Lower School: Kindergarten – 2nd Grade
The theme of the kindergarten year is My Jewish Family. The curriculum addresses these essential questions: What is my Jewish family? How can I act in ways to be part of my Jewish family and to make my Jewish family proud of me? Throughout the year, students are introduced to their Torah ancestors and modern figures who are part of the greater Jewish family. This helps them understand themselves as part of the great chain of Jewish families that connect back throughout the ages. Using the Torah stories as their guide, students explore how our ancestors were guided by positive Jewish values. With each Torah story, students also learn a Jewish value. They practice this value through activities and play, and work to explore the value with each other, their teacher, and their families. We also focus on Jewish holidays and Shabbat. As children learn about holidays, they share how their own families celebrate these holidays, and learn about ways that others celebrate. All the families come together for experiences at CBE and in our homes. We hope that our Jewish Learning Through Living curriculum brings Jewish learning to life at home.
1st grade at Yachad focuses on learning about and exploring Jewish identity. Students examine Jewish kehillot (communities) both in the Torah and in their current lives. They also learn the similarities and differences of how Jews all around the world celebrate Jewish holidays.
In 2nd grade, the students begin the year by discussing what being Jewish means to them. There is emphasis on the importance of mitzvot (deeds) and the students are often asked what mitzvot they did throughout the previous week. They are introduced to the letters in the aleph-bet (Hebrew alphabet) and work throughout the year on their Hebrew reading and writing skills. They learn to differentiate between the letters that look alike, and are introduced to Hebrew vowels. In their Torah unit, students learn about the ritual of reading from the Torah, including the steps to a Torah service. In the second half of the year, they study the stories and people in the books of Genesis and Exodus.
Dual Language Track
We currently offer a Dual Language (English and Hebrew) class for children in K-3rd grade. This class will grow with our children and is designed for students who have gone through our Early Childhood Center’s dual language class or have some experience with Hebrew. Please contact us if you are interested in dual language.
Upper Elementary: 3rd – 5th Grade
Throughout the year, third grade students follow the Jewish calendar as they learn about the different holidays from Rosh Hashanah to Passover to Purim, as well as Shabbat and Havdalah. By taking a deeper look into the holidays’ meanings, traditions, and prayers, students are able to learn about each holiday before they occur encouraging their own families to partake in celebrating at home. Third graders also learns about Jewish lifecycle, such as Jewish weddings, where they learn about its meaning, traditions, and prayer. Once this is completed, the entire grade puts on a Mock Wedding for all their friends and family — a true highlight of the year.
4th grade is focused around the text of the Torah. They learn the foundational stories of the patriarchs and the matriarchs, slavery in Egypt through the exodus, through the end of the Five Books of Moses. The students read and act out the stories to better understand the characters. They also rewrite the stories in contemporary vocabulary, realizing the differences between ancient and modern times. The class is driven by projects and discussion of how the Torah can inform our lives today.
The focus of 5th grade is Jewish leadership and heroism with the goal that students will learn the importance of these themes in Jewish History and how they can become leaders and heroes in their own communities. They explore many topics through this lens, including mitzvot (deeds), biblical and modern Jewish figures, and the Jewish Diaspora. One of the many exciting projects 5th graders experience is a mock trial about Jacob and Esau. Students examine this biblical story and argue different perspectives. They wrap up the year with a ceremony in which the students are given the chumash (Torah book) they will use to prepare for their B’nei Mitzvah.
Middle School: 6th – 8th Grade
In 6th grade, we learn about Judaism in the 20th century. Students explore Jews around the world, learn about immigration and their family story and critically address specific questions: who am I as a Jew; how do I relate to the people and ideas in our history; what kind of Jewish adult do I want to be after my bat/bar mitzvah? We also learn about our Shabbat service and practice leading the community in Shabbat Tzeira, a 6th grade lead Shabbat service.
As students in the 7th grade become Bar and Bat Mitzvah, they are considered adults in the Jewish community and are expected to join in a long history of Jewish group study. Our 7th grade seminars encourage deep discourse between students, teachers, and clergy, which students pass on to the community at services on Saturday mornings. Students spend an hour each week on classes that focus on: Torah: What do I learn, Mitzvot: What do I do, Tzedakah: What do I give. They also have electives on such subjects as Rosh Chodesh, Jewish ethics, mussar, meditation, and menschlekeit.
The 8th grade class focuses on the modern State of Israel. Students work closely with clergy and other educators to discuss Israeli history as well as modern day challenges. Students travel together over the February break for a 10-day trip to Israel with American and Israeli educators. When they return, they continue to learn and discuss their connection to Israel.