Hebrew at Wise Religious School!
If you spend any time at Stephen Wise Temple, you will know that Hebrew is central to who we are; it helps us access the texts and prayers of our ancient faith, and connects us to Jews all over the modern world and in Israel. At Wise Religious School, we value and prioritize Hebrew learning, and we strive to create an atmosphere in which Hebrew permeates the space: from our t’fillah (prayer), where learners gain familiarity with our Reform liturgy, to music and art, and our classroom learning, Hebrew is not just what we learn, it is part of who we are. Hebrew instruction begins on day 1 and is present in our celebration of holidays, prayers and songs; it is part of everyday classroom vocabulary, and it is a focus of structured classroom education.
All of our students in grades Kindergarten – 6 are exposed to Hebrew through our classroom instruction, prayers, songs and school activities. In addition, each grade has some specific ways in which their Hebrew instruction is developmentally specialized:
Kindergarten – Grade 2:
Hebrew Through Movement: Hebrew Through Movement, or HTM, is a language acquisition strategy based on the idea of Total Physical Response, or the idea that using your whole body to learn is effective and fun. The HTM approach applies the science of human development and language acquisition; just as we first learn to hear our native language before speaking and reading, HTM is another way that our learners gain familiarity with the sounds of the Hebrew language. Prior auditory input is crucial to our success as readers in any language, and we do this with Hebrew through prayer, music, vocabulary and, now, Hebrew Through Movement.
Hebrew Immersion: For alumni of the EC Hebrew Immersion program, our mixed-age, K-2 Hebrew Immersion at Wise Religious School builds off the foundation set in the early childhood environment. While a once a week experience is different from daily immersion, all holiday celebrations, Judaic lessons, and application of our curriculum for these learners happens only in Hebrew when they are within the classroom walls!
When learners reach our upper grades there is increased focus on decoding the Hebrew language. In addition to core Judaic content, teachers utilize classroom time to help students become comfortable with the Hebrew language, mastering letter recognition, decoding skills and appreciating the words and vocabulary of our liturgy and tradition.
Hebrew HeadStart: While increased Hebrew instruction officially begins in 4th Grade, those who wish may opt to start early. Learners in our (optional) Hebrew Headstart program stay until 12:30pm on Sundays and receive an extra jump start on letter recognition and decoding skills!
Hebrew Beit Midrash: On Sundays from 11:30am – 12:30pm, Grade 4-6 students work in small groups, accompanied by a teacher, to improve their Hebrew skills. In these grades, we utilize the Hebrew Step-by-Step curriculum which was developed, piloted and tested in our school from its inception. Hebrew Step-by-Step meets learners where they are, providing a self-paced approach to letter and liturgical learning. Learners begin by identifying and mastering the letters and sounds of the alef-bet, and then move on decoding and familiarizing themselves with the central prayers of our tradition.
Hebrew Lab: All Grade 4-6 students are invited, at no extra cost, to join us every Tuesday from 4:00 – 5:30 to work on their Hebrew learning. Starting with a pizza snack, students then move on to the learning lab where our educators work with them in an informal and intimate setting – perfect for extra practice!
iLearn Hebrew: In this program, instead of staying for Beit Midrash, learners work one-on-one with a tutor, for a half hour each week. Also utilizing our Hebrew Step by step curriculum, learners work with our team of tutors to master letter and prayer decoding skills. iLearn students schedule ½ hour sessions with their teacher at their convenience. If you wish to schedule an hour, you may do so at an additional price. Those who wish to utilize both the Beit Midrash and iLearn options may do so at an additional rate for each iLearn session.
Questions? Not sure what is the best option for your family?
Call our office at 310.889.2211 or email CYE@WiseLA.org