In kindergarten, our Judaic curriculum focuses on the following main units:
Tefillah: Students begin each day with Tefillah (prayer.) As a school we come together to build our connection with each other and establish a relationship with G-d.
Holidays: Throughout the school year, students learn about different aspects of the Jewish year. In “theme” lessons we teach the Halachic origin of the holidays thus connecting the traditions we partake in today to their beginning. For example, before celebrating Chanukah, some of the concepts students learn about are the importance of this holiday, the reasoning behind lighting candles, and the importance of 8 days of celebration. Students also make their own olive oil for their Menorah’s thus deeper connecting with our traditions. During Passover, students participate in the model Seder. They make their own Seder plates and Haggadahs and fully participate in all this holiday has to offer.
Aleph Bet recognition, reading/writing: We begin the school year with review of the Hebrew letters and nekudot (vowels). Students build their reading proficiency using our kriah program that is mainly phonetic and based on establishing a strong fluency. Students are able to work on their own level and at their own pace. Students learn to read and write in print during their kindergarten year.
Reading and writing at Brooklyn Heights Jewish Academy is present in everything we do. Students are exposed to multiple genres of literature from the beginning and their love for books starts developing from the first day they enter BHJA. Students learn to interact with books properly and they understand the different components of books. They learn about the authors and illustrators and their role in the story telling process. They practice pointing out the characters of a story, the setting, the key details. Through reading, our students develop their language skills, their speaking and listening abilities, and these skills transfer into their writing. Students become aware of the rules of writing such as capitalization and punctuation. Throughout their kindergarten year, our students work hard to be able to read emergent reader texts with purpose and understanding. Through consistent exposure to different types of texts, research projects throughout the year, and individualized learning, our students graduate kindergarten with a strong skill set for reading and writing.
At BHJA, we learn science by doing. Students are exposed to a wide range of topics and hands on activities. They become involved and part of the learning process. Some of the covered topics include:
· Science skills: Students become scientists and learn the proper scientific methods through which they can interact with the environment around them. They also use what certain scientific tools are used for and ways in which they work.
· Human body and genetics: Why do we look like our parents? What are our five senses and why are they important to us? Students will learn all about touch, smell, hearing, seeing, and taste and how each sense supports all the others.
· Animals and Plants: How are animals and plants the same? How are they different? What does each need to survive? What are the parts of a plant?
· Day sky vs. Night Sky; Weather and Seasons
· Conservation of natural resources will be discussed
· Matter and Sound will be introduced
The mathematics curriculum in kindergarten focuses on three main learning objectives: 1. Counting; 2. Addition/Subtraction; 3. Sorting.
In our counting unit, the focus is to master:
1. Counting to 100 by 1s and 10s
2. Count to answer “how many” questions
Students will be able to:
1. Solve word problems using addition and/or subtraction
2. Decompose numbers less than 10 in multiple ways (ex: 5=2+3 AND 5=4+1)
3. Fluently add and subtract within 5; higher than 5 with use of manipulatives
Students will be able to:
1. Identify “greater than”, “less than”, “equal to” groups
2. Describe measurable attributes of objects (ex: length/weight) and compare objects using these attributes
3. Identify, describe and compare 2D and 3D objects:
a. 2D: squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, hexagons
b. 3D: cubes, cones, cylinders, spheres
c. Describe objects in their environment using the object shape and its relative position using words like: above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to
Our social studies curriculum is comprised of 11 concepts that we cover in detail throughout the year. We begin by discussing how people are alike as well as how they are different. Students then learn about families, school communities, neighborhoods and locations of these entities. Concepts of maps vs. globes are introduced. Citizenship and laws/rights/responsibilities of citizens are discussed. A selection of several topics covered can be found below:
· Each person has needs, wants, talents, and abilities
· People are alike and different in many ways
· People use folktales, legends, music, and oral histories to teach values, ideas, and traditions
· Neighborhoods can be located on a map
· Land (U.S.; Israel) and water masses can be located on a map and a globe
· Citizenship includes an understanding of the holidays and celebrations of our nation
· All children and adults have responsibilities at home, in school, in the classroom, and in the community
· People make and change rules to govern and protect members of their group