EARLY CHILDHOOD

Kindergarten Overview

Kindergarten marks a child’s entrance into formal education. Bi-Cultural’s enriched curriculum in General and Jewish Studies increases the intellectual development of all children while nurturing their unique talents and interests. At the core of our multidisciplinary program, are meaningful themes, around which we create experiences that inspire students’ curiosity and motivate within them a desire to know more. Our greatest goal is for children to experience the joy of learning and discovery every single day at school!

Through multiple learning modalities, students tap into the sphere of critical thinking.  They learn to analyze, conceptualize, categorize, synthesize, compare, contrast, recognize cause and effect, and use “common sense” to reach conclusions.  Our greatest goal is for children to experience the joy of learning and discovery every single day at school!

Jewish Values & Ethics

Daily, Bi-Cultural kindergarteners learn and practice Jewish values and ethics (midot) that include kindness (chesed) and respectful behavior (derech eretz).  They acknowledge and respect differences in others, whether physical or cultural.  Our children love being who they are, as Jews and as Americans, because they are imbued with standards of behavior that are the foundations of lifetime character development and good citizenship.

Encouragement & Recognition

Each child’s self-confidence is built at Bi-Cultural through their teachers’ continuous support, ongoing encouragement and recognition of achievement.  Each day is filled with pride in their accomplishments. (NOTE:  An environment focused on a sense of wonder invites these BCHA children to welcome the world that is opening before them. Support Services to help meet student learning needs are available in our school with Bi-Cultural’s team of specially-trained and licensed professionals.

KINDERGARTEN CURRICULUM

Language Arts

Our literacy program focuses on comprehension, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency and vocabulary. The Wilson Foundations Program is implemented to explicitly teach reading and writing skills through a multisensory approach. In handwriting, we model through stroke patterns by using a sky line, plane line, grass line and worm line. The students are exposed to a variety of literary genres: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and original stories written and illustrated by the students themselves. Creative writing starts with simple sentence structure and progresses to the writing of journals, as students learn about the holidays, thematic units, historic events and the science program. Language arts are woven into every aspect of the curriculum in Kindergarten, as we lay the groundwork for life-long literacy.

Mathematics

The Bi-Cultural Kindergarten math curriculum includes practical applications that arise in our daily lives. Concepts introduced include sorting, counting, patterning, graphing, grouping, telling time, money, measurement, shapes, estimation, addition and subtraction. Math becomes more meaningful through an integration of holidays and thematic units. Using a variety of manipulatives, we create a concrete and hands-on learning experience.

 

Science and Engineering

The wonders of the natural world infuse every other subject in the classroom with joy and a sense of experimentation, exploration and developing conclusions. The children investigate topics throughout the year with a hands-on STEAM-based approach (blending Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math). Students will test ideas, build simple machines and connect their ideas in class discussions. We are excited to integrate Makerspace Jr. into our curriculum.

 

Makerspace Jr./STEAM/The Tinkering Child

Our innovative Makerspace Jr. is the space in our school especially designed for early childhood! This exciting initiative encourages STEAM learning from an early age so that by the time children graduate to using our Makerspace for older students, they will have already developed the mindset of the tinkering child. Makerspace Jr. is based upon a TMI model: Think, Make, and Improve. It’s a simple model that encourages flexibility, collaboration, and reflection, all while propelling children forward in their projects. When children feel “stuck” in the creative process, they can step back and consider the design model and regroup. For students who are hesitant or resistant to making, creating, and tinkering, this simple process will help them work through each stage as they gain familiarity and confidence in becoming a maker.

 

Jewish Studies

Our Jewish Studies curriculum is the heartbeat of the Bi-Cultural Kindergarten program. We weave Torah concepts into everything we do at school. Our kindergarteners also exhibit a great deal of joy and excitement during their daily Torah lessons! These sessions come to life in Kindergarten, beginning with our incredible journey through the story of creation. As always, we use an interdisciplinary approach, utilizing language, poetry, rhymes, math, art projects and so much more. Our morning Tefillah starts our day off on a happy and delicious note, with an expression of joy and thanks for all of our many blessings. A major focus of Jewish Studies is to instill in our students a desire to make the world better through performing mitzvot (good deeds). They sing for visiting Israeli soldiers and for senior citizens. Our kindergarteners learn to be proud of their cultural identity, as they become aware of their social responsibilities to one another. Each facet of the program gives them another opportunity to express their strong connection to their heritage.

 

Hebrew Language

Early childhood is the ideal time to tap into oral language development. Exposure to a second language enhances cognitive ability and the development of critical thinking and acute listening skills, as well as increased imagination and creativity. We are delighted to implement the Chalav U’dvash Hebrew program for our children in Kindergarten. Additionally, throughout the day, there are many opportunities to build in Hebrew vocabulary. Through our daily Tefillah, Hebrew music, Israeli folk dancing, following simple directions in Hebrew, Shabbat, holidays and thematic units, Hebrew language is brought to life and becomes part of our children’s frame of reference.

 

Physical Education

Bi-Cultural is committed to developing both the mind and the body. As our kindergarteners learn the rules and strategies behind many games, our underlying goal is to foster cooperation and skill-building along with improving physical strength and coordination. Our objectives are to help each child develop a sense of accomplishment and self-worth, to learn body control, and to enjoy physical activity.

 

Library

Children have access to our school library weekly. They are exposed to quality early childhood literature and visits from guest authors. Children practice the responsibility of borrowing and returning books to the library and come to see the value of the library as an information resource.

 

Creative Arts

In addition to a weekly music and art “special” class, children will participate in activities in the areas of fine art, music, drama, and Israeli and American folk dance. Children will explore these areas of creative expression in the classroom, and music will be an integral part of their daily experiences.

Goals include:

● Creating paintings, drawings, and sculptures

● Using a variety of art materials: crayons, tempera paint, watercolor paint, colored pencils, markers, oil pastels, art chalk, modeling clay

● Experimenting with mixing paint colors

● Introduction to famous artists and their techniques

● Creating art in the style of well-known artists

● Creating dioramas

● Learning traditional songs and dances that enhance the curriculum

● Using a variety of children’s instruments: drums, sticks, cymbals, bells, triangles, blocks, castanets, shakers

● Participating in dramatic play

● Dramatizing familiar stories

● Musical movement activities help children develop music appreciation, rhythm and awareness of their body in space as well as enhancing their listening skills.

 

Enrichment

There are many exciting educational opportunities that Bi-Cultural offers children throughout the school year to enhance learning.

To name a few:

● Visits from field specialists

● Class presentations

● Holiday celebrations

● Theatrical performances related to literacy

● Musical movement

● Puppetry

● Big Brother/Big Sister school-wide events

● Classical music appreciation

 

Social and Emotional Skills Development/The Positive Discipline Model

The Bi-Cultural Early Childhood teachers have undertaken extensive training in the Positive Discipline model, which promotes positive decision-making, teaching expectations to children early on, and encouraging positive behaviors. The approach was first developed by Dr. Jane Nelsen, who established five core tenets for effective positive discipline, detailed below:

1. Helps children feel a sense of connection (belonging and significance)

2. Is mutually respectful and encouraging (kind and firm at the same time)

3. Is effective long-term (considers what the children are thinking, feeling, learning, and deciding about themselves and their world – and what to do in the future to survive or to thrive)

4. Teaches important social and life skills (respect, concern for others, problem solving, and cooperation as well as the skills to contribute to the home, school or larger community)

5. Invites children to discover how capable they are (encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy)

 

Support Services for Our Students

Our school prioritizes the learning needs of each child, both for enrichment and for support. With a team of specially-trained, highly-skilled and licensed learning specialists on our staff, BiCultural works closely with students and their parents.

What’s so amazing about Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy? We’d love to show you!