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Curriculum

Curriculum

 

The Jewish Preschool of Lexington
At the Chabad Center of Lexington

INTRODUCTION

The Jewish Preschool of Lexington (JPL) follows guidelines and creates a theme for the school year as the core for its curriculum. Below is a brief description of both. Although the guidelines do not change, the theme changes every year or two. We invite you to participate in the programs, and we welcome your comments, your help, and your support.

State Educational Guidelines

JPL follows The Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences established by The Massachusetts Department of Education. The Guidelines are designed to ensure that young children participate in a multitude of learning experiences, which provide the foundation for all future learning. The Guidelines include the following content areas: English and Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, History and Social Science, Social and Emotional Health, and The Arts. Using the Guidelines, the teachers create an exciting, all-encompassing curriculum that helps our students develop the skills and  knowledge needed to become effective and successful learners. Using multiple teaching strategies, the content areas are integrated into curriculum planning, in order to meet the individual needs and learning styles for each child. A Parent’s Guide to the Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences is available at our school.

Parent Learning and Family Programs

Over the course of a school year JPL tries to provide the parents with opportunities to further their understanding and learning in both child development and in Jewish education. The instructions vary from outside experts in field of early childhood education, to in-house educators: our Rabbi, or our teachers. To enhance our curriculum we also have various programs for the families. A Calendar of Events will include information.

Grants and Special Education

“Gateways” is an organization funded by the Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP,) whose mission is to enable Jewish children with special needs to receive a Jewish education. We are very proud to take part in this initiative and over the course of the past 5 years we have received small grants to train and support staff and families, as well as provide for some in-class help. Although the grants are small, they are crucial in helping us bring in support staff and provide for some services.

Judaic Guidelines

At JPL we meet more than just the Guidelines established by the State; we created an elaborate, well thought-out, and an enriching Judaic curriculum. We strive to meet Standards of Excellence as established by the Bureau of Jewish Education. The BJE crowned the achievements of these standards with an honorable Magen Hagan Accreditation Award. We were one of the first five schools to receive the award in 2004, and were re-accredited in May of 2009. Although BJE no longer exist, Hebrew College created a committee which works in collaboration with Jewish early childhood programs. Participation is voluntary, and we are proud to take an active role in this collaboration.

Torah Stories

Every Friday, prior to our Shabbat party, the children gather to hear the weekly Torah Story. Told by our talented staff, and using special props prepared by one of our creative staff members, the main ideas of the weekly portion will come to life every Friday. Parents are welcome to join us for the weekly program.

Hebrew Language

Hebrew is yet another component of our daily learning. We have a rich selection of games, books, and songs from Israel. Teachers integrate as much as they can into the daily routine (snack, circle, etc.) Using props, music, stories, and songs, Hebrew language enrichment programs happen in conjunction with the various holidays and curricular units. The amount of Hebrew used in the classroom changes from year to year, and depends on the age of the children and their command of language they already possess. Our lead teachers have taken a Hebrew Language program at Hebrew College. They look forward to integrating their acquired knowledge into the classrooms and to continuing their efforts to become more competent in their use of Hebrew through staff training and workshops.

Enrichment Programs & JPL Library

Two enrichment programs supplement our weekly activities:

  •  Movement with Angela: each class enjoys 30 minutes of creative movement in our gym. The class also includes Israeli Dancing.
  •  Music with Tal: each group enjoys learning songs, rhymes, rhythm, and fun with a very talented jazz musician. Tal brings her accordion, props, and gentle approach.
  • Story Time – Sh’at Sippur: JPL’s extensive library will provide an opportunity for weekly library sessions where children will gather at the Chabad Library (the adjacent building) to hear stories in Hebrew and English.
  • JPL has a large selection of children books in every room: science books, concepts (colors, shapes, letters, math, etc.) storybooks, social studies/history, and Judaic books. In Vicky’s office you can also find a selection of books on child development. Parents are welcome to borrow books from the child-development section. The teachers also make use of town libraries to complement our own.
  • Additional enrichment programs to our school are very welcome. Parents are invited to suggest ideas and provide sponsorship in honor of a birthday, a grandparent visit, or another special milestone.\
  • Weekly Enrichment Programs by experienced professional instructors
  • Monthly Enrichment Programs by guest providers: science, storytelling, puppet show, animal shows, etc.
  • Extra…Extra... Children who stay for extended hours will be offered a variety of enrichment programs in the afternoons. Each day will feature a different program with choices such as: cooking/sports/yoga/dance/craft. A small additional fee will be applied. 

Boston-Haifa Early Childhood Educators Collaborative

JPL has been a very proud member of the Boston-Haifa Early Childhood Educators Collaborative for the over 10 years. This partnership, originally initiated by the BJE, has been supported for the past several years by Hebrew College and CJP. Sharon Cores is our shagrira (representative) to this collaborative. Sharon traveled to Israel with a group of other early childhood educators to experience, explore, learn and share. The goals for this collaborative are to maintain contact with early childhood professionals in Israel, exchange information, and share resources. Our teachers have opportunities to meet and learn with other local early childhood professionals who are also members of this collaborative. We have already reaped many benefits from this partnership, to name just a few: joint learning sessions, hosting visiting professionals, exploring different learning environments, exchanging materials, resources, and ideas.

Theme for the Year:

 

“Exploring The Jewish Year Music”

Every year the teachers at JPL decide on a theme to weave into the curriculum throughout the school year. This year’s theme is: “Music Throughout the Jewish Year.” Every curricular unit (as described below) will include components which allow the children to listen to, sing, play, compose, perform and simply enjoy. The Jewish year is full opportunities that incorporate MUSIC: holidays, kelzmer, vocals, instrumental, and prayers. There is ancient music as described in the Torah; ethnic music from Jewish communities around the world, modern music as heard in Israel, and more. The children will listen to and learn new songs, our music teacher and our group of talented parents will help us implement the theme.

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Implementing the curriculum

Each Lead Teacher, with the collaboration of the teaching assistant, develops curricular units to be appropriate for the ages of the children in her class; we call this “spiraling the curriculum”. As teachers of young learners, we always keep in mind that the children are our best judges. If we see that they have great interest in a certain curricular unit we do not hesitate to expand it. Likewise, if they do not show enough interest in a planned unit we shorten or adapt it. Following is an outline of the curricular units for each month. The teachers update and write a detailed description in their frequent newsletters. 

Enrichment Activities: 

  • Traveling Trunk Show – Fall and Spring performances by Tufts University Theater Troup
  • Tumble Bus – Yellow Bus full of fun, soft play activities
  • Turtles New Home  - a puppet show by Deborah Costine
  • World Full of Flutes – Woodwind musical show and performance
  • Rainforest Reptile Show –Live Animal Show

 

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SEPTEMBER: Getting to Know You / New Year Tishrei Holidays - חגי תשרי                            

Starting a new school year, familiarizing ourselves with our environment, and forming new friendships  

  • Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur.  We will welcome the Jewish New Year using all our senses.
  • Theme & Jewish concepts & values:
  •  Shmirat Halashon – Guarding the Tongue – purity of language...
  • Decorating our new outdoor school Sukkah: eating, and playing in it.

 

 

OCTOBER: Fall / Creation / B’resheet        בראשית  /  סתו

  • Our weekly Torah Story program will start after the holidays.
  • FALL/AUTUMN: the colors of autumn; leaves, gourds, squirrels and more.
  • The story of Creation lends itself to vast exploration. We will embark on a 7 week long unit on creation. Every “day” in the story of Genesis will be explored over the course of a week. To appreciate the beauty of our world, children will have many hands-on activities and science experiments. They will read many books and will create their own version of cumulative project. In the Toddler Class – Gan Gefen, we will focus on the colors and shapes of creation and animals, Large and Small.
  • Theme & Jewish concepts & values:
    • Week 1: Let There Be Light – ויהי אור
    • Week 2: The Waters Above and The Water Below  מים ושמים -
    • Week 3: All That Grows  צומח -
    • Week 4: Nigh/Day - Sun, Moon and Stars   שמש, ירח, וכוכבים  - \
    • Week 5: In the Air and In the Sea: Birds and Fish דגים וצפרים  - 

 

 

 NOVEMBER:  Creation (cont.) / Chanukah / Thanksgiving           תודה על כל שבראת תודה על כל שנתת…/ בראשית                                        

  • Week 6: All Animals Large and Small ; and G‑d Created Humans; חיות, איש ואישה -
  • concluding our long unit on Creation.

 

 

DECEMBER: Chanuka                                                                         חנוכה           

  • The story of Chanukkah
  • Press our own olive oil by crushing olives
  • Fire safety 

 

 

JANUARY: Winter, Hibernation               ט"ו בשבט   / חורף

  • Homes & Winter homes: hibernating animals, igloos, bird houses,
  • In Israel the Birthday of the Trees - Tu B’Shvat – is celebrated. Children will be looking at the first signs of spring in Israel compared to the ongoing winter in Lexington (confusing but teachable) 
  • Building bird houses and bird feeders; 

 

 

FEBRUARY:  Transportation               תחבורה   

  • Traveling by land, by air, and by sea
  • Trains, cars, planes, bikes, sleds, boats, and more.
  • Safety in traveling: observing / looking before crossing a street, seat belts, helmets, training wheels,

 

 

MARCH:  Castles, Purim                                        פורים/ ארמונות     

  • Take out all our fancy dress ups and join the royal court
  • Build a castle
  • "With the start of Adar, we increase our joy" 
  • Theme & Jewish concepts & values: The 4 mitzvot of Purim (read Purim story, give treats to our friends, donate to the needy, and the Purim feast)
  • Dr. Seuss' birthday; exploring favorite Seuss stories

 

 

APRIL:  Dr. Seuss, Desert, Passover             פסח / מדבר/דר. סוס

  • Wild life in the desert, survival in the desert
  • Passover story, brick pits, building pyramids, “baking” matzah
  • “Walkthrough Haggadah” – Take your child through the steps of the Passover Seder, create objects to take home and use at the Seder table.
  • Jewish concepts & values: send tzedakah money to ” Project Mazon – The Jewish Response to Hunger“

 

 

MAY:  Spring, Butterflies, Shavuot       אביב/ פרפרים/ שבועות

  • A short unit on spring always ties in nicely with our unit on Shavuot, the holiday commemorating the Giving of the Torah
  • Theme & Jewish Concepts:
    • Smell the flowers and see the beautiful colors of spring
    • Hear the Ten Commandments being read in the synagogue
    • Love for the Land and People of Israel – Ahavat Yisrael 

 

 

JUNE: Favorites And Goodbyes                         שלום ולהיתראות

  • We will be preparing for summer vacation and saying good-bye to our graduates.
  • Theme & Jewish concepts & values:
    • Exploring senses as we prepare for summer
    • Partners with G‑d in protecting our world.

 JULY & AUGUST:  JPL Summer Fun Camp

  • Four 2-week sessions of summer fun units. Details will be provided in the winter. 

 

The staff at JPL wishes our families a wonderful journey through the school year.