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Kindergarten student's developmental level of learning requires an approach that merges multiple teaching styles. At Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy (Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy,) we have both teacher and student directed experiences with time for play and movement as well. Our curriculum focuses on maintaining students' curiosity about the world and confidence in their ability to learn. To foster each student's development, we emphasize language arts; speaking and listening skills; a sense of numbers and mathematical reasoning; scientific process skills and vocabulary associated with science; social studies with a focus on the individual as part of society; and visual and performing arts. Language Arts
Kindergarten students are just discovering the world of print. At SCHA, students are surrounded with print, literature, and activities encouraging phonemic awareness. They learn to become familiar with the alphabet and the sounds that each letter represents; and learn to separate words into syllables, blend sounds to make words, decode, and recognize sight words. In writing, the students learn to form letters properly using the Handwriting without Tears program. They keep journals in which they can draw and write many times a week.
In math, the concentration is on counting by 1's, 5's and 10's; and comparing patterning, measuring, shapes, both 2D and 3D; and beginning addition, subtraction, and sorting. Math is taught in a hands-on approach and workbooks are used to complete follow-up activities.
The kindergarten classroom is constantly filled with music; students sing and listen to music every day.
Dance and Yoga
Dance begins in kindergarten with a repertoire of Israeli dances, exposing students to Israeli music and culture while building kinesthetic awareness. Students develop their creativity through movement and refine their gross motor skills as they hop, skip, and jump. Yoga is a special time the students look forward to, as they stretch and breathe.
Telling children to be thoughtful and kind is not enough; we need to help them understand what these attributes sound and look like. Students learn and practice such skills as taking risks, sharing supplies, and trying again after making a mistake. Instilling a view of oneself as a student for whom learning and being a school friend is powerful, fun, and fulfilling is an essential element of every kindergarten activity.
Kindergarten students go to gym, computer, library, and science classes once a week.
The primary goal of the kindergarten Hebrew program is the development of listening and speaking skills through concrete experiences. Lessons are conducted entirely in Hebrew, and students are given time to process the language that they hear until they understand it and are ready to use it for their own expressive purposes. A Hebrew teacher gives lessons four days per week. Hebrew vocabulary is reinforced throughout the day as well. The topics of each Hebrew unit are drawn from students’ own life experiences, as well as from the themes of the kindergarten curriculum.
Students begin their exposure to Torah narrative by listening to the weekly Torah portion through interactive storytelling and the use of puppets. They identify lessons and mitzvot from the stories, and develop an understanding that Torah is meaningful to the Jewish people.
Students learn the Hebrew alphabet and vowels through games, art, song, and puppets. The goal is that they will be reading words by the end of kindergarten.
Morning routine begins with tefillot. Students develop competency in learning the words and basic meanings of prayers. Prayers taught in kindergarten include: Modeh Ani, Mah Tovu, Adon Olam, Shema, and Oseh Shalom.
Holidays and Shabbat
Students are introduced to the basic themes, symbols, and traditions of each holiday. Holiday units are interwoven with art. Students learn Hebrew words associated with the holidays and develop skills in reciting certain blessings. Songs, craft projects, and school-wide celebrations help bring the holidays to life.
Shabbat is celebrated every week in the classroom with candle-lighting, tzedakah (giving money to charity), Kiddush, and Hamotzi (prayers over grape juice and challah). Students learn the connection between Shabbat and the Creation story, and begin to understand the concept of a day of rest. The students join together on Friday afternoons for gatherings filled with stories, singing, and dancing, providing closure for the week that has passed.