The Elementary School educational program is built on a foundation of cutting edge, researched based approaches to learning, taught in a warm and supportive environment. We feel that children learn and grow when they are engaged in level appropriate, meaningful learning so that they can meet success and feel confidence to take learning risks. The workshop model approach is used in all subject areas, allowing students to work collaboratively as part of a learning community. An exploratory approach, focusing on critical thinking, allows children to think deeply and extend their own learning. We recognize that the world around us is ever-evolving and our educational programs need to prepare students for the world they will live in.
Ivrit: Students experience Ivrit B’Ivrit immersion learning for all of their Jewish Studies classes. Total exposure to the language prepares them to become more fluent and comfortable Hebrew learners. We believe that a strong foundation in Hebrew language is essential to mastering all spoken Hebrew as well as text-based learning. Furthermore, our infrangible connection to Medinat Yisrael drives our passion for Ivrit instruction. We implement the Tal Am program, while integrating our own materials for Grades 1-4. Students read, write, and speak in Hebrew about the holidays of the year, the classroom experience, and the world around them. The first grade program is reinforced through ongoing Ariot computer-based activities in the computer lab.
Chumash: We believe that in order to be an engaged and thinking Torah Jew, one must have the capacity to learn our Jewish texts proficiently and in depth. Students in Grades 2-4 participate in a skills based Chumash program, L’Havin U’Lehaskil, creating a foundation of strong textual skills to enable our students to become independent, active Torah learners. The study of Rashi script and his commentary are introduced in 3rd grade. Students begin with the basic language skill of breaking down words into different components and progress to the critical thinking process of identifying and answering Rashi’s questions on the passukim. We believe that early, enjoyable, and challenging connection to Torah study is paramount to the spiritual development of a child. Lessons utilize different modalities and connect Torah values and messages to the everyday lives of our students.
Middot: Grades 1-4 make YHT “the place to be” through our homegrown middot and character building program, called "YHT: The Place to Be." Every month we learn about a specific middah through a lesson in Jewish Studies classes, a book of the month and reading response in General Studies classes, school-wide activities, classroom lessons, Shabbat table handouts for facilitating conversation at the table, and monthly assemblies. Students are encouraged, through positive reinforcement, to become conscientious community members, feeling a sense of achriut (responsibility) towards their school, peers, and themselves.
Math: Our math program is Common Core aligned, robust, and integrates several methods and curricula, including the philosophy of Marilyn Burns, Math In Focus, EngageNY, and others. The program focuses on kinesthetic learning, reasoning, and discourse. Students participate in open-ended discussions and discovery in their math class. We focus heavily on conceptual understanding of how math works and its practical importance to our world. Students are guided through critical thinking and the use of manipulatives. All lessons are differentiated to student ability and learning style. Instruction is data-driven and supported by in-class instructional assistants and learning specialists, to ensure that each student is progressing and being challenged at their own level. Our math program was created by our math coordinator and coach, and evolves as our understanding of learning and the world around us progresses. Our math coach trains each teacher in our approach to math instruction and teams of teachers collaborate on the curriculum throughout the school year.
Math Enrichment: Students who have a unique aptitude in math and need to be challenged in a different way than is available, even in a differentiated classroom, participate in math enrichment, a project-based program incorporating grade level standards.
Literacy: We follow a Balanced Literacy model for our literacy curriculum. Students are exposed to fiction and non-fiction texts in a balanced fashion including: guided reading, independent reading, read-alouds, and writing. All students participate in reading groups, at their level, and learn reading strategies throughout the school year. We focus heavily on the writing process, engaging students in self-editing, peer editing, and teacher editing. Students learn the structure and format of a multitude of writing genres, corresponding to texts of the same genre. Students learn to add details and ideas to their writing pieces and expand their ideas in different drafts of each piece. We believe in cultivating the “voice” in each student as a writer. Grammar and spelling are taught in context, as part of reading and writing. We focus on high frequency words and word families and use Words Their Way, a research based, kinesthetic approach to spelling. Print handwriting is taught in Grades 1-3 using Handwriting Without Tears. Script is introduced in 3rd grade. All lessons are differentiated to student ability. Instruction is data driven and supported by in class instructional assistants and learning specialists, to ensure that each student is progressing and being challenged, at their level. Our literacy program is updated and monitored by our Literacy Coach.
Social Studies: Aligned with the Common Core approach to content area subjects, our social studies units are integrated with literacy as part of a formal library class. Students in first grade learn about families and their local communities. Second grade students learn about the United States government and communities. In third grade, students study communities around the world and participate in a non-fiction research project about China. Fourth grade students study American history.
Science: Students participate in hands-on science labs that encourage exploration and critical thinking while studying elements of the Earth, the human body and physics. Science is extended through science literacy, where students keep a science journal and write about their scientific discoveries.