Kindergarten - 1st grade
Our youngest students meet once a week on Sundays with nurturing and caring teachers, who create an enthusiastic learning experience. Hebrew language is introduced through games, songs, and movement. Jewish holidays are studied throughout the year, and each kindergarten student creates a “My Jewish Memory Book,” with pictures and memories for each holiday. By second grade, students recognize all of their Hebrew letters and begin pre-reading skills. T’fillah (mini-services) are experienced with a “buddy” from the 5th and 6th grades. Older buddies help younger buddies learn how to navigate the service in their siddurim (prayer books). Education in the classroom and beyond focuses on learning Shabbat and holiday rituals for a joyful and rich family experience.
Beginning in 2nd grade, students attend Religious School twice a week: Sunday morning 9 AM-noon and Wednesday afternoon 4:30-6:30 PM. Our primary school students engage in a spiral curriculum that encompasses Hebrew reading, prayer skills, Torah (Bible) study, Jewish Holidays, Jewish Culture, and Jewish History. As our students prepare for B’nai Mitzvah they learn to navigate and participate in Shabbat services.
Our learning goals for each student include intellectual, emotional, and spiritual engagement with prayer literacy through discussions, art, music, and chanting repetition. Each grade is assigned prayers to learn as a class. In addition to prayer, students continue their understanding of the Hebrew language with teacher guidance and additional resources. During our units on Israel geography, history, and culture, students will gain exposure to specific Hebrew vocabulary related to these subjects. Students have the opportunity to engage with technology by using Chromebooks for certain lessons.
- Second graders are the primary caretakers of our “Jewish Holidays Garden,” and will bring home some of the bounty of their garden activities – parsley for Passover, flowers for Shabbat, and other fresh treats.
- Third graders are piloting our “Hebrew in Harmony” curriculum and will use personal digital devices (provided by CBE for those without access to a device from home) to learn Hebrew prayers through video and audio music.
- Fourth graders explore stories from the Tanakh, which includes engaging in imaginative discussions about the books that detail Am Yisrael’s (the “Nation of Israel”) journey after the initial 5 books of Moses.
- Fifth and sixth graders enjoy gaining experience with verbal reasoning (a taste of Talmudic discussion) and serve as “T’fillah buddies” for students in kindergarten and first grade.
7th grade is an intense year for both secular and Jewish studies. Students are juggling their everyday course work, religious school, extra-curricular activities, and B’nai Mitzvah studies.
Our 7th grade program provides “workshop” time for Hebrew, Torah, Haftarah, and Shabbat services prayer review. This is time set aside for students to study as a group rather than individually at home and also includes peer discussions about students’ assigned Torah portions. Through a Jewish lens, students will choose electives throughout the year, taught by a variety of teachers, which will include meaningful conversations about current events and exploration of relevant topics related to young teens. Our goal is to create a community of learners who will connect their Jewish values to their lives beyond the B’nai Mitzvah experience.
Additional Learning Experiences
The Religious School and Youth Department join together to host several B'Yachad programs for our Relgious School families to celebrate Shabbat or Havdalah. Each program is family oriented and full of fun rewarding experiences including Shabbat dinner, special participatory services, entertainment and informal activities.
One Sunday in the year, each grade meets to hold a unique program for parents and student together that we call Mifgash, which can be translated from the Hebrew as an encounter. Mifgash provides quality time for parents and students to interact Jewishly, through enjoyable hands-on activities and discussion: parent-student and parent-parent. Our goal is to build understanding that Judaism is not merely a set of laws about religious aspects of life, but a way of living and thinking that influences all aspects of life. We celebrate the fact that modern Jewish families are members of numerous communities (school, work, sports, etc.) and we seek to find connections between our Jewish and secular lives.
Caleb’s Challenge is CBE’s award-winning program in which the Rabbi meets with our 5th, 6th and 7th graders to summarize the weekly parsha (Torah portion). The Rabbi then asks a provocative, open-ended question to which the students respond with an “off-the-top-of their-head” written answer. A winner is selected from the written responses and that student is invited to read his or her answer during Shabbat morning services and also receives a gift certificate to the CBE Gift Shop.
While this experience typically involves writing, on occasion, students have the opportunity to respond with artwork—drawing, photography, even poetry. Students’ critical-thinking skills are enhanced during this experience since Caleb Challenge was introduced 15 years ago, and we expect to continue this tradition of expanding our students’ imagination. (See recent winning entries.)
Contact Ellie Klein, Religious School Director