AMOS & CELIA HEILICHER MINNEAPOLIS JEWISH DAY SCHOOL

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Kindergarten

Kindergarten sets students on a joyful journey of discovery. We provide a nurturing environment for children to grow intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Our student-centered curriculum empowers our kindergartners to become more independent in their learning. A multi-sensory approach using auditory, verbal, and kinesthetic activities, addresses the different ways in which children learn.

Foundational Learning

We offer rigorous and creative challenge through an integrated curriculum built upon best practices. Building community provides a platform for teaching social skills and fostering empathy and connection with others.

Joyful Activities

Kindergarteners are immersed in a joyful and engaging academic program that nurtures their intellectual, spiritual, physical and creative selves. The end of year celebration of Children Around the World highlights a study of global cultures through music, dance, art, reading, and writing. Even our shyest students beam with pride as they greet parents, grandparents, and other guests introducing themselves in the languages of the countries they studied.

Lasting Values

Heilicher offers a solid ethical and moral foundation built on shared core values and immersion in Jewish prayer and text study. Students and faculty "live" these core values as they are woven into curricular and all-school programs. Welcoming the guest, using kind words and actions, and acts of loving kindness are an important part of the fabric of our kindergarten program.

Featured Program: Chess

Chess begins in kindergarten. Once a week, our students learn about the fundamentals of the game using giant chess pieces. They begin with playing pawn wars and move to more strategic, full-blown chess games by the end of the year. This is a highlight for kindergarteners who like to challenge their adults to games of skill.




Kindergarten Curriculum

Explore all of our kindergarten subjects.

Language Arts

Speaking, listening, and writing are the main components of the Language Arts program at HMJDS. Our kindergartners create wonderful stories with illustrations and inventive spelling and take great pride as emerging readers. They develop foundational skills through:

  • Phonemic awareness
  • Beginning reading and writing skills
  • Becoming authors

Language Arts activities are integrated in many other parts of the curriculum as children write their strategies for solving math problems, keep science journals recording observations, and develop research skills. The curriculum is enhanced by creative writing, poetry, drama, and technology.


"Halfway through my daughter’s kindergarten year, she looked at me one day and said, ‘I look at words and I can’t stop reading them!'"

– HMJDS Parent

Math

In kindergarten students develop foundational knowledge in a variety of mathematical areas through hands-on activities using a number of different kinds of manipulatives. Math is integrated in other subjects throughout the day. Children learn about:

  • Numbers and Numeration: Rote counting; rational counting; place values and notation; meaning and use of fractions; equivalent names for whole numbers; and comparing and ordering numbers.
  • Operations and Computation: Addition and subtraction.
  • Measurement and Reference Frames: Length and weight; units and systems of measurement; money; and time.
  • Data and Chance: Data collection and representation; data analysis; qualitative and quantitative probability.
  • Algebra, Patterns, and Functions: Solving number sentences; properties of arithmetic operations; word problems.
  • Geometry: Plane and solid figures; transformations and symmetry; spatial relationships.

Science

Students practice and develop observational skills, apply mathematical concepts, and draw conclusions about their immediate environment. Science units focus on multi-sensory approaches, leading the students to develop beginning scientific skills. We invite doctors, dentist, nurses, and other practitioners from the community to engage the students in their scientific work.

Science experiences include:

  • Physical Science: Introduction of sound waves.
  • Life Science: Human body ( skeleton, muscles, organs, teeth, food); the Five Senses; Dental Health; Plants (parts and seeds).
  • Earth Science:
    • Fall: leaves, apples, popcorn, hibernation, migration; Winter: birds, light, shadow;
  • Engineering: Design a sound maker.

Social Studies

Kindergarten students learn about themselves, study citizenship through the Pledge of Allegiance, and examine the importance of rights and responsibilities. They look at the people and events that make us who we are and how we live today. They research places and cultures around the world and conduct in-depth research about individual countries. Students showcase their learning at the year-end Children Around the World event.

  • All About Me: What makes me unique? Who are my classmates? Who is in your family? What are feelings?
  • Mapping: What information is on a map? How do you make a map?
  • Thanksgiving/Native Americans: Who are the Native Americans? How are our lives similar to Native Americans past and present?
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Who was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? How were people treated in those times?
  • Children around the World: How are we similar to children around the globe? What makes different countries around the world unique?
  • Community Helpers: Who are the people who keep us safe and healthy? What does each of them do?
  • American Government/Holidays: Pledge of Allegiance, symbols of the United States, U.S. leaders, elections, and voting.

"Knowing more about other countries will make the world a better place. Knowing more about each other will help us coexist on this planet together. But we need to try to be better friends like we are here at school. It has to start somewhere; it’s up to us."

– HMJDS Student

Hebrew

The Kindergarten program engages students through joyful oral/aural language experiences. Students explore the Hebrew language and connect to the modern day State of Israel through:

  • Singing and Israeli Dance
  • Real conversations about daily routines involving clothing, snack, family, and weather
  • Presentations showcasing the use of Hebrew for holiday celebrations and dramatic productions


Judaic Studies

In Kindergarten the students participate in a fully integrated curriculum wherein Jewish Studies and General Studies learning are woven together. The main content centers on:

  • Heilicher’s Core Values
  • Parshat Hashavua/פרשת השבוע – the weekly Torah readings
  • Hagim/חגים – Jewish holidays
  • T’filah/תפילה – prayer


Technology

Kindergarteners reinforce their computer skills through multimedia navigation integrated with other subjects. Although the children visit the computer lab to be introduced to new programs and skills, their computer use is largely in the classroom to reinforce skills in reading and math and to use programs that enhance the curriculum.

  • Find and open programs to design, type, research images and create graphs
  • Draw by clicking and dragging to create lines and shapes, fill in designs and place objects
  • Introduction to age appropriate programs on Portaportal and SMARTnotebook

"Technology is thoughtfully infused into the daily life of students, staff, and parents at HMJDS. Since both my husband and I work in technology fields, we appreciate that cutting edge technology is a natural part of our children’s school experience."

– HMJDS Parent

Music

Kindergarten students learn to recognize and associate varying musical styles with cultures and countries studied. Performance is a focus area. Vocal health and the proper use and care of the voice is also taught. Kindergartners:

  • Learn concepts of pitch and rhythm while developing their singing voice
  • Use non-pitched and pitched percussion instruments
  • Sing, dance, and play instruments for various assemblies and the Children Around the World performance



Art

Art is a favorite of our kindergarteners. In addition to twice-weekly art studio, art is a part of all subject areas. Concepts and skills introduced are:

  • Drawing organic and geometric lines and shapes
  • Combining two or more geometric forms in drawing and construction
  • Drawing people and animals
  • Recognizing and applying the Elements of Design and the vocabulary (lines, shapes, texture, space, color, value)

Projects and Media may include:

  • Printmaking: Sukkot leaf painting; sponge painting with shapes/ patterning
  • Drawing: exploring lines, shape exercises
  • Introduction to painting: color wheel-mixing primary to secondary colors, winter trees painting, paint a kippah, watercolor self expression inspired by music, Pesah painted pillowcases.
  • Collage: Fabric and paper collage, creating fabric, multi media
  • Observation: drawn self-portraits, collage self-portraits, Tu B'Shvat tree drawings, landscape drawing
  • 3-D introduction: ceramics: Clay hanukkiah, paper animal sculpture and habitats, wood sculptures
  • Art history and appreciation: MIA Art Adventures program

Athletics

Kindergarten students practice locomotor movements such as galloping, skipping, and hopping. Students also are introduced to underhand and overhand throwing mechanics, with special attention to catching with hands instead of trapping balls against their body. Students participate in games and activities that improve these skills. Kindergartners may also get an opportunity to use the swimming pool trying to be more comfortable in the water. Skills include improving breath control and body mechanics to enhance stroke development in addition to learning the different stages of diving from the deck. Units may include:

  • Spatial awareness: rhythms; manipulatives (hoops, balls, beanbags, and parachute).
  • Recreational games: floor hockey, basketball, soccer, and kickball.
  • Apparatus: gymnastics, rope jumping, paddles, and racquets.



Community Connections

Our kindergartners have several opportunities to connect with the community during holiday assemblies, Kabbalat Shabbat, and welcoming guests. A highlight of our kindergarten program is when the children visit Sholom Home, an eldercare facility in the community, to entertain and interact with the residents. It is a heartwarming experience creating powerful memories across the generations.

Extra-curricular Activities

Kindergartners are eligible to participate in after school beginners chess and swimming in addition to other activities offered by the Sabes Jewish Community Center on the Barry Family Campus.

Wellness Wednesday

Each Wednesday morning kindergarten through eighth grade students participate in a variety of supervised activities that promote wellness. Wellness activities serve the bodies, minds, and spirits of our students. Activities can include Mileage Club, Tourney, Yoga, HipHop Dance, Zen Doodle, Strategy Games, Effective Techniques in Babysitting, and Big Brother and Big Sister. Activities are multi-age and provide opportunities for expanding social connections along with developing the mind and body.


Assessment

Student progress is shared at conferences which occur twice a year in the early fall and spring. In addition, student learning is addressed through frequent communication between school and home throughout the school year. Progress reports, provided twice a year, summarize a variety of assessments, including authentic assessment and evaluation of skills in a specific project or activity. In addition, letter and sound recognition, high frequency words, number sense, number recognition, and basic operations are also assessed one-on-one with the teacher to measure progress. Areas of relative strengths and weaknesses inform instruction which is differentiated based on the needs of the children.

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