Remember when you were six years old and you won a goldfish at the Temple Purim Carnival? When you left the synagogue building that day you had created memories, and forged bonds with members of the community, and you also knew a few things about Purim, its heroes and villains, and the moral of the story.
This is what we strive for at the Slavin-Malkin Religious School of Temple Beth El: engagement, connection, community and Jewish knowledge. Yes, Jewish knowledge is last on the list. Not because it is less important than the things that are listed before it, but because all of the other things set the stage not only for positive learning, but for lifelong commitment to Jewish living. It’s possible to open a book or open a browser to find answers to your questions about Judaism, it’s impossible to create memories and connections the same way.
Like the Reggio Emilia approach popular in many pre-schools, we allow some of our curriculum to be student driven. When, in a discussion of caring for others, a first grader remarked that he had an uncle in a nursing home, the teacher turned it into an opportunity to make gifts for residents in a senior citizen’s home. When, during the study of Hatikavah, two students mentioned that they played musical instruments; they were invited to learn the music and accompany the class after they had mastered the words and the tune.
Our students enjoy the excitement of experiential learning. We are particularly proud of our unique Mishpachot program. Students join together in mixed age groups to experience Judaism through revolving arts and culture programs. Grades K-6 rotate through activities including Jewish cooking, drama, visual arts, movement, team building, and social action. We strengthen our community and build lasting friendships amongst peers and relationships with staff; all while having fun and learning.
At Temple Beth-El, we strive to teach the whole child. Our educators work with a special-education consultant to meet the varying learning styles of each child in their classrooms. Our teachers not only know which of their students learn through movement and which through listening, they also know who plays hockey and who dances.
As well as our teachers know our students, we also create an environment where they learn to value one another. Our Madrichim (teaching assistants) participate in our high school program and model the Jewish values of respect and loving-kindness. They also show our students the benefits of investing in your Jewish community as a young person.
Engagement. Connection. Experience. Respect. Knowledge. Make a Jewish home for your child at Temple Beth-El.