Kindergarten - 6th Grade Religious School
Sunday School – 9:00AM-12:00PM
During Sunday school, our students in Kindergarten through 6th grade start their morning with a shacharit service. In their classes, they learn the foundations of Hebrew language, Torah stories, Jewish values, and holidays. With the help of our specialists, our students have the opportunity to experience and explore Jewish music, art, Krav Maga and Israeli dance.
Tuesday School – 4:00PM-5:30PM
Our 4th - 6th graders attend Hebrew school during the week in addition to Sunday school. This provides an opportunity for students to work on learning written and spoken Hebrew language.
Additionally, our 4th - 6th grade students are given a choice of electives to explore Jewish topics relevant to their lives today. They also experience a special weekend retreat for bonding and a camp Shabbat experience.
Temple Akiba Religious School uses the Chai curriculum which is a flexible educational curriculum for Reform congregational schools based on the values of Torah, Avodah , and G’milut Chasadim, the three most important concepts and values of Jewish life, helping students grow into committed and thoughtful Jewish adults.
The CHAI curriculum leads students on an exploration of key values and principles of Torah, worship, and acts of loving kindness that build both Jewish identity and community with the help of this comprehensive, spiraling curriculum core and companion student workbooks.
CHAI articulates enduring understandings for each of its core strands:
Torah is an ongoing dialogue between the text and its students. It is real in our daily lives and goes with us wherever we are. Developing the skills to study Torah is essential to integrating Torah into our lives.
Avodah is the work we do to find sacred connections to God, community, and self. Engaging in the work of avodah can bring order, beauty, meaning and insight to our lives and our community.
G'milut chasadim is our way of being personally responsible for making the world a better and holier place.
Temple Akiba Religious School has adopted a 4 part Hebrew Curriculum:
Hebrew Through Movement - We have shifted our method of Hebrew education to a sound-to-print methodology of language learning - starting by teaching children Hebrew orally and later adding the print/visual component. This piece of our new program relies on a curriculum called “Hebrew through Movement,” in which students learn Hebrew by hearing and responding to Hebrew commands through physical movements. Hebrew through Movement is fun, social, and a great way for our students to learn a large vocabulary of Hebrew.
Delayed Decoding - We are utilizing developmental theory, which suggests that children are ready for decoding, or reading and sounding out Hebrew words, when they have an aural/oral foundation of the language, knowledge of many Hebrew words, motivation/a clear goal, and consistent attendance and practice. At 5th grade, we add the visual component by teaching Hebrew sight words, letters / vowel signs, and the skill of reading by working one-on-one with a computer program and a teacher in the Decoding Lab. The students are then ready to learn and therefore learn at a quicker pace, with plenty of time to prepare for Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
Jewish Life Vocabulary - We believe that students should be immersed in an environment where Hebrew words and phrases are part of the culture. As a result, “Jewish life vocabulary” will be integrated into all our Religious School classes and programs. By frequently hearing, using, and exploring Hebrew terms (such as shalom, mazal tov, mensch, tikkun olam, yasher koach, tzedakah, and more), our children will learn to experience the world through Jewish values and they will appreciate Hebrew as the common language of our Jewish community.
Tefillah (prayer / communal worship) - We want our children to value the experience of Jewish prayer and be able to participate in services at Temple Akiba and around the world. We believe that the best way to learn tefillah is to participate in tefillah. Our clergy, music specialists, and other prayer leaders do a significant amount of teaching about the meaning, history, and spirituality of prayer in the context of Religious School tefillah.
Through the implementation of Hebrew through Movement, Jewish Life Vocabulary, and tefillah, we are re-thinking what it means to “know” Hebrew, and we are serving as a model for many other congregations in North America.