We recognize that kindergarten students are just entering a new world of social and academic expectations. At WBT, our program supports the students through this transition, reinforcing verbal, written, classroom, and social skills within a Jewish context. Our youngest community members learn about core Jewish values such as tikkun olam, friendship, and honoring the elderly. Using a child-centered approach to instruction, students experience Shabbat and all of the holidays in a joyful, hands-on environment. Kindergarten students participate in Hebrew Through Movement, their first introduction to the language, perfectly tailored to their needs and level. We also encourage new relationships and a sense of belonging through community building activities such as music, sports, and cooking.
First grade students begin their journey of Torah study at the beginning, delving into the stories, characters and events found in Genesis. Active, hands-on, interactive lessons and projects set the stage for fun and learning. Hebrew Through Movement is continued in first grade in order to reinforce concepts and learning from the previous year and move them forward, building familiarity and comfort with the language. Each holiday is also discussed and celebrated, adding to and expanding their ideas and understanding. Students will also have an opportunity to build friendships and connections during enrichment activities such as music, sports, cooking, and others.
Tapping into the things that are important to students this age, their studies will continue the exploration of what it means to live Jewishly. Students will do deep dives into the values that form the foundation of a Jewish approach to relationships with one another, animals, and the environment as well as the Torah stories that teach these concepts. Students will see how they can affect change in their own lives and make a difference.
Hebrew Through Movement, a fun, active, interactive program designed to teach basic common words and phrases in Hebrew, continues during this year and students will add to their verbal and auditory vocabulary. An introduction to the Hebrew alphabet is also a fundamental part of the second grade experience which encourages reading readiness for the following year.
Students will also be treated to beautiful art projects that underscore the values they are learning. Cooking classes bring holiday observation to life as the students learn to prepare holiday-specific foods while learning about the origins of the celebrations and the symbolism of the various foods used in preparation.
In third grade, we build on our values curriculum, and help students gain a deeper understanding of the value of tzedakah and our responsibility as Jews to engage in acts of Tikkun Olam, or repairing the world. Building on this, our students are whisked halfway around the world to learn about inspiring social justice agencies in Israel. While “in Israel,” our students will tour the land of Israel, meet her people, taste her foods, sing her songs, and discuss her challenges, potentials, gifts, hopes, and opportunities.
Third grade also marks the moment when students begin to decode and read Hebrew which prepares them for the start of their B’nei Mitzvah prayer mastery beginning the following year.
In fourth grade, our students are encouraged to grapple with their concept of and belief in God. Deep, rich, meaningful discussions and activities enable students to give voice to the questions they may never have had the opportunity to ask and to consider ideas that elicit new understandings for them. They will also delve further into Torah study through a close reading and analysis of more of the events and characters from Genesis. Beginning their formal B’nei Mitzvah prayer mastery, students are guided and supported through their mastery of the Barchu, Shema, and V’ahavta. By the end of the year, they will be able to read, chant, explain the meaning of, and demonstrate the choreography for each of these essential prayers.
Fifth grade takes a close look at the prophets from the Bible. Their stories are analyzed and parsed apart in order to reveal the richness in the wisdom of their words. The newly uncovered understandings are then applied to the modern world so our students fully recognize the timelessness of the messages. Stage two in B’nei Mitzvah preparation includes the mastery of the full Kiddush, Avot V’Imahot, and G’vurot. Students will learn to read, chant, explain the meaning of, and demonstrate the choreography for each of these prayers. They also create their own Yad for torah reading.
Students in sixth grade learn about the religious and cultural customs that bind us together as a community at WBT and one people, worldwide. They will be studying about each major lifecycle event, as honored and celebrated by Jews, here and abroad. These events include: birth, bris/naming, b’nei mitzvah, confirmation, weddings, and funerals. In Hebrew, students will be guided through mastery of the Torah and Haftarah blessings and Nissim B’Chol Yom. This completes the requisite prayers and allows students to begin all other preparations for their B’nei Mitzvah, including the creation of their own, hand painted, silk tallit.