ABOUT JOSEPH KUSHNER HEBREW ACADEMY
Pirkei Avot describes Torah study in a way that best characterizes our yeshiva: "turn the Torah over, and over again, for everything is within."
For more than 60 years, our Modern Orthodox, co-educational yeshiva has inspired children to embrace Torah study and ideals, and strive for personal excellence, in a safe, supportive environment. Our Judaic and General Studies programs are designed to teach students how to learn by challenging them to discover their strengths, expand their understanding of the world, and deepen their connection with the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Graduates of the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy are well prepared to take responsibility for themselves and their communities, because we encourage them to forge strong, healthy identities and to treasure their priceless heritage.
Nursery 3 Year Olds
JKHA's youngest learners are enriched through a stimulating learning environment where children have the opportunities to explore, discover and cultivate new experiences.
Students will develop a love of Torah and Jewish values, be introduced to the alphabet, numbers, colors and shapes, develop their language, vocabulary and life skills and evolve socially and emotionally over the course of the year.
These critical academic and developmental milestones will be nurtured through songs, listening and re-enacting stories, painting, shared group and individual projects, as well as the use of specifically designed hands-on centers in the classroom. These centers foster opportunities for imagination, experimentation,
while also enhancing receptive and auditory language development and give our young learners the opportunity to practice and develop crucial social skills.
Back to Top
Our Pre-K students are encouraged to explore their world as we guide them and provide them with a strong foundation for future learning. Academic readiness focuses on teaching the skills necessary to learn in a classroom setting. The children also begin developing phonemic awareness and familiarity with the Hebrew and English alphabets. Through stories, songs, class discussions and a print-rich environment, the students learn how to use language in order to share ideas and experiences. The students are first introduced to programs like Treasures, Handwriting Without Tears, Math in Focus and Pre-K Numbers and Math. In addition to developing language skills and fine and gross motor skills, they begin to develop number sense and early math concepts. The pre-kindergarten program also focuses on the emotional, social, and spiritual development of each child. Through guided play and age-appropriate lessons, the students begin to develop a love of learning and enjoy a positive first experience in school.
Our classroom model allows for and encourages integration between the Judaic and General Studies, with an emphasis on pride in Jewish identity and familiarity with ritual and tradition. Torah values are incorporated into daily instruction and activities.
Back to Top
Our kindergarten creates a warm, friendly atmosphere fostering learning and self-discovery. Although guided play and center work continue to be a source of learning, the students begin to transition into more structured lessons, via both whole-class and small, developmentally appropriate learning groups. The Treasures literacy program emphasizes beginning word-recognition skills, expansion of oral and written vocabulary, and nurturing emerging writing skills. Through hands-on experiences in mathematics, students solve simple word problems, recognize number concepts to 10, and use the calendar to interpret and recognize patterns. In science, the students are encouraged to make observations and explore their natural environment, while social studies introduces the value of community through shared personal experiences, literature, songs, and poems. All kindergarten students learn the skills needed to work autonomously and collaboratively in a safe classroom environment which encourages good midot and acceptance of others.
Our Kindergarten children learn foundational content in a dynamic Jewish environment focusing on Hebrew literacy and the Jewish environment through Bible stories, chagim, and Shabbat observance. The Hebrew program emphasizes letter recognition and handwriting of block print. As new Hebrew letters or Jewish concepts are introduced, teachers simultaneously introduce new books with that content. Students learn Bible stories by creating their own Parsha books. Weekly hands-on Shabbat activities connect Jewish law and practice, while holiday projects partner home and school celebrations.
Back to Top
The first-grade curriculum transitions students into a more formal learning environment, encouraging them to internalize what they are taught and to take an active role in their learning. With the Treasures program, children continue to expand on the basics of literacy with phonics, comprehension and writing. The children work in small differentiated groups with both fiction and nonfiction texts. Math in Focus, a Singapore Math-based program, is used to develop their understanding of place values to 100, basic addition and subtraction to 20 as well as other early math concepts such as time, measurement and geometry. The students move from a concrete understanding of math to a more conceptual one, using new skills to solve real-life word problems. In social studies, students explore the concept of family through a multicultural study of families around the world. National holidays are also integrated into the curriculum. The children learn science through hands-on activities, observations, and hypotheses about their physical environment with STC, a Smithsonian-based science curriculum which encourages students to learn science through exploration and discovery. They begin to develop the observation skills that will be the foundation for future scientific study at JKHA.
As the building block for tefillah (prayer) and Chumash (Bible) study, Hebrew reading skills are emphasized. As they enjoy learning with the Kitah Alef mascot, Ariot, the Tal Am curriculum builds their proficiency until they attain basic reading fluency. The culmination of this endeavor is the first-grade siddur (prayer book) presentation celebrating their reading proficiency as well as their readiness to engage in tefillah as both a textual and religious experience. Students are introduced to writing Hebrew script with the Ktav B’Kalut or Handwriting Without Tears program. Weekly Parsha studies and preparation for the numerous chagim connect students to fundamental Torah ideals, Jewish concepts and practices.
Back to Top
Second graders become increasingly autonomous learners and gain a strong sense of social and academic responsibility in a nurturing, collaborative environment. They begin to make the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Students continue to use the Treasures literacy program to gain more sophisticated fluency, phonics, vocabulary and comprehension skills in small, differentiated guided reading groups. They use the writing process to brainstorm, edit and collaborate on more complex writing pieces.
In mathematics, students use the Math in Focus program to build understanding of numbers to 1,000 and expand their fluency with addition, subtraction and multiplication facts, applying these skills to measurement, time and geometry. The ultimate goal is the ability to use those skills to solve real-life word problems. In science, students build on the observation skills developed in first grade. Through the Smithsonian-based Science and Technology Concepts Elementary program, students are provided with hands-on exploration and experimentation in the field of physical science. The social studies curriculum introduces geographic location through map study as well as informational texts about Native Americans, Early Colonial life and national holidays.
Second-grade students continue to build their Ivrit and Kriya reading skills with the Tal Am curriculum. The underlying theme of the school year is Tov Bakita U’babayit (It is good at school and home), encourages the students to explore their world in a Hebrew environment. They also begin a formal introduction to the Chumash with a special presentation to mark the transition. Students learn to navigate the Chumash with a focus on recognizing and identifying the root of a verb as part of the L’havin U’lhaskil program, and glean meaning of the text and storyline with context clues. The morals and middot of our forefathers and mothers are modeled through Chumash study, while Shabbat serves as a starting point for teaching Jewish practice as it relates to the Jewish calendar.
Back to Top
Third grade at JKHA is a transitional year; students become increasingly more autonomous learners while simultaneously learning to work collaboratively with peers. They continue to benefit from a warm and caring learning environment that fosters individual growth and a desire to learn. The Treasures program provides the students with a plethora of leveled guided readers—both fiction and nonfiction, which enhance comprehension and phonetic skills. Through daily writing exercises, students expand, elaborate and edit their work. In mathematics, students use Singapore math methodology to further explore the four operations as well as fraction concepts, statistics, measurement, and geometry. They learn to solve realistic word problems using a variety of strategies, including model drawing. In science, students learn critical thinking skills and develop scientific knowledge through an inquiry-based program. The focus of the third grade social studies curriculum is an in-depth investigation of different types of communities, including the social, economic and geographical features of rural, urban and suburban communities.
The underlying theme of the school year, B’Hatzlacha (Success), underscores the importance of learning the skills to successfully navigate a Hebrew immersion classroom. An emphasis on paragraph writing equips students with the intellectual tools to become independent learners. As they progress in Chumash study, they learn to identify the differences between dialogue and narrative passages. They are introduced to Rashi script as well as the commentary of Rashi. This allows them to begin analyzing the text from various angles and to delve deeper into its multiple meanings. Hebrew grammar is stressed and interwoven into both Chumash and Ivrit units. Moreover, units dealing with the weekly Parsha emphasize real-life applications of our religious ideals, while each Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of the new lunar month) serves as a model for the practical and spiritual events in the Jewish calendar.
Back to Top
By fourth grade, students are increasingly independent and self-directed. They continue to use a balanced literacy approach for vocabulary expansion and sophisticated comprehension strategies such as inferencing, distinguishing between fact and opinion, and synthesizing ideas. The Treasures program continues to be a source of selected leveled stories that allow the students to hone their skills while receiving a differentiated literary experience. The Math in Focus program provides the students with extensive real-world problem solving opportunities using the skills attained in their study of whole numbers, fractions and decimals. They continue to explore geometric concepts and practice analyzing data. In social studies, students explore geographic, political, historical and social concepts related to their study of the state of New Jersey, which is then extended to their study of the United States. The science curriculum provides the students with a framework for scientific discovery with the opportunity to apply their prior scientific knowledge to new scenarios and enhance their problem-solving abilities.
The Tal Am program continues to build Chumash and Ivrit skills while furthering independent learning. The theme of the school year, Hakita HaMeuchedet (the unified classroom), teaches the student the value of learning and working together as a group. Hebrew composition is an important part of the Ivrit curriculum and students begin to study Hebrew poetry. The Chumash curriculum emphasizes higher-order thinking, asking students to make inferences, predictions, and connections between events as they study the text along with the commentary of Rashi. In addition, fourth-graders begin the study of Navi (the books of the prophets), focusing specifically on sefer Yehoshua (The Book of Joshua) along with an introduction to Nach (the books of the prophets and the books of the writings) as a whole. As part of the study of the weekly Parsha, medieval and modern commentaries are introduced as personalities to expand their Torah knowledge within the context of Jewish history.
Back to Top
The JKHA art education program instills a love for art of all different media. Children develop an appreciation of the style, history and contributions of master artists. Through study of the works of Miro, Monet, Picasso, Matisse, Andy Warhol, Marc Chagall and Van Gogh—to name just a few—students are exposed to a diversity of artistic styles. They are encouraged to create their own works of art inspired by these artististic styles, working with different media such as pencil, crayon, watercolors, paints and clay. Children are given many opportunities to express themselves creatively and to use their imagination as they produce original works of art.
Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students participate in the Waterford differentiated independent computer program that helps enhance
student learning in literacy and math.
First, second and third grade students participate in The SuccessMaker Program. Students using this digital learning program have the opportunity to hone their math and lliteracy skills through the individualized computer program.
First grade students also participate in the Ariot Cal computer based program. Students work on this web-based computer program that supports theTal Am Program used in the Judaic classrooms.
Third grade students also have one session each week with the educational technology specialist to integrate iPad use on special projects relating to their classroom room in General as well as Judaic studies.
The Fourth Grade computer program introduces students to word processing in Google Docs, file organization in Google Drive and art in Google Drawings. Students learn how to format documents using different fonts, styles, sizes, alignment, and tables. They learn how to collaborate to liven up their presentations with color, pictures, clip art and shapes. By the end of the year they have the skills to type up a composition or report, create a Slides presentation and produce a brochure.
The music program introduces students to the art and science of music. Children in the youngest grades are encouraged to explore the different timbres, tones and pitches produced by different instruments. By actively listening to the differences in the sounds they produce, they begin to hear and appreciate music in a more interactive way. As they progress each year, more complex musical concepts such as harmony and orchestration are introduced. With music classes integrated into school productions such as the Siddur Play, Chumash Play, Chanukah Concert and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, students learn not only the basics of musical theory, but applied music as well. Students at JKHA learn songs related to both Jewish and American holidays and can be counted on to fill the corridors of our school with their melodious voices!
The physical education program is designed to develop each student’s physical fitness level while emphasizing sportsmanship and cooperation. The classes provide a safe environment in which students feel comfortable trying new activities while developing the skills for overall fitness. Instruction is differentiated by age level; our experienced teachers have in-depth knowledge of early childhood physiology, and structure activities appropriate to each stage of gross and fine motor skill development. From the youngest grades, they place great importance on teaching children how to avoid sports injuries by proper warm-ups and gymnasium safety procedures. The overarching goal of the curriculum is to nurture a nefesh bri’ah b’guf bari—a healthy soul in a healthy body. A sampling of units covered includes: ■ Gymnastics ■ Basketball ■ European Handball ■ Volleyball ■ Football ■ Pickleball ■ Ultimate Frisbee ■ Track and field ■ Fitness testing ■ Jump rope ■ Games ■ Soccer ■ Softball ■ Lacrosse
Back to Top