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Class Descriptions and Goals Kindergarten-7th grade classes for 2020-2021 (5781)

All Kindergarten-7th grade classes begin together for Tefila as one community

Gateway Membership

Full temple membership is included for families whose oldest child is enrolled in 2nd grade or below. For all families whose oldest child is enrolled in our Early Childhood Center and/or Religious School through 2nd grade, full membership will be free and included. Families with children under 5 years old and not enrolled in ECC – Annual Membership Dues are $1,560. Once your oldest child reaches 3rd grade, membership dues, building fund & security fees will apply. For questions about our Gateway Membership Program and other opportunities for our young families, please contact: Alli West, Executive Director


Kindergarten Connection:

(Monthly, dates to follow) Sunday 9:15am-11am

This monthly program is custom tailored to engage our youngest learners in fun and meaningful experiences that will spark a passion for Jewish learning. The goal of Kindergarten Connection is to connect young families and their children to our temple community and create a pathway to Jewish teachings and traditions through storytelling, art, song and play. Our Kindergarten classroom provides a warm and welcoming environment to explore new ideas and create lasting connections to Judaism inside and outside of our temple walls. New this year is our beginning Hebrew curriculum specifically designed for our youngest learners.

Kindergarten Connection meets on Sunday once per month and is FREE and open to the community.

1st Grade/2nd Grade Combo Classes

Sunday 9:15 am-11am or
Monday 4:15pm-6pm

Students in our first and second grade combination 2-year program continue to form the foundation of their Jewish education by exploring “Jewish building blocks”. One of the goals of these early years is to provide a comprehensive Hebrew program which allows learners to feel comfortable as they progress through their Hebrew studies and prayers. In addition, our curriculum teaches stories from the Torah, introduces rituals of the holidays and acquaints our learners with Israel. Our emphasis is on interactive, hands-on and project-based learning. Taking part in Jewish traditions while in class contributes to the bedrock of our students’ young Jewish identities. At Temple Shaaray Tefila, we believe in learning by doing! For instance, becoming the characters and acting out the story of Purim, is more meaningful and memorable than simply reading about it! Each class begins with tefila in the sanctuary with the entire school community, thereby unveiling to them, prayers for Shabbat and B’nai Mitzvah. This year we will be introducing a more structured, comprehensive aleph-bet curriculum. Your child will have an opportunity to “get a jump” on Hebrew learning! We have structured a 2-year rotating curriculum so that all projects and lessons are unique and fresh.

3rd Grade

Sunday 9:15am-11am or
Monday 4:15pm-6pm

During this year, Hebrew studies, the early Books of the Torah, holiday traditions and symbols are our main focal points. Our studies surround bible stories and the lessons and values they teach. One of our goals is for our learners to begin to understand how Torah’s moral and ethical themes may help guide them in their interactions with others. Each class begins with tefila in the sanctuary with the entire school community, thereby unveiling to them, prayers for Shabbat and B’nai Mitzvah. This is the year that Hebrew reading really begins to take shape. Children in 3rd grade are so excited when they begin to recognize Hebrew words such as Shabbat, mezzuzah and challah! By the end of this year, they will have learned the entire aleph-bet and will be able to read basic Hebrew words.

4th grade

Sunday 9:15am-11am or
Monday 4:15pm-6pm

Students in 4th grade focus their studies on both Hebrew and Judaica. The Judaica curriculum provides students with opportunities to learn about Israel, holidays and the Torah. In each of these content areas, our goal is for students to look at Judaism and make meaningful connections about how it relates to their lives. Through projects, discussions, debates, and games, the students’ learning truly comes to life. Our Hebrew curriculum strives to prepare students to be active and participating Jews throughout their lives. After a thorough review so of the alphabet and vowels, they will begin to work on Hebrew through prayer so that they develop their reading fluency along with their familiarity of various blessings and short prayers.

5th grade

Sunday 9:15am-11am or
Monday 4:15pm-6pm

In our 5th grade program, student learning is focused on Jewish values and the Jewish lifecycle. From birth, through childhood, adolescence and adulthood the Jewish people have unique traditions. Our students will study these rituals through interactive projects and experiences. Our goals include the idea that our learners begin to see themselves in the chain of Jewish life and tradition as they explore some of what makes us unique as a people. By focusing on the everyday relationships and decisions that are important to our students, we seek to teach how Judaism and Jewish values can help inform their lives. Students expand their knowledge of Jewish texts by applying lessons from Torah and other rabbinic commentaries like the Mishna and the Talmud to their own life situations. Their Hebrew learning picks up right where it ended in the previous grade as students continue the journey of learning Hebrew through prayer.

6th grade

Sunday 9:15am-11am or
Monday 4:15pm-6pm

Students in 6th grade are at an interesting point in their young lives: trying to better understand their own identities, working out the complexities of their relationships with others, figuring out how they fit into this world, determining how to react to the challenges they face. The 6th grade curriculum allows students the opportunity to learn that Jews have always struggled with the same questions! Through engaging in dynamic study of the weekly Torah portion, students will explore our foundational sacred text in new and more mature ways. As they discover the moral and ethical lessons of each Torah portion, they will come to understand more about our Jewish heritage and more about themselves. In the Hebrew curriculum, 6th graders add to their base of prayer knowledge and become more comfortable reading the prayers and understanding their meaning. Our goal is to have confident Hebrew readers who are excited to apply their skills when preparing to become Bar and Bat Mitzvah. The end of the year culminates with a student led service and showcase to which parents are invited! It is our hope that this 6th grade year is not just a completion of several years of Jewish study, but the doorway to lifelong Jewish learning and experiences.

7th Grade

Sunday 9:15am-11am or
Monday 4:15pm-6pm

As the most senior of our students in our K-7 grade program these B’nai Mitzvah students will help to act as mentors for our younger students. Our 7th grade program is designed as a bridge between childhood Religious School experience and adult Jewish learning. The curriculum is composed of many aspects of the Bar and Bat Mitzvah process, including the nuts and bolts of prayer and it will also tackle the complexities of the B’nai Mitzvah process. New this year, while your child is at Religious School, their B'nai Mitzvah training will be rolled right into their day!

During their time at the temple, these young adults will experience a series of relevant speakers and actively engage in the interactive electives related to exploring their Jewish identity, a lifelong process. Our Jewish learning process begins with ourselves to better understand who we are, what we think, and how we relate to those around us. At the end of the year, students should be able to articulate what it means to them to be Jewish, what role Judaism plays in their life and what they hope it will be in the future.

Chaverim Team

Our school philosophy is to be able to meet the needs of our learners in part by meeting them where they are and creating a safe learning environment. Educating our children in today’s world is not a one size fits all- especially at Temple Shaaray Tefila.

We are very excited to offer a learning experience for those learners who have learning and/or emotional difficulties which make participating in a traditional Religious School classroom difficult. This program is called Chaverim Team. Each session will begin with Tefila (prayer services) in the sanctuary with the other Religious School classes. Our goal is to create a program that meets the needs of each individual learner and their families. At times your child may work individually and at other times in small groups. Our goal is to create a connection to Temple Shaaray Tefila and a Jewish identity in a safe, nurturing environment.

Prior approval from the director and submission of any IEP documentation, proof of enrollment in a language based learning school (or other special needs program) or other relevant testing will need to be submitted. Please contact Liz Marlowe, Education Director, for any further information.

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