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Program of Studies


Table of Contents Introduction.................................................................................................................1 Chicago Jewish Day School..................................................................................................... 2

Our Mission........................................................................................................2 Our Vision...........................................................................................................2 Educational Philosophy Statement........................................................................................ 4 Developmental Overview....................................................................................................... 7

Philosophy...........................................................................................................7 Description of 4-Year-Olds and 5-Year-Olds.......................................................7 Social and Emotional Development.....................................................................7 Play......................................................................................................................8 Curricular Highlights.............................................................................................................. 9

Reggio Emilia Approach.....................................................................................9 Experiential Learning........................................................................................ 10 Integration......................................................................................................... 10 Junior Kindergarten Theme and Highlights...................................................... 11 The City as Our Classroom............................................................................... 11 Academic Curriculum............................................................................................................ 12

Language Arts................................................................................................... 12 Hebrew and Judaic Studies................................................................................ 16 Mathematics...................................................................................................... 18 Social Sciences................................................................................................... 22 Science............................................................................................................... 22 Fine Arts, Physical Education, and Health......................................................... 23

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Introduction The curriculum of any school represents the integration of philosophy and practical application. The curriculum is the working, breathing, and organic tool which serves as a guide — a compass if you will — for our faculty. One of the most essential components in the creation of curriculum materials is the ownership and investment of the faculty. Another essential element is the internalization of academic standards by the faculty so that the standards are integrated into the objectives; therefore, curriculum documents inform practical application, unit development, and lesson planning. The partnership between parents and teachers is always important and, therefore, it is important for parents to understand that curriculum documentation is an ongoing process that is subject to review and change as a school’s curriculum evolves over time, always reflecting mission, vision, philosophy, and standards. We hope this curriculum summary serves as a guide for you, our parents, to navigate and understand in the broad strokes the skills, core concepts, and objectives that are part of your child’s experience at Chicago Jewish Day School.



Chicago Jewish Day School Educating our children in the richness of their past, the diversity of their present, and the possibilities for their future. Our Mission Chicago Jewish Day School creates for its students a standard of excellence in both Judaic and General Studies. Our students develop a passion for learning and a strong sense of themselves as Jews and as human beings. We inspire our students to: • develop a strong Jewish identity through an integrated curriculum within a nurturing, stimulating, and creative environment • become a community of Jewish learners • respect and appreciate diversity • love Torah, Israel, Hebrew language, and prayer • be contributing, caring, and knowledgeable members of our community, our country, and the world

Our Vision Chicago Jewish Day School provides a standard of excellence in both Judaic and General Studies through an integrated, multisensory curriculum that is attentive to students’ individual needs. Students learn a rich system of Jewish values, which stresses the practice of mitzvot and the development of ethical character. Through school experiences, our students gain creative-thinking and critical-thinking skills and develop a passion for lifelong learning. Chicago Jewish Day School serves the entire Jewish community and is a leader in promoting togetherness, cooperation, and respect across all Jewish denominations. Our educational approach appreciates and affirms differences in Jewish philosophy and background and values the range of Jewish religious practices among its students. At Chicago Jewish Day School, Jewish tradition informs our curriculum, calendar, celebrations, and daily schedule. We are committed to transmitting an in-depth knowledge of sacred Jewish texts and rituals, tradition and customs, and Jewish history. Our students gain fluency in reading, speaking, and understanding Hebrew language and literature, both classical and modern.


Junior Kindergarten Program of Studies

Students also discover how to have a significant and joyful relationship with God, how to pray as a Jew, and to appreciate the centrality of Israel — the people and the land. Through this knowledge and experience, our students build meaningful Jewish lives. We are equally dedicated to excellence in our General Studies program, encompassing language arts, mathematics, social and natural sciences, the humanities, and technology. Chicago Jewish Day School weaves values of Tikun Olam (repairing the world) into every aspect of the school experience. Faculty, students, and parents are strongly encouraged to participate in activities that improve the world and promote justice, peace, compassion, and respect. Our school operates as a community of learners with students, teachers, and families all partaking in the educational process. Our teachers and school staff care deeply about the school, the children with whom they work, and Jewish education. They understand and embrace the school’s mission, adopting and supporting the principles we value as a school community. Because we believe that students are inspired by adults who appreciate learning and who pursue their own emotional, intellectual, and religious growth, the school encourages and provides ongoing educational opportunities for teachers, parents, and all community members. Chicago Jewish Day School establishes a safe, supportive environment that fosters the kind of trust and warmth that lets students take risks and rise to challenges. Such an environment allows each student to shine, to strive for personal excellence, and to develop a strong sense of self.

Mission and Vision


Educational Philosophy Statement At Chicago Jewish Day School we educate children to think clearly and deeply, to gain knowledge and acquire judgment, and to respect diversity. We are committed to developing critical thinking and socially engaged intelligence that enables each individual to understand and participate effectively in the affairs of their community, country, Israel, and the world at large in a collaborative effort to achieve a common good. At Chicago Jewish Day School, we strive for learning to be authentic and meaningful and to inspire a passion for life-long learning. This document defines our vision of excellence in education.

Deep Understanding At Chicago Jewish Day School, we focus our teaching around thinking, stressing knowledge over information. Our inquiry-based curriculum encourages a curious, questioning and critical stance and develops a deepening understanding of important ideas. Facts and skills are important in a context and for a purpose. We challenge students by inviting them to think deeply about the issues that matter, helping them understand ideas from the inside out, and making connections between ideas and concepts. Students can then actively use these insights to apply what they have learned to their daily lives, expand understanding and even take action. Through school experiences, our students gain creative-thinking and critical-thinking skills and develop a passion for lifelong learning.*

Active and Experiential Learning At Chicago Jewish Day School, curriculum is authentic and meaningful. Students understand that what they learn in school is applicable to the broader outside world. Learning is integrated between the disciplines to demonstrate to students how ideas span the different content areas. Students play a vital role in formulating the questions, seeking out and creating answers, thinking through possibilities, and evaluating how successful they have been. Students’ own questions are truly valued and integral to the learning process. Learning is a matter of constructing ideas rather than passively absorbing information or practicing skills.


Junior Kindergarten Program of Studies

Student-Centered Learning At Chicago Jewish Day School, we take our cue from the students — and are particularly attentive to student individuality. The question, “What is best for the student?” is at the core of all decisions. Each student is unique. Therefore, policies as well as learning and behavioral expectations are established in a broad manner that allows for individualized decision-making that reflects our respect for the individual student and his/her needs. We celebrate the developmental stages of learning and provide for each student’s unique timetable for unfolding his/her abilities. Chicago Jewish Day School provides a standard of excellence in both Judaic and General Studies through an integrated, multisensory curriculum that is attentive to students’ individual needs.*

Intrinsic Motivation At Chicago Jewish Day School, we offer our students more choices — and more responsibilities. Our educational policies and practices are driven by the central question, “What is the effect on students’ interest in learning, their desire to continue reading, thinking, and questioning?” This question helps to determine what students will and won’t be asked to do. Our goal is for each student to leave Chicago Jewish Day School with a passion for learning along with the academic tools they need to be life-long learners.

Social Justice (Tikun Olam) “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?” –rabbi hillel

A sense of community and responsibility for oneself and others isn’t confined to the classroom; indeed, students are helped to explore how they fit into widening circles of care that extend beyond self, beyond friends, beyond their own religious/denominational group, and beyond their own country. Opportunities are offered not only to learn about, but also to put into action, a commitment to diversity and to improving the lives of others. Chicago Jewish Day School weaves values of Tikun Olam (repairing the world) into every aspect of the school experience.*

Collaboration The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interactions. At Chicago Jewish Day School children learn with and from one another in a caring community in both social as well as academic learning. Interdependence counts at least as much as independence. We help learners engage with ideas and drive each other’s thinking — to build knowledge, to care and to act.

Educational Philosophy Statement


Play Children learn through play. They must be active participants in the construction of knowledge and need concrete experiences to shape thoughts and concepts. Teachers provide materials and an enriched environment so that children can be challenged and totally involved in play. The teachers pose questions and elicit answers among the students to expand the experience, thus guiding in the discovery of knowledge and facilitation of play.

Attending to the Whole Child At Chicago Jewish Day School, we believe in educating the whole child — taking into account the social, emotional, academic, spiritual, physical, and creative needs of a student. We are concerned with helping children become good learners and furthermore good people. Our social and academic learning are intertwined and each one enhances the other. At Chicago Jewish Day School, we set the tone and atmosphere for students to learn outside of their comfort zone and take risks as part of the learning process. Chicago Jewish Day School establishes a safe, supportive environment which fosters the kind of trust and warmth that encourages students to take risks and rise to challenges.*

*Excerpt from Chicago Jewish Day School Mission and Vision statement.

Resources Inquiry Circles, Stephanie Harvey and Harvey Daniels Understanding by Design, Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe


Junior Kindergarten Program of Studies

Developmental Overview Philosophy At Chicago Jewish Day School, we believe in an approach to learning in which all stages of development are celebrated. Each child is a unique individual with his or her own rate and pattern of maturation. The job of a teacher is to accept each student at his or her current stage and to facilitate his or her advancement to the next stage. Children are natural planners at all stages of development, and they respond well to a daily schedule. Clear boundaries and structure allow them to confidently participate in activities and games.

Description of 4-Year-Olds and 5-Year-Olds Four-year-olds love to use all their senses to explore and experience the world around them. They can be flexible and creative. They also love structure and rules. They have a tendency to switch from one interest area to another quickly but can remain engaged for long periods of time if interested. They have strong imaginations and sometimes may confuse their fantasies with reality. As they begin to realize that they can interact with and have an effect the world around them, they look for powerful role models to emulate. Five-year-olds accomplish great advances in social and academic areas. At times they are cautious and at other times they thrive on experimentation. Therefore, they benefit from both structured and exploratory environments. They are the centers of their own universe and have trouble seeing things from other people’s perspectives. Throughout the year children continue to work on initiating and sustaining cooperative play. Children at this age are literal thinkers and take comfort in following the rules. However, they begin to develop independence and test limits as the year progresses. Five-year-olds learn best through hands-on activities and play, and they still require a great deal of physical activity. At five, children are learning to take turns, negotiate, and problem solve conflicts.

Social and Emotional Development Academic achievement is advanced through an integrated social and academic curriculum. Research confirms that the time spent on social and emotional learning is earned back in classrooms that run more effectively and efficiently; however, we also know that social skills are not taught just so that children behave better in order to get on with the “real” business of schooling. Rather, social skills are intertwined with cognitive growth and intellectual progress. A person who can listen well and frame a good question, who has the assertiveness to pose questions, and who can examine a situation from a number of perspectives will be a strong learner. All of these skills — essential to academic learning — are modeled daily through our social-skills program, Responsive Classroom. Responsive Classroom is an approach to teaching and learning that fosters safe, challenging, and joyful classrooms and schools.

Developmental Overview


The Guiding Principles of Responsive Classroom

• The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum. • How children learn is as important as what they learn: process and content go hand in hand. • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction. • There is a set of social skills children need in order to be successful academically and socially: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control (CARES). • Knowing the children we teach — individually, culturally, and developmentally — is as important as knowing the content we teach. • Knowing the families of the children we teach and working with them as partners is essential to children’s education. • How the adults at school work together is as important as individual competence — lasting change begins with the adult community. The Teaching Practices of Responsive Classroom

• Morning Meeting  A daily routine that builds community, creates a positive climate for learning, and reinforces academic and social skills. • Rules and Logical Consequences  A clear and consistent approach to discipline that fosters responsibility and self-control. • Guided Discovery  A format for introducing materials that encourages inquiry, heightens interest, and teaches care of the school environment. • Academic Choice  An approach to giving children choices in their learning that helps them become invested, self-motivated learners. • Classroom Organization  Strategies for arranging materials, furniture, and displays to encourage independence, promote care, and maximize learning. • Working with Families  Ideas for involving families as true partners in their children’s education.

Play Young children learn through play. They must be active participants in the construction of knowledge and need concrete experiences to shape thoughts and concepts. Teachers provide materials and an enriched environment so that children can be challenged and totally involved in play. Then the teachers can pose questions and elicit answers among the students to expand the experience, thus guiding in the discovery of knowledge and facilitation of play.


Junior Kindergarten Program of Studies

Curricular Highlights Reggio Emilia Approach At the core of this approach, children are honored as we embrace the knowledge and wonder that children bring to the learning experience. The environment inspires their exploration, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving as they build a deeper understanding of the world around them. As a Jewish school, Judaism serves as the lens in which we educate our children. Key elements of a Reggio-inspired classroom include: • Children form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through their interactions with others. – There is a strong focus on social collaboration where each child’s thoughts and questions are valued. – Working in small groups enables children to grow and develop through their interactions with peers, educators, and the world around us. • Children are natural communicators and use the Hundred Languages of Children to investigate, explore, and reflect on their experiences. – The concept of The Hundred Languages of Children, created by the founder of the Reggio Emilia approach, Loris Malaguzzi, encourages children to express their ideas, wonders, and explorations through words, movement, drawings, paintings, buildings, sculptures, photos, etc. • The classroom environment acts as the third teacher. – The environment is recognized for its potential to inspire children. – The environment is filled with beauty and order and every material is considered for its purpose. – The classroom environment is ever-changing to encourage the children to delve deeper into their interests. – The space encourages collaboration, communication, and exploration. – Children are respected as capable and provided with authentic materials and tools. – The space is cared for by the children and adults. • An emergent curriculum develops from the collaboration of the teachers and children where educators serve as mentors and guides. – The role of the educators is to observe children, listen to their questions and stories, find what interests them and then provide them with opportunities to explore these interests further.

Curricular Highlights


• Documenting children’s thoughts, ideas, questions, and interests makes learning visible. – Educators carefully document children’s thoughts and ideas through transcripts, photos, videos, and visual representations. – This documentation is displayed and shared in a manner that makes learning visible to the children, their parents, and the community. – Documentation brings further depth to children’s learning as they revisit their experiences and reflect on their learning. – Documentation demonstrates a respect for children’s work. – The documentation informs the educators of the ideas, thoughts, questions, and interests of the children. It is from studying these documentations that the educators make planning decisions based on what individuals or groups of children find interesting, stimulating or challenging. • Parents are partners in education. – Parents are respected as a critical component of their child’s learning community.

Experiential Learning Experiential learning at Chicago Jewish Day School encourages a sense of ownership, allowing students to construct their own learning and make it come to life. Students have the opportunity to acquire and apply knowledge in a setting that is both appropriate and relevant. The students will interact directly with the area of study, resulting in an authentic and meaningful learning experience. Rather than merely thinking or reading about the topic, the students live and breathe it!

Integration Integration is a central component of Chicago Jewish Day School’s curriculum. Integrated learning allows children to broadly explore knowledge in various subjects as they relate to a certain theme. At Chicago Jewish Day School, we strive to integrate all of the curricular disciplines, such as the humanities, communication arts, natural sciences, mathematics, social studies, music, art, and physical education. Judaic Studies and Hebrew are integrated throughout all of these disciplines in meaningful and authentic ways. This holistic approach to learning reflects the real world, which is interactive, and promotes lifelong learning.


Junior Kindergarten Program of Studies

Junior Kindergarten Theme and Highlights In the Beginning • Beresheit

The theme of Junior Kindergarten is Beresheit (in the beginning). This is a connection to the first words of the Torah, “In the beginning, God created…”. For the Junior Kindergarten student, this translates into a year of new beginnings and the student’s awareness of the expanding world and his or her own place in it. Students will discover they, themselves, have the power to bring things into creation. They will navigate new classrooms and social structures, create new projects, implement new ideas, develop friendships, and learn they can contribute and impact the world around them through the creations of their own two hands. Classroom Highlights

Young children construct knowledge through having meaningful experiences and making connections to the world. Within this framework, the Junior Kindergarten students immerse themselves in learning about and celebrating the holidays, literature and literacy, early math concepts, and the physical world. During the year, the Junior Kindergarten classroom is filled with the sounds, sights, and tastes of learning. Entering the classroom, you might find students making and blowing a shofar; turning the entire block corner into a huge castle using boxes, tape, glue, and paint; participating in a Pesach (Passover) taste test; observing seeds and making journal entries about those observations; immersing themselves in an in-depth author study; sorting and classifying beans, beads, seeds, and other manipulatives; learning about symmetry in nature by observing snowflakes and then using blocks to build symmetrical structures; hearing stories read aloud and then acting them out; and dictating original stories to their teachers.

The City as Our Classroom We are devoted to the idea of exploring our environment and acquainting ourselves with the sights, smells, and culture of our surrounding community. Throughout the year, we will take walks around the neighborhood; visit local museums, synagogues, libraries, and the lakefront; and attend plays and symphonies. We look forward to learning from our community and inviting people who live and work around us into our classroom. We feel that their presence and knowledge enhances our learning. We believe there is tremendous value in connecting to the larger community and encourage our students to take care of each other and the world.

Curricular Highlights


Academic Curriculum Chicago Jewish Day School provides a standard of excellence in both Judaic and General Studies through an integrated, experiential curriculum that is attentive to students’ individual needs. We align our learning expectations with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Through school experiences, our students gain creative-thinking and critical thinking skills and develop a passion for lifelong learning. In the following pages, you will learn in detail about Chicago Jewish Day School’s curriculum in language arts, Hebrew and Judaic Studies, mathematics, social sciences, science, fine arts, physical education, and health.

Language Arts In our study of language arts at Chicago Jewish Day School, we strive to encourage a love of language and consistent exposure to the written word. Language experiences are woven into the fabric of our daily curriculum. Our language arts program is designed to produce readers who read for pleasure, information, and knowledge, and writers who write to communicate meaning. Through the study of language arts, students will be able to read fluently and understand a broad range of written materials. They must be able to communicate well and listen carefully and effectively. They should develop a command of the language and demonstrate their knowledge through speaking and writing for a variety of audiences and purposes. In addition, students should be able to study, retain, and use information from many sources. Teachers strive to create literate classrooms in which students are offered abundant opportunities to speak, listen, read, and write. Phonemic awareness, phonetics, shared reading, and journaling are stressed in the Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten classrooms. Beginning in Grade One, students learn in a reading and writing workshop model that teaches new literacy skills daily and gives children the freedom to work at their own pace and learning level. Language Arts Components

• Phonemic Awareness  Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize and manipulate sound units (phonemes) in spoken language. Children look at words independent of their meaning, see associations between sounds and words, and rearrange sounds to construct new words. Some examples include: listening for and identifying rhyming words; identifying beginning, middle, and end sounds; and counting and clapping out the number of sounds in words. • Shared Writing  In shared writing, the teacher and students brainstorm ideas and thoughts together, and the teacher acts as a scribe, writing the text as it is composed. Shared writing allows students to actively participate in the thought process involved in writing and not focus on the physical aspect of writing. Shared writing is also an effective method of teaching key concepts and skills needed in the writing process.


Junior Kindergarten Program of Studies

• Journaling  Journaling can take many forms depending on the developmental level of the student. From dictating their thoughts and ideas to a teacher to independently writing about their daily lives and feelings, students express themselves to their teachers and classmates in journals. Journals can also be used to tell stories and write scientific observations, literature responses, and mathematical explanations. • D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read)  D.E.A.R. provides students with time to read self-chosen texts. It promotes enjoyment of reading and allows children to see that reading for fun and pleasure is a valuable experience. • Buddy Reading  Buddy reading is a time for students to read in multiage groups. Students of different grade levels read to each other, practicing reading with fluency and expression, as well as developing listening and comprehension skills. This time also promotes relationships across the grade levels. • Shared Reading/Read Aloud  This is a time for students and teachers to come together to read a common text. The teacher models appropriate reading skills, such as expression and fluency. This is an opportunity for teachers and students to read together, as well as share their thoughts and ideas. • Speaking and Listening  The development and use of communication and language is at the heart of children’s learning. Our students develop speaking and listening skills across the curriculum through daily sharing, Morning Meeting, book talks, oral presentations, question and answer sessions, and small and large discussion groups.

Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing Junior Kindergarten students’ language skills are some of the best predictors of reading success in Grade One and Grade Two. Their use of language to listen and speak, as well as their understanding of reading and writing, will be critical to their academic success in the early elementary grades. Effective language and literacy instruction for young children go hand in hand. Young children are learning how to communicate what they want their listeners to know, how to play with language, how to interact with books, how to understand and tell stories, and how to begin to write as a form of communication. Language arts instruction for preschool children involves helping children gain the skills they need to function socially and in their daily lives. While teachers plan for engaging language and literacy experiences, they are also flexible, with room for spontaneity as children joyfully express themselves, explore books and stories, experiment with writing, and listen and learn together. Junior Kindergarten Language Arts Standards

Based on the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards 1. Demonstrate increasing competence in oral communication (listening and speaking). • Demonstrate understanding through age-appropriate responses. – Follow simple one-, two- and three-step directions. – Respond appropriately to questions from others. – Provide comments relevant to the context. – Identify emotions from facial expressions and body language.

Academic Curriculum


• Communicate effectively using language appropriate to the situation and audience. – Use language for a variety of purposes. – With teacher assistance, participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners (e.g., peers and adults in both small and large groups) about age-appropriate topics and texts. – Continue a conversation through two or more exchanges. – Engage in agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening, making eye contact, taking turns speaking). • Use language to convey information and ideas. – Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with teacher assistance, provide additional detail. • Speak using conventions of Standard English. – With teacher assistance, use complete sentences in speaking with peers and adults in individual and group situations. – Speak using age-appropriate conventions of Standard English grammar and usage. – Understand and use question words in speaking. • Use increasingly complex phrases, sentences, and vocabulary. – With teacher assistance, begin to use increasingly complex sentences. – Exhibit curiosity and interest in learning new words heard in conversations and books. – With teacher assistance, use new words acquired through conversations and book-sharing experiences. – With teacher assistance, explore word relationships to understand the concepts represented by common categories of words (e.g., food, clothing, vehicles). – With teacher assistance, use adjectives to describe people, places, and things. 2. Demonstrate understanding and enjoyment of literature. • Demonstrate interest in stories and books. – Engage in book-sharing experiences with purpose and understanding. – Look at books independently, pretending to read. • Recognize key ideas and details in stories. – With teacher assistance, ask and answer questions about books read aloud. – With teacher assistance, retell familiar stories with three or more key events. – With teacher assistance, identify main character(s) of the story. • Recognize concepts of books. – Interact with a variety of types of texts (e.g., storybooks, poems, rhymes, songs). – Identify the front and back covers of books and display the correct orientation of books and page-turning skills. – With teacher assistance, describe the role of an author and illustrator. • Establish personal connections with books. – With teacher assistance, discuss illustrations in books and make personal connections to the pictures and story. – With teacher assistance, compare and contrast two stories relating to the same topic.


Junior Kindergarten Program of Studies

3. Demonstrate interest in and understanding of informational text. • Recognize key ideas and details in nonfiction text. – With teacher assistance, ask and answer questions about details in a nonfiction book. – With teacher assistance, retell detail(s) about main topic in a nonfiction book. • Recognize features of nonfiction books. – With teacher assistance, identify basic similarities and differences in pictures and information found in two texts on the same topic. 4. Demonstrate increasing awareness of and competence in emergent reading skills and abilities. • Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print. – Recognize the differences between print and pictures. – Begin to follow words from left to right, top to bottom, and page-by-page. – Recognize the one-to-one relationship between spoken and written words. – Understand that words are separated by spaces in print. – Recognize that letters are grouped to form words. – Differentiate letters from numerals. • Demonstrate an emerging knowledge and understanding of the alphabet. – With teacher assistance, recite the alphabet. – Recognize and name some upper/lowercase letters of the alphabet, especially those in own name. – With teacher assistance, match some upper/lowercase letters of the alphabet. – With teacher assistance, begin to form some letters of the alphabet, especially those in own name. • Demonstrate an emerging understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes). – Recognize that sentences are made up of separate words. – With teacher assistance, recognize and match words that rhyme. – Demonstrate ability to segment and blend syllables in words (e.g., “trac/tor, tractor”). – With teacher assistance, isolate and pronounce the initial sounds in words. – With teacher assistance, blend sounds (phonemes) in one-syllable words (e.g., /c/ /a/ /t/ = cat). – With teacher assistance, begin to segment sounds (phonemes) in one-syllable words (e.g., cat = /c/ /a/ /t/). – With teacher assistance, begin to manipulate sounds (phonemes) in words (e.g., changing cat to hat to mat). • Demonstrate emergent phonics and word-analysis skills. – Recognize own name and common signs and labels in the environment. – With teacher assistance, demonstrate understanding of the one-to-one correspondence of letters and sounds. – With teacher assistance, begin to use knowledge of letters and sounds to spell words phonetically.

Academic Curriculum


5. Demonstrate increasing awareness of and competence in emergent writing skills and abilities. • Demonstrate growing interest and abilities in writing. – Experiment with writing tools and materials. – Use scribbles, “letterlike” forms, or letters/words to represent written language. – With teacher assistance, write own first name using appropriate upper/lowercase letters. • Use writing to represent ideas and information. – With teacher assistance, use a combination of drawing, dictating, or writing to express an opinion about a book or topic. – With teacher assistance, use a combination of drawing, dictating, or writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic. – With teacher assistance, use a combination of drawing, dictating, or writing to narrate a single event and provide a reaction to what happened. • Use writing to research and share knowledge. – Participate in group projects or units of study designed to learn about a topic of interest. – With teacher assistance, recall factual information and share that information through drawing, dictation, or writing.

Hebrew and Judaic Studies Students at Chicago Jewish Day School develop a love for Judaism, its culture, language, and traditions. They explore and experience Judaic Studies through activities including art, music, drama, and stories. In addition, they make connections to Jewish values as they study the weekly Parasha (Torah portion). Through their study of Hebrew, our students are able to read and understand both modern and ancient texts. Teachers guide students toward developing a deep bond with Israel as they examine its history and current culture. Our general and Judaic curricula are interwoven, ensuring that our students feel a connection to their heritage in everything they do.


Junior Kindergarten Program of Studies

Junior Kindergarten Hebrew and Judaic Studies Learning Standards

The Junior Kindergarten students begin their Hebrew education through exposure to both oral and written Hebrew language. They learn about Parashat HaShavua (the weekly Torah portion) and holidays through stories and sensory experiences. The students begin to learn about the symbols and importance of Israel to the Jewish people. In Junior Kindergarten the students begin to learn Tefillot (prayers) in their classroom as well as with the rest of the community. The students participate in Havdallah and Kabbalat Shabbat each week. The theme of Chesed (kindness) permeates the classroom as children learn to be kind and caring members of the community. Students will begin to understand Shabbat. Students will develop an awareness of: • the beginning and ending of Shabbat • Kabbalat Shabbat and Havdallah • the days of week in relation to Shabbat • the idea of rest and family time on Shabbat • the connection between Shabbat and the creation story • Shabbat ritual objects, their use, and corresponding Brachot • reciting Brachot in a group for candle lighting, Kiddush, Hamotzi, and Havdallah • Shabbat rituals as a reflection of the Mitzvot Students will begin to understand Jewish holidays. Students will develop an awareness of: • a beginning familiarity with historical stories and figures associated with the holidays • an emerging concept of the customs and rituals associated with the holidays • participating in sensory experiences associated with the holidays • holiday symbols and ritual objects, their use, and corresponding Brachot • selected Brachot and songs associated with holidays • the difference between Jewish and secular holidays Students will begin to understand the importance of Torah. Students will develop an awareness of: • the parts of a Torah scroll including adornments • the five books of the Torah • the Torah’s division into Parashiyot, which are read weekly • selected stories, characters, and Mitzvot associated with the weekly Parasha

Academic Curriculum


Students will begin to understand the importance of Israel to the Jewish people. Students will develop an awareness of: • the Jewish connection to Israel • the stories in the Torah and their connection to Israel • personal experiences in Israel • Israeli culture • the symbols of the State of Israel, including the Star of David and the Israeli flag • selected important religious sites • Israeli music and songs about Israel Students will begin to learn Tefillah (prayers). Students will develop an awareness of: • prayer as a means to connect with God • the importance of and the ability to recite selected Brachot • the difference between prayer and classroom singing • houses of prayer and their different names Students will begin to learn the Hebrew language. Students will develop an awareness of: • Hebrew letters recognition • phonemic awareness • simple spoken Hebrew • Hebrew vocabulary parallel to what they are learning in General Studies • Hebrew vocabulary reflecting their school and home environments Students will begin to learn Jewish values. Students will develop an awareness of: • what is meant by Chesed to friends and community • demonstrate kindness and helpfulness • the Mitzvah of giving Tzedakah

Mathematics Chicago Jewish Day School math program is centered on creating a mathematical environment in which children are encouraged to think, invent, investigate, and make connections. The teachers pose questions and set up challenges and then observe, question, and listen as children get busy building meaning for themselves. Every child will bring something personal and unique to the exploration and will glean something different from the experience. Various problem-solving strategies are accepted and, in fact, encouraged, as they help children gain confidence and take risks. Our goal is to produce mathematically powerful thinkers and problem-solvers who are confident and feel comfortable using mathematics in their daily lives. We celebrate the diversity of thinking and focus on the children’s ideas, their reasons and explanations, rather than solely on answers.


Junior Kindergarten Program of Studies

Young children are natural mathematicians, fascinated by what is “bigger,” wanting “more” of their favorite things, and very concerned with whether the distribution of those things is “fair.” These kinds of observations of the world are mathematical at their core because they are about quantity and size. Early Childhood is a time where experiences of the world are equally affected by ideas about spatial relationships and shape. They explore the concepts of geometry whether they are maneuvering through the living room, building a block tower, or choosing a puzzle piece. Such daily experiences are packed with mathematical concepts that fascinate and challenge young thinkers and can eventually prompt analytical thought, growing precision, and abstraction. The major mathematical task of early childhood is to coordinate these natural interests and understandings with the beginnings of a useful knowledge of conventional math concepts and skills. Unfortunately, for many children, meaningful mathematical thinking is displaced too early by an emphasis on math “facts” (such as 2 + 2 = 4) and math “procedures” about what to do when. Too many young children learn how to say the counting words up to 20 without being able to successfully count out a set of five objects. While the procedures—such as the order of the count words—must be learned, it is crucial that they be meaningfully connected to things children understand and care about, such as “how many” children can fit at the play dough table or “how many” slices of apple they can have at lunch. To effectively build on young children’s innate interests in quantity and space and move their thinking in conventional mathematical directions, the most important thing teachers can do is talk with them, helping them “see” the math in the world. When adults provide rich language to mathematical experiences, such as “thicker” or “longer” rather than simply “bigger,” children understand that there are many different types of attributes that can be compared and measured. When teachers ask, “How do you know the door looks like a rectangle?” they support children’s budding conception of geometric rules, such as a rectangle having four sides. When teachers count with one-to-one correspondence to find out “how many children are in the group today,” they demonstrate the use of whole numbers in a way that is very real to children and matters to them. These sorts of interactions, based on experiences that are a natural part of children’s everyday lives, are the best way to ensure the development of beginning mathematical understandings that inspire children to keep learning. The Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards (IELDS) mathematics standards reflect our understanding of how children’s mathematical thinking develops during early childhood. They provide a useful guide to the kinds of mathematics experiences children ought to have prior to their Kindergarten year. Junior Kindergarten Mathematical Standards

Based on the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards 1. Demonstrate and apply a knowledge and sense of numbers, including numeration and operations. • Demonstrate beginning understanding of numbers, number names, and numerals. – Count with understanding and recognize “how many” in small sets up to 5. – Use subitizing (the rapid and accurate judgment of how many items there are without counting) to identify the number of objects in sets of 4 or less.

Academic Curriculum


– Understand and appropriately use informal or everyday terms that mean zero, such as “none” or “nothing.” – Connect numbers to quantities they represent using physical models and informal representations. – Differentiate numerals from letters and recognize some single-digit written numerals. – Verbally recite numbers from 1 to 10. – Be able to say the number after another in the series up to 9 when given a “running start,” as in “What comes after one, two, three, four...?” • Add and subtract to create new numbers and begin to construct sets. – Recognize that numbers (or sets of objects) can be combined or separated to make another number. – How understanding of how to count out and construct sets of objects of a given number up to 5. – Identify the new number created when small sets (up to 5) are combined or separated. – Informally solve simple mathematical problems presented in a meaningful context. – Fairly share a set of up to 10 items between two children. • Begin to make reasonable estimates of numbers. – Estimate number of objects in a small set. • Tell whether a set is more or less than 5. • Presented with a set of 7 or 8, estimate a number in the range of 5 to 12. • Compare quantities using appropriate vocabulary terms. – Compare two collections to see if they are equal or determine which is more, using a procedure of the child’s choice. • Describe comparisons with appropriate vocabulary, such as “more, less, greater than, fewer, equal to, or same as.” 2. Explore measurement of objects and quantities. • Measure objects and quantities using direct comparison methods and nonstandard units. – Compare, order, and describe objects according to a single attribute. – Use nonstandard units to measure attributes such as length and capacity. – Use vocabulary that describes and compares length, height, weight, capacity, and size. – Begin to construct a sense of time through participation in daily activities. • Begin to make estimates of measurements. – Practice estimating in everyday play and everyday measurement problems. • Explore tools used for measurement. – With teacher assistance, explore use of measuring tools that use standard units to measure objects and quantities that are meaningful to the child. – Know that different attributes, such as length, weight, and time, are measured using different kinds of units, such as feet, pounds, and seconds.


Junior Kindergarten Program of Studies

3. Identify and describe common attributes, patterns, and relationships in objects. • Explore objects and patterns. – Sort, order, compare, and describe objects according to characteristics or attribute(s). – Recognize, duplicate, extend, and create simple patterns in various formats. • Describe and document patterns using symbols. – With adult assistance, represent a simple repeating pattern by verbally describing it or by modeling it with objects or actions. 4. Explore concepts of geometry and spatial relations. • Recognize, name, and match common shapes. – Recognize and name common two- and three-dimensional shapes and describe some of their attributes (e.g., number of sides, straight or curved lines). – Sort collections of two- and three-dimensional shapes by type (e.g., triangles, rectangles, circles, cubes, spheres, pyramids). – Identify and name some of the faces (flat sides) of common three-dimensional shapes using two-dimensional shape names. – Combine two-dimensional shapes to create new shapes. – Think about/imagine how altering the spatial orientation of a shape will change how it looks (e.g., turning it upside down). • Demonstrate an understanding of location and ordinal position, using appropriate vocabulary. – Show understanding of location and ordinal position. – Use appropriate vocabulary for identifying location and ordinal position. 5. Begin to make predictions and collect data information. • Generate questions and processes for answering them. – With teacher assistance, come up with meaningful questions that can be answered through gathering information. – Gather data about themselves and their surroundings to answer meaningful questions. • Organize and describe data and information. – Organize, represent, and analyze information using concrete objects, pictures, and graphs, with teacher support. – Make predictions about the outcome prior to collecting information, with teacher support and multiple experiences over time. • Determine, describe, and apply the probabilities of events. – Describe likelihood of events with appropriate vocabulary, such as “possible, impossible, always, and never.”

Academic Curriculum


Social Sciences The study of the social sciences at Chicago Jewish Day School helps prepare students to become part of society. It allows them to learn about the past to understand the present and future. Our social science program provides students with experiences that help them decide what they would like their role in society to be. It presents opportunities for exploration and focuses on children’s curiosity, creativity, and interests. Junior Kindergarten Social Science Learning Standards

The study of social science helps students develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good. Students are preparing to become citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world. The curriculum integrates the disciplines of social science to promote civic competence. Students will be able to: • recognize the reasons for rules • participate in voting as a way of making choices • develop an awareness of the roles of leaders in their environment • identify community workers and the services they provide • begin to understand the use of trade to obtain goods and services • recall information about the immediate past • locate objects and places in familiar environments • express beginning geographic thinking • recognize similarities and differences in people • understand that each of us belongs to a family and recognize that families vary

Science Science is a set of processes that includes asking questions to gain a better understanding of our world. Our science curriculum focuses on encouraging students’ curiosity, creativity, and interest. Through hands-on experiences, students use the process of scientific inquiry, learn new skills, and gain an understanding of key scientific concepts. Students’ ability to investigate scientifically helps them in all areas of learning. Junior Kindergarten Science Learning Standards

The goal of science education is to develop in learners an understanding of the inquiry process as it is related to key concepts and principles of the life, physical, and earth/space sciences. The curriculum addresses the integration of the sciences with technology and society as students learn to connect the importance of scientific knowledge to its application in everyday life. Students will be able to: • use senses to explore and observe materials and natural phenomena • collect, describe, and record information • use scientific tools such as thermometers, balance scales, and magnifying glasses


Junior Kindergarten Program of Studies

• investigate and categorize living things in the environment • show an awareness of changes that occur in themselves and their environment • describe and compare basic needs of living things • make comparisons among objects that have been observed • describe the effects of forces in nature (e.g., wind, gravity, magnetism) • use common weather-related vocabulary (e.g., rainy, snowy, sunny, windy) • participate in recycling in their environment • identify basic concepts associated with night, day, and seasons • begin to understand basic safety practices • express wonder and ask questions about their world • begin to be aware of technology and how it affects their lives

Fine Arts, Physical Education, and Health Throughout the day, children will have opportunities to dance, design, compose, move, and sing. We believe in educating the whole child and allow plenty of time to nurture creative and artistic skills. Children will be instructed in rhythmic activities and fitness, healthy living, interactive listening and expressive music, and the organizational principles of design, as well as the expressive qualities of the visual arts. Junior Kindergarten Fine Arts Learning Standards

In addition to their intrinsic value, the arts contribute to children’s development and enrich the quality of life. The fine arts — dance, drama, music, and visual arts — are fundamental ways of knowing and thinking. The fine arts curriculum addresses the language of the fine arts, sensory elements, organizational principles, expressive qualities, and how the arts are similar, different, or related to one another. Students also learn how to interpret visual images, sounds, movement, and story. The creation and performance of the arts is emphasized along with the role of the arts in civilization. Students will: • investigate the elements of dance • investigate the elements of drama • investigate the elements of music • investigate the elements of visual arts • describe or respond to their own creative work or the creative work of others

Academic Curriculum


Junior Kindergarten Physical Education and Health Standards

Physical development programs offer students the opportunity to enhance the capacity of their minds and bodies. Healthy minds and bodies contribute to academic success. Students will be able to: • engage in active play using gross motor skills • engage in active play using fine motor skills • coordinate movements to perform complex tasks • follow simple safety rules while participating in activities • participate in developmental activities related to physical fitness • exhibit increased endurance • follow rules and procedures when participating in group physical activities • demonstrate ability to cooperate with others during physical activities • participate in simple practices that promote healthy living and prevent illness • identify body parts and their functions • act independently in caring for personal hygiene • use appropriate communication skills when expressing needs, wants, and feelings • use socially acceptable ways to resolve conflict • participate in activities to learn to avoid dangerous situations


Junior Kindergarten Program of Studies

3730 North California Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60618 phone 773 271 2700 fax 773 271 2570

Profile for Chicago Jewish Day School

CJDS Junior Kindergarten Program of Studies  

The theme of Junior Kindergarten is Beresheit (in the beginning). This is a connection to the first words of Torah, "In the beginning, God c...

CJDS Junior Kindergarten Program of Studies  

The theme of Junior Kindergarten is Beresheit (in the beginning). This is a connection to the first words of Torah, "In the beginning, God c...