for T’fillah. They will understand that our prayers are directed to Hashem and that in addition to request; our prayers include recitations and expressions of gratitude.
As previously learned traditions and practices will be reviewed in third grade, some will be studied in greater depth and new ideas, customs and concepts will be introduced. Knowledge of the holidays and routine Jewish customs and traditions will be reinforced. In addition, students will learn that sacred to the Jewish faith are its values, such as caring for and helping one another, sensitivity towards others, respect for parents and elders, and the importance of sharing our blessings with those in need.
Third graders will learn to identify Jewish objects in the synagogue and home. They will learn how and why many of them are used.
The Havdalah service (a prayer recited on Saturday night which formally separates the weekday form the Shabbat) is already being taught. The children will learn the proper chant and customs accompanying the service. Upon demonstrating fluency, each child will receive a Havdalah candle for home use.
For each holiday, students will learn why we celebrate the holiday and how we celebrate the holiday. The prayers associated with each holiday will be practiced in class and recited in our daily T’fillah. The story, important personalities and foods associated with each holiday will be reviewed and discussed in class. Students will gain an appreciation for our holidays and an understanding of the Jewish calendar and the cycle of the Jewish year.