Throughout the school year, we integrate the thematic unit of school family. Our goal is for kindergarten students to gain a strong sense of belonging to a learning community that is based on the values of mutual respect, kindness, caring, and responsibility. This community of learners is created as we learn about Jewish holidays, traditions, and values, and as we form habits of kindness and caring in our daily social interactions. Our project based learning environment promotes working together collaboratively to problem solve and enhance awareness of how we can make a difference in our school, our community, and the world. Community guides us as we learn, play, discover, and explore together.
The first grade year centers on the thematic unit of our “Interconnectedness” with our community and the world around us. This integrates most of the elements of the first grade curriculum and provides a meaningful context in which students develop their skills and learn the relevant content.
“Interconnectedness” is organized around the following essential questions:
• What is my role in the community?
• How do community members behave to develop a strong community?
• How do people in a community work together and depend on each other?
Students engage in active experiences allowing for investigation, problem solving and making connections that are accessible and relevant to this age group. First graders apply this knowledge to projects of varied modalities and content and skill areas. In Jewish Studies, there is an emphasis on the Jewish calendar, learning morning tefillot (prayers), and the weekly Torah portion as well as celebrating Jewish holidays. Students continue developing their Hebrew vocabulary and listening and speaking skills. They also begin the process of learning to read and write in Hebrew. First graders begin to make choices about friendships and practice treating everyone with kindness and respect.