TBE’s K-7 Youth Education Program
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Limmud’s Vision: To provide a quality, engaging, experiential Jewish educational program that meets the needs of each child and inspires a dedication to living an actively Jewish life.
Starting in September 2016, our Kindergarten to Twelfth Grade Religious School program was updated to a new model, which more appropriately fits the manner in which students learn in the 21st century. Limmud is based on significant research and exploration into alternative Religious School models, and best practices in the field of Jewish education. It was designed in consultation with both the United Synagogue Education Consultant and the Federation’s Education Department. An inclusion education consultant from Matan, a national organization that works with communities to ensure that the learning needs of all students are met, assisted in the development of this model as well.
Research has demonstrated that students must be actively engaged in the learning process to have the ability to translate and generalize their learning experiences into their lives. This is particularly important in the realm of Jewish education – students and families, alike, must find personal meaning and relevance in what they are learning for it to be relevant and applicable to their everyday lives.
The new program has several important features, highlighted below:
1. Learning Environment. The learning spaces are much less “school-like” and formal – moving from spaces that solely have desks to those that are much more flexible in nature, and might include bean-bag chairs, cushions and group tables. The informality allows students to be more comfortable and relaxed during their learning and add to the experiential feel of the program.
2. Staffing. Like summer camp or a home-room teacher, children will be organized into grade-based groups and each group will have at least one assigned group leader for entire the school year. The group leader is responsible for creating a culture of community among the group, behavior management, as well as teaching particular elements of the curriculum.
3. Increased Staffing Ratios: Due to the new design, children have at least 2 adult staff members as well as additional teen volunteers with them, most of the time. The group leader remains with the group throughout the program, allowing children both to have continuity with staff and exposure to a variety of people.
4. Daily Activities/Specials. Group leaders take their grade-based group to a schedule of daily activities. These activities are led by experts who focus on specific areas of the curriculum such as: Torah study, Israel, T’fillah (prayer), Hebrew, as well as cultural areas (art, music, stories, cooking, drama, etc.).
5. Experiential Learning. Students will actively participate in learning experiences designed through a schedule of daily activities. An example of this is: how students learn how, when to say, and the meaning of the Birkhat Hamazon (the prayer after a meal). Through a multi-pronged experiential learning process, students will actively engage in learning different aspects of this prayer in the Hebrew, T’fillah, and music specials. Students also have an opportunity to use this prayer in real time during monthly community meals on the first Friday of every month. That particular community meal might be further tied into learning about a Jewish holiday, a segment of the Jewish community, such as Jews from Poland or Iran or another component of the educational program like the weekly Torah portion. In this new model, learning is experienced in a multitude of ways, both with purpose and intention.
6. Timing. The program is held on Sundays from 9:00-12:00 (K-12th), and Wednesdays 4:15-6:15 (2nd-7th).
Registration for the new Youth Education Program is now open. The cost for the year is $450 plus a $25 registration fee for TBE members.