Emphasis on Conversational Hebrew
Kesher’s philosophy to teaching Hebrew is based on the proficiency approach. Through the proficiency approach, language becomes relevant to the learners. At Kesher, this learner centered approach emphasizes the ability to function in Hebrew, to actually be able to use the language playing soccer and board games, having snacks, in social interactions with staff and other kids. The kids are divided into groups that are based on proficiency and developmental appropriateness.
Unit themes are designed to be relevant to the kids’ lives – the Kesher environment, family, home, things we do in the home, holidays, and Israel. The students revisit these themes each year with a variation on the theme at a higher proficiency level in all the skill areas: reading, writing, speaking, listening, and grammar. All proficiency levels work on the same themes at the same time, creating an environment of cohesiveness.
A 3 Year Cycle
The Kesher Judaics curriculum is based on a 3 year cycle. The whole school learns the same themes at the same time, but in age appropriate ways. As children grow up in Kesher, they revisit these themes, with greater depth as they mature developmentally.
Year 1 - Jewish Holidays, Jewish Calendar and Life Cycle
Year 2 - Jewish Ethics and Values
Year 3 - Torah, Tanach, and Jewish History to the Present
We approach the Judaica curriculum much in the same way as the Rabbis thought about the Torah, each time discovering new ideas and experiences with an ever-growing depth. We have created a three-year cycle, each year setting the course for a different journey through the same Jewish text. Each year we draw upon the other two themes (as well as many more themes) to support the focus. With each meeting of holiday, of an event in history, or a Jewish value or custom, the kids glean something new and relevant to their lives.
Creativity and Discovery
At Kesher we encourage the students to constantly learn and grow through creativity and discovery. Students participate in a variety of fun chugim. All chugim are taught in Hebrew, some with aspects of Judaism woven in.
Some examples include:
Board Game Design
Building with K'nex
Building with Legos