Judaic Studies, Hebrew Language, and Jewish Life
Shalom School’s curriculum unites the Hebrew language with Judaic Studies to strengthen students’ feeling of connection between the cultural and linguistic aspect of the Hebrew language. From preschool through sixth grade, every Hebrew lesson is taught in Hebrew. Hebrew posters and colorful bulletin boards are in every classroom as part of the school-wide curriculum. Students at each grade level are provided with stories matched to their interest and skill level. Through the stories, grammar and vocabulary instruction, and holiday celebrations, students learn Hebrew and learn about Israel’s history. Through this instruction, students also develop the ability to communicate in another language.
Kindergarten students learn Hebrew through Jewish songs and Torah stories that center around Shabbat, Jewish holidays, Jewish values, and Israel. In the early elementary grades, Hebrew and Jewish Studies are integrated through the Tal Am program, which features a Modern Hebrew text specifically designed to help young children become fluent in conversational Hebrew while learning about Jewish holidays and concepts from both ancient and contemporary perspectives. Torah is incorporated as well, with differing levels of exploration and study dependent upon the grade level.
Hebrew instruction is more sophisticated in grades 5 and 6 with increasingly individualized instruction. In Jewish Studies, fifth-graders become skilled at navigating the Tanakh, while sixth-graders pursue a curriculum centered on Israel. Students also explore the causes and history of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, culminating in a public presentation of their projects to visitors and participation in a community-wide Holocaust essay contest.
Throughout the school year, students take part in traditional prayers and celebrations and observe the Jewish holidays, often welcoming parents and other guests to participate. A highlight of the school week for all students is Kabbalat Shabbat services on Friday afternoon with Jewish music and activities.