Basis (Grades 3 & 4)
Grade 3 focuses on the concept of Kedushah, Holiness. Utilizing the CHAI Level 3 curriculum, students refine their own understanding and definition of Kedushah and apply that understanding to how ritual objects, symbols, prayer, and our behaviors can make moments and places special, holy, and closer to God. In the G’milut Chasadim curriculum, students grapple with how to balance the needs of others with their own needs and discover how G’milut Chasadim makes our world more Kadosh (Holy). When learning about chagim (holidays), Grade 3 uncovers the uniqueness of the cycles of Jewish time, focusing on chagim as unique moments of sacred time and space. During Grade 3, students further develop their Hebrew skills, learning how to decode simple and compound syllables, learning how to decode basic Shabbat brachot (blessings), and encountering the Sh’ma, not only a piece of Jewish text to decode, but as the primary declaration of faith of the Jewish people.To support their learning, students participate in T’filah (Prayer), Amanut (Art) and Kehillah (Community Time) on Sundays, and are given opportunities to lead T’filah (Prayer) during the week.
Grade 4 continues students’ exploration of their individual place within their immediate classroom community, our synagogue community and the larger Jewish community. Utilizing the CHAI Level 4 G’milut Chasadim curriculum, students consider issues such as how we can make peace between our friends, how we can accept others’ differences and the effects of LaShon Ha’Ra (gossip) from a Jewish perspective. Students also explore the Jewish teaching, “It’s not upon you to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it” (Pirke Avot 2:21). In exploring this quote, students discover stories from Jewish history and tradition that are examples for us of how people and groups faced challenges that they could never overcome completely, or tackle by themselves, but that they nevertheless attempted to solve. When celebrating chagim (holidays) together, Grade 4 students seek to identify moments within our chagim that speak to the Pirke Avot quote, focusing on how observing our chagim make us more responsible individuals. Grade 4 also begins to examine the structure of Jewish prayer and the Shabbat morning service. In their Hebrew curriculum, students encounter the Barchu, Yotzer Or, V’ahavta, Mi Chamocha and the Friday evening Kiddush. The Grade 4 Hebrew curriculum strives to provide students with the opportunity to examine these prayers closely, both decoding and chanting, as well as understand the deeper meaning of the prayers and how they relate to our lives. To support their learning, students participate in T’filah (Prayer), Amanut (Art) and Kehillah (Community Time) on Sundays, and are given opportunities to lead T’filah (Prayer) during the week.
We consider T’filah to be an integral part of our curriculum and we use this time to reinforce the idea that we are a Kehillah Kedoshah (Holy Community), allow students to explore their understanding of God and celebrate holidays and Holy Days through song. T’filah for students in Grades K-2 introduces them to the basic prayers in our service: Modeh Ani, Barchu, Shema, V’ahavtah, Mi Chamocha and the Amidah (Avot v’Imahot). Age appropriate songs are incorporated into the service, which largely remains the same from week to week, to help build a comfort level and familiarity. T’filah for Grades 3-6 on Sunday mornings expands on the basic service, adding Yotzer Or, the G’vurot and the Shabbat morning Kedusah. We chose the Shabbat morning Kedushah to help familiarize our students with the parts of the Amidah that they are most likely to hear. This provides for a fantastic teaching moment, which is discussed during Midweek T’filah. During this time, students learn about the structure of the service, the difference between weekday and Shabbat services, and have the opportunity to help lead prayers.
Parent-Child Hebrew is another option for our families seeking to engage in learning together. Parent-Child Hebrew replaces Midweek Hebrew and takes place on Sunday mornings, following the child’s Judaic class. Parent-Child Hebrew is a combined class with students in Grades 3-6 learning together with their parents. The curriculum rotates each year, allowing all students to encounter all of the Shabbat morning prayers by the time they have graduated from the program in Grade 6. Due to the mixed ages, learning in Parent-Child Hebrew is a collaborative initiative. Children and parents of different decoding abilities help one another in small group and chevrutah activities, overseen by the teacher. The curriculum is a mix of decoding work and spiritual exploration, helping the children and their parents work together to cultivate a more intimate connection to Jewish prayer.
K’riat B’Yachad (Reading Together) TEE offers complimentary Hebrew support to any Grade 3 through 6 student, if recommended by their teacher, through our special supportive program called K’riat B’Yachad, Reading Together. Students will receive up to eight individual sessions with a private tutor. The classes will take place on a scheduled basis worked out with tutor and family. For more information, please contact Kate Milgrom.
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