We are a school proudly aligned with the Conservative Movement. We adopt the guiding principles of our Movement for our
school's curriculum and program. As such we provide learning and experiences that encourage: development of a personal relationship with God; centrality of Mitzvah and Torah Study; valuing and cherishing Jewish plurality and diversity, both within our school and the larger world around us; and identity with Jews in Israel and the world.
As a Conservative Day School, we teach, experience, and celebrate mitzvah. All of the mitzvot are both taught and observed
throughout our school program. Much of the Mitzvah curriculum is implicit in all phases of our school program. This applies
both to mitzvot we traditionally call “ritual” (mitzvot bein Adam l’Makom) and those we sometimes refer to as “ethical” (mitzvot bein Adam l’chavero). For example, all children give tzedakah each week. So too, Kashrut is strictly observed throughout the school. At the same time, we teach respect for teachers through an emphasis on proper behavior. Children observe the mitzvah of kavod ha Brit through recognition of the differences among our students and teachers.
While we recognize the wide range of observances among our families, the school remains committed to the observance of
mitzvot for our children and families.
Among the mitzvot learned in Fourth Grade are:
- • Lashon HaRa – The proper and respectful use of words
- • Shabbat – Candles
- • Kiddush & Challah
- • Bikur Cholim – Visiting the Sick
- • Food – Kashrut
- • Brachot
- • Tzedakah
- • Tefillah
Tefillah is seen as the central way we express our thoughts, needs, and wishes as Jewish people. Tefillah teaches us the central categories of Jewish values and helps us communicate with God. Because the school sees Hebrew as the language of the Jewish people, tefillah is always done in Hebrew. Boys and girls participate equally in all aspects of the school‟s curriculum and Jewish experiences.
We teach tefillah to help children learn both the matbayah tefillah (the way the tefillot are recited in the synagogue services) and the ideas and aspirations the tefillah encompasses.
Tefillah is a sequential curriculum. Each year builds on the tefillot learned in the previous school years. By the end of their learning in the Elementary School, the children are capable of leading almost all of the daily and Shabbat tefillot.
By the end of the Fourth Grade, the expectation is that our students will be familiar with the following tefillot: Modeh Ani; Mah Tovu; Yigdal; Reyshet Chochmah; Birchot haShachar; Baruch Sheamar; Ashrei; Haleluyah; Yishtabach; Barcho...Yotzer Or...Or Chadash; Shema v’ahavtah and v’yomer; Amidah – Avot, Gevurot, and Kedusha Brachot; Sim Shalom; Oseh Shalom; Torah Tzeva Lano Moshe; Birchot haTorah; V’zot HaTorah; Aleino; Ayn Keloheino; AdonOlam; Kiddush Shel Shabbat; Kabbalat Shabbat; Tefilot Mincha – Ashrei, Amidah, Aleino.
Through the weekly and monthly life of the school, the children see Shabbat and the Jewish holidays as special moments for Jewish celebration. Connections are made between the mitzvot of the Torah, our Jewish life in school, and our lives as Jews at home and in the wider world.
The Holiday curriculum is integrated with the Torah curriculum which will introduce students to rabbinic commentary, here with the
commentaries of Chazal on such holidays as Yom Kippur, Purim and Shavuot.
The goal of Torah study is to fulfill the mitzvah of Talmud Torah. We study the Torah as the central unifying story of our people's understanding of the world and our relationship with God. By studying the Torah, we come to identify with our Jewish history and fulfill God's covenant with the Jewish people. Finally, we begin to appreciate God's commands and wishes for us as responsible and committed Jewish people.
In Fourth Grade, the Torah track of Tal AM focuses on Sefer Shemot (the Book of Exodus) and further develops reading and comprehension competencies in Chumash, focusing on Torah commentary. The Torah workbooks are structured around the themes of Exodus from Egypt, Revelation on Mt. Sinai, and Building the Tabernacle.
As was started in Third Grade, the children use a Hebrew text for their Torah Study. As the children’s ability with Hebrew grows, they are able to focus on the differences between Biblical and Modern Hebrew. In Fourth Grade, the children begin to study the second section of the Tanach, the Nevi’im (Prophets). The children are exposed to the Book of Yehoshua, the beginning of the conquest of the Land of Israel following the chronological close of the Torah. Finally, children in Fourth Grade are introduced to the concept of rabbinic commentary (Oral Law) with a selection from Pirkei Avot.
The Fourth Grade Tal AM curriculum is a spiraled continuation of Third Grade both in skills and content. It also introduces new learning to acquire skills such as:
- • Brainstorming skills.
- • Improving retention of new vocabulary and language skills.
- • Creative and constructive peer learning.
- • Outline a story, plot, or essay.
By the end of the year, children should be able to:
- • Answer all questions using complete sentences.
- • Understand short stories and write summaries.
- • Write short stories.
- • Apply rules of grammar appropriate to Fourth Grade.
- • Assimilate new vocabulary words including correct verb formation in both past and present tense.
- • Follow all class directions.
All children in the school learn about the State of Israel. Focusing primarily on modern-day Israel, the children express daily our love of Medinat Yisrael by singing Hatikvah at the start of the school day. The children learn about the Flag of Israel.
Through our annual celebration of Yom Ha'Atzmaut (Israel Independence Day), the children learn about different aspects of
modern day life in Israel, ranging from Jerusalem to the Army, from the map of Israel to the joy of Israel's existence.
Finally, the children regularly engage in projects fostering their connection to the State of Israel and our responsibility
to Israeli Jews. These projects range from letter writing to tzedakah projects.