Calendars by class level
Judaica and Hebrew Curriculum
Religious School Curriculum and Developmental Stages
Utilizing a spiral curriculum, subject content is consistently constructed from grade level to grade level to reflect the developmentally appropriate needs of students as they grow.
Pre-K/Kindergarten: (Active and purposeful/ emerging wonder about life and death/ has a sense of God’s love and care through attention of loving and caring adults)
The curriculum for our four and five year olds includes basic Jewish concepts, practices and experiences. The senses help guide our students in their earliest exposure to their religious education by listening to stories and music, singing songs, creating art and tasting traditional Jewish foods. Hands-on activities provide primary exposure to Shabbat and the Jewish holidays, as well as the concepts of mitzvot and Jewish values. Children become familiar with the important symbols of a synagogue and are introduced to elementary concepts about God. Music and Library are a part of the weekly curriculum.
1st Grade: (Widening sense of world beyond home/little concept of time and space/eager to learn/has questions about God)
The first graders focus on “The Jewish Home”, learning about the Jewish family, and exploring how holidays are celebrated through varying family traditions. Bible stories are interactively explored, and the concepts of tzedakah, mitzvot and tikkun olam are introduced. Students begin to learn the letters of the Hebrew Aleph Bet, including the name of the letter and the sound each makes. Music and Library are a part of the weekly curriculum.
2nd Grade: (Richly imaginative/more introspective/sensitive to adult approval/emerging feel for prayer)
Our second graders begin to investigate the ways in which they can accomplish gemilut chasadim (acts of loving kindness) in the classroom, at home and within the community at large. Holidays are addressed on a slightly deeper communal level, and students learn about the synagogue, Jewish symbols and ritual items. They continue learning and reviewing the letters of the Aleph Bet, and are exposed to primary Hebrew vocabulary. Music and Library are a part of the weekly curriculum.
3rd Grade: (Time and space take on meaning/likes groups, but upholds rules/can understand personal relationship to God as connected to caring for others)
How is the Torah my story and how does it connect me to my people’s story? Addressing the significance of Jewish identity, third graders connect how we can use the lessons in the Torah to live better and more fulfilling lives. Students become comfortable reading Hebrew letters and vowels. As they begin to blend letters into short words, they are introduced to the reading and recitation of basic prayers. Music and Library are a part of the weekly curriculum.
4th Grade: (Fair Play and individual rights are crucial/teacher important as leader and opinion maker/moral development can be guided by lessons from the Bible)
In the fourth grade, students focus on the themes of Jewish peoplehood, holiness and behavior as they relate to questions of Jewish identity. Our love and connection to the land of Israel is highlighted, as well as theology and discussion regarding different ways to think about God. Students explore the deeper cultural and historical meaning of holiday. They continue to develop the mastery of Hebrew reading and engage in activities to build text skills. Instruction and prayer interpretation focus on the Shema, Food B’rachot, V’Ahavta, Ma’ariv Aravim and Yotzer Or.
5th Grade: (Sense of time has evolved enough for firmly rooted study of history/needs reinforcement of rules for living in society/can have deep religious feelings)
The core fifth grade Judaica curriculum focuses on Jewish Life Cycle, calendar, covenant and the holiness of time. From rituals and traditions regarding birth, brit milah, baby naming, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, marriage and death, students participate in experientially driven activities in order to highlight the concept that rules and customs regarding life cycle events exist to help us navigate our way through life’s many stressful and complicated choices. Students and their families prepare to begin the process of becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah, concentrating on prayers including the Avot v’Imahot, G’vurot, K’dushah, V’shamru and Mi Chamocha.
6th Grade: (Growing ability for abstract thinking/critical of adults/wants to figure things out for him/herself in ethical and religious matters)
The sixth grade Judaic curriculum focuses on Jewish history, from ancient times through the present day. Students are presented with Jewish American History as well, including the American Jewish immigration experience. Students begin to take part in a curriculum linking their education to the upcoming process of becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah; the Hebrew curriculum concentrates on the Torah service and the concluding prayers. 6th Graders also participate in the Kehillah Partnership Program.
7th Grade: (Traits developing that will lead into maturity/enjoys responsibility that gives a sense of achievement/beginning of search for philosophy of life)
Our seventh graders have a schedule that allows them time for exposure to our TASTE (Temple Avodat Shalom Teen Experience) program. This will enhance their peer-to-peer socialization and allow them the opportunity to choose elective classes that are of interest to them. Students are engaged in spirited discussions and creative activities regarding Parashat Hashavua (weekly Torah Portion) while beginning Bar/Bat Mitzvah training. The Judaic curriculum focuses on the Holocaust (including an introduction to the history of anti-Semitism and fighting against genocide or racism wherever it appears in our world today), and the history of the modern State of Israel.