KINDERGARTEN – SEVENTH GRADE

KINDERGARTEN

Our Kindergarten students spend their year learning about Shabbat and creating a box full of Shabbat ritual items such as candlesticks, kiddush cups and kippot. They also begin to learn about the Hebrew letters, using a variety of manipulatives and materials. 

By the end of the year, Kindergarten students who attend regularly should be able to:

  • Explain the importance of appreciating each other’s differences.
  • Describe when Shabbat is and what it celebrates.
  • Correctly identify candlesticks, kiddush cup, challah cover, kippot and tallit.
  • Summarize how they might celebrate Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Chanukah, Purim and Passover.
  • Correctly identify at least five letters in Hebrew.

FIRST GRADE

Our first grade students spend their year learning about twelve of the most popular stories in our Torah.  For each lesson, they will hear the story, discuss what values in the story can be applied to their life and do a project related to the story.  Additionally, students will spend the year creating their own Hebrew dictionary, using oral and visual associations to continue learning the letters. 

By the end of the year, first grade students who attend regularly should be able to:

  • Describe basic information about the following stories: Creation Story, Noah, Tower of Babel, Abraham and Sarah Welcome Guests, Jacob and Esau, Jacob’s Ladder, Joseph, Moses, Burning Bush, The Plagues, Crossing the Sea and The Ten Commandments.
  • Consider how the experiences in these stories apply to their own lives.
  • Correctly identify at least ten letters in Hebrew.

SECOND GRADE

Our second grade students spend their year learning about all aspects of Israel – geography, food, culture and the people who love there.  This curriculum is highly experiential and several of the classes involve stations for all second grade classes to participate in.  The year ends with a “trip” to Israel, where students learn about water conservation, snack in a Bedouin tent and create boats to carry items in and out of Haifa’s port.  In Hebrew, students begin to blend letters and vowels together and work on learning a handful of modern Hebrew words (door, pencil, etc.)

By the end of the year, second grade students who attend regularly should be able to:

  • Name at least three cities in Israel.
  • Draw an accurate Israeli flag.
  • Explain what happens at The Kotel/Wailing Wall and why the location is historically significant.
  • Evaluate the benefits and challenges of living on a kibbutz.
  • Name two popular Israeli foods.
  • Correctly identify at least half of the Hebrew letters and vowels.

THIRD – FIFTH GRADE OUTDOOR JEWISH EXPERIENCE

The Outdoor Jewish Experience (OJE) is an alternative option for 3rd-5th grade students. Students spend eight Sundays at Brandeis-Bardin Institute learning about a wide variety of Jewish topics.  Students also have the opportunity to participate in many of the unique activities camp offers including climbing the tower, working and learning in the garden, going on nature hikes, and many others. Judaism is infused throughout all of these activities to create a full day of fun and Jewish learning.

In OJE, students begin or continue our individualized Hebrew program. After passing the Golden Aleph Test (correctly identifying the names and sounds of all of the letters and the sounds of all of the vowels), they move at their own pace through the prayers, testing at each level to achieve their next dog tag. During this time, students work in mixed grade level groups, with other students at their same level.

By the end of the year, OJE students who attend regularly should be able to:

  • Describe some of their own beliefs about God.
  • Explain a Jewish text about nature.
  • Assess an important event in Jewish history.
  • Advance in Hebrew from where they started at the beginning of the year.*

* As our students move at their own pace through the program and because we have students who begin learning Hebrew for the first time in all grades, we do not set markers for what a child “must” learn by the end of a certain year. 

FOURTH GRADE (on-site)

Our fourth grade students spend their year learning about two major holidays, Hanukah and Passover.  Within each unit, students will learn about the holiday itself, some of the foods associated with the holiday and a way that holiday correlates to an issue of social justice in the world around us; Hanukah will emphasize caring for the elderly and Passover will focus on freedom. 

Beginning in fourth grade, students begin our individualized Hebrew program.  After passing the Golden Aleph Test (correctly identifying the names and sounds of all of the letters and the sounds of all of the vowels), they move at their own pace through the prayers, testing at each level to achieve their next dog tag.  During this time, students work in mixed grade level groups, with other students at their same level. 

By the end of the year, fourth grade students who attend regularly should be able to:

  • Recall the basic story of each holiday.
  • Generalize the lesson of the holidays.
  • Model a modern way to celebrate each holiday
  • Explain the why each social action project relates to the holiday.
  • Assess their own “Egypts” and how they can free themselves.
  • Advance in Hebrew from where they started at the beginning of the year.*

* As our students move at their own pace through the program and because we have students who begin learning Hebrew for the first time in all grades, we do not set markers for what a child “must” learn by the end of a certain year. 

FIFTH GRADE (on-site)

Our fifth grade students spend the year exploring the changing American Jewish Experience.  This curriculum will highlight the experiences of the last 350 years.  Students will use primary documents to shape an understanding of what life was like for immigrants and how things have changed in the time since then.  The curriculum will be divided into three sections: Introduction (pre-1880s), The Immigrant Experience (1880s-1930s) and Living in America (1930s-today). 

In fifth grade, students continue our individualized Hebrew program.  After passing the Golden Aleph Test (correctly identifying the names and sounds of all of the letters and the sounds of all of the vowels), they move at their own pace through the prayers, testing at each level to achieve their next dog tag.  During this time, students work in mixed grade level groups, with other students at their same level. 

By the end of the year, fifth grade students who attend regularly should be able to:

  • Consider the differences between being an American Jew and a Jewish American.
  • Give examples of things which might prompt someone to immigrate to another country.
  • Describe what it was like to come through Ellis Island.
  • Give examples of things that Jews needed to create a Jewish community, in different time periods of American history. 
  • Share at least two facts about the impact of Jews on the growing city of Los Angeles. 
  • Advance in Hebrew from where they started at the beginning of the year.* 

* As our students move at their own pace through the program and because we have students who begin learning Hebrew for the first time in all grades, we do not set markers for what a child “must” learn by the end of a certain year. 

SIXTH GRADE

Our sixth grade students spend the year studying the Jewish tradition of Torah study.  This curriculum will be team taught, with all of the students together, to replicate the beit midrash (house of study) experience.  Students will be learn about the tradition of text study and Judaism’s most well known commentators, write their own midrash and prepare to dissect their own Torah portion for their Bar or Bat Mitzvah.  This curriculum will give students an opportunity to go beyond the stories they have heard, instead asking them to use the story as a lens to discuss the content from a philosophical, literary and theological perspective.

In sixth grade, students continue our individualized Hebrew program.  After passing the Golden Aleph Test (correctly identifying the names and sounds of all of the letters and the sounds of all of the vowels), they move at their own pace through the prayers, testing at each level to achieve their next dog tag.  During this time, students work in mixed grade level groups, with other students at their same level. 

By the end of the year, sixth grade students who attend regularly should be able to:

  • Name a handful of Jewish commentators.
  • Possess the skills to discuss and evaluate the stories in the Torah, beyond retelling the story.
  • Advance in Hebrew from where they started at the beginning of the year.* 

* As our students move at their own pace through the program and because we have students who begin learning Hebrew for the first time in all grades, we do not set markers for what a child “must” learn by the end of a certain year. 

SEVENTH GRADE

Our seventh grade students spend the year sharing the communal experience of celebrating their Bar or Bat Mitzvah.  The curriculum focuses first on the history and ritual of Bar and Bat Mitzvah and then moves to the “commonplaces of Judaism” – that is, the things that a Jewish adult should be able to speak about.  (Prayer, God, Torah, Israel, Holocaust and major Holidays).  Additionally, as a group, seventh grade students participate in two tikkun olam (social action) projects each year.  Woven into many of the sessions is a mini lesson about one of the prayers they will lead during their Bar or Bat Mitzvah service (for example, when they learn about portrayals of God in the Torah, they will study the God language in Barchu and Shema).

Each week we give those students who recently had their Bar or Bat Mitzvah a chance to share with the group advice or suggestions they have, and to describe their Tikkun Olam project.  We then end each session by showering them with sweet (soft) candy to acknowledge their achievement. 

By the end of the year, seventh grade students who attend regularly should be able to:

  • Articulate at least three sentences about their beliefs on each of the following topics: Prayer, God, Torah, Israel and the Shoah.
  • Accurately describe what each of the following holidays celebrates: Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Purim, Passover, Shavout
  • Briefly explain the history of the Bar and Bat Mitzvah.

* As our students move at their own pace through the program and because we have students who begin learning Hebrew for the first time in all grades, we do not set markers for what a child “must” learn by the end of a certain year.