Excerpts from the Polonies Talmud Torah School Curriculum Framework (effective 2013)
The following curriculum is a general overview. More specifics are available upon request. While classes cover what follows, each class curriculum is ultimately class specific based upon prior learning, skills, etc. Some lessons include field trips to Jewish sites and museums in New York.
The Hebrew School at Shearith Israel sets as its learning goals reading/prayer fluency, Hebrew comprehension skills, knowledge of the entire Bible, Jewish history, Jewish values, holidays and the cycle of Jewish life. All this is done in a positive, supportive and easy going environment which children enjoy and in which they feel empowered. In order to achieve our ambitious learning goals we select from the best available materials as well as create our own textbooks when necessary.
Pre-K is working on Hebrew language goals of learning the Aleph Bet. The content goals of this age group include learning the symbols of the holidays and Shabbat through arts and crafts projects as well as the songs of the holidays and Shabbat. They will also be introduced to Jewish values through Biblical stories and music.
Ages 5-7 are working on Hebrew language goals which range between introducing and reinforcing the Aleph Bet through song and knowing basic words orally, knowing sounds of the letters, and being able to read 2-3 sound words. The content goals of this age group include learning the stories of weekly Torah portion, the stories of the holidays, the meanings behind the holidays and the symbolic items associated with the holidays. Modeh Ani, Adon Olam, En Kelohenu and other common prayers are taught and giving Tzedakah is emphasized.
Ages 7-9 are working on Hebrew language goals which range between being able to read longer words, fluency of word series, and incorporating prayers into reading. As an example, the Shema is used as a way to reinforce language concepts that have been discussed, as well as learning kiddush, the morning blessings and the beginning of the Amida. The content goals of this age group include studying the main episodes of the Torah (Five Books of Moses), and learning the holidays more in depth (vocabulary, meanings of holidays, and symbolic items).
Ages 10-12 are working on Hebrew language goals which range between mastering fluency of word series, reading with confidence as well as beginning comprehension (prefix, suffix, shoresh/root). The content goals of this age group include the Biblical books of Prophets and Writings, Jewish history of the post-Biblical era, the Jewish life cycle, Jewish ethics such as developing middot (good traits), and learning more prayers through youth led services conducted in our historic ‘Little Synagogue.’
Teenagers are working developing a foundational Hebrew vocabulary and comfort with translating Hebrew texts, as well as the basics of Modern Hebrew speech. Content goals include a more complete picture of Jewish History (including the Medieval and Modern periods), studying Biblical commentary (including learning Rashi script) and introducing classical Jewish texts such as the Talmud. Also, encouraging thinking about how Judaism might inform choices and decisions, and the strengthening of fundamental Jewish concepts and ideas to create a stronger grounding in Jewish tradition. Major themes include Jewish Identity: Why is it important to be Jewish? Jewish Ethics: How does being Jewish affect my actions and decisions? Jewish History: Understanding the Formative Events of Modern times. Prayer: Concepts in prayer and specifics of prayer, such as why we pray, what we say and what it means as well as complete comfort with using the siddur.