Grades 4, 5, 6

Grades 4, 5, 6
Sunday 9:30 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. & Tuesday 4:15 – 6:15 p.m.

The 4th – 6th graders participate in our core curriculum of Bible, holidays, Jewish values (middot), mitzvot, Jewish history and prayer. Prayer goals and Jewish studies topics prepare children for their B’nai Mitzvah and to become adults in the Jewish community. Our educators combine innovative informal and formal education approaches.

Students in our Mensch Lab benefit from our state-of-the-art Resource room. We focus on technology and informal experiences for inclusive education for every child. Our special education trained Resource teachers cater to individual needs.

Students participate in a Ma’ariv services (the weekday evening service) as part of the Tuesday afternoon Mensch Lab experience.  They also participate in Shacharit services (weekday morning service) as part of Sunday mornings. Student attendance at Shabbat services during the year is paramount for deep and authentic understanding of Jewish ritual life.

4th Grade: Students in fourth grade take a more global view of K’lal Yisrael in their exploration of Amcha/Peoplehood.  They begin to think about the Torah not just as a series of independent stories but as a body of literature.  Here they emphasize the Torah’s structure and its physical creation and manifestation as a scroll and in a chumash format.  They will also continue their exploration of Bereishit/Genesis and Shemot/Exodus.  Students will also focus on gaining an understanding of the Land, history and people of the modern State of Israel.  Learning about and participating in the holidays of Shavuot and Yom Ha’Atzma’ut will help our students further connect the concepts of K’lal Yisrael and brit.

In fourth grade, students will also begin to study the Shabbat evening and morning prayer service in earnest. Through the acquisition of vocabulary, grammar and prayer skills, students will be able to participate in worship and ritual activities in a meaningful way. Students will explore the significance each prayer holds for them and come to understand that each of us relates to prayer differently. Students will participate in bi-weekly Tefillah opportunities that will enable them to understand the keva/fixed framework of the Jewish worship service and feel the kavannah/focus or intention of the flow and meaning of the prayers. Through these cognitive and affective experiences, students will develop their own understanding of our prayers and  services.

5th Grade: Fifth grade students can already perceive that they have grown and changed both as people and as Jews from the time they began their explorations in the Mensch Lab. Change and growth are normal, natural parts of our individual lives and of the life of the Jewish people. Through a close examination of the Jewish life cycle, students will see themselves on a journey through an ever-changing Jewish life.  Not only will they learn about the life cycle as a framework for accessing the sacred, but they will also engage in a focused study of kedushah/holiness through the lenses of time and space.  These Project-Based Learning experiences are facilitated in conjunction with the JFGP-Sponsored community Havayah program for fifth graders in Philadelphia.  In addition, learning about and participating in the holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah will reinforce the concept of continual growth and change in our lives. Study of the books of the Nevi’im/Prophets and Ketuvim/Writings will reveal how the Jewish people adapted to new circumstances and experiences. Our students will see the Prophets as role models of people who struggled to find meaning and justice in Judaism and Jewish practice.

Our study of the Shabbat evening and morning service continues with the second major division of worship—the Amidah. The Amidah includes both communal and personal prayers.  Through their learning, students will understand how prayer can function in a meaningful way for our community and for ourselves as individuals. Students will continue to participate in our bi-weekly Tefillah opportunity, helping them to develop cognitively and spiritually.

6th Grade: The story of our people as expressed in VaYikra/Leviticus, B’midbar/Numbers, and Devarim/Deuteronomy demonstrates how a tribe of former slaves, bound together by their brit with God and with each other, becomes a kehillah/community and Amcha/a People.  Sixth grade marks a bridge between our primary and secondary educational programs. Throughout the sixth grade year, students further discover how their Jewish identity is shifting from that of a child to that of a maturing, young adult. Students will review the entire holiday cycle with an emphasis on finding relevance to their lives now and in the future.  As students individuate from their parents and teachers, they concentrate on the sacred obligations they will choose to take on as maturing members of the Jewish community. As such, they also study the Holocaust and American Jewish history to help round out their understanding of our common Jewish story.  Students will refocus their Torah learning to include teaching others.

Students will master additional sections of the Jewish worship service—namely, the Torah service and concluding prayers. The ritual of the Torah service will challenge students to commit to participating in the ongoing process of revelation that binds K’lal Yisrael and God together in our eternal brit.  During our bi-weekly Tefillah service, sixth grade students act as role models for our younger students.

Highlights of the sixth grade year include the chance to enter the Rochelle Brill Memorial Holocaust Writing Contest and the class leadership of our Mensch Lab Yom HaShoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration service.

We encourage our sixth graders to enrich their peer-based Jewish experience through participation in BAFTY678 programs at various points throughout the year.