Lower School

Hebrew Curriculum by Grade Level

First Grade

Through active, multi-sensory experiences our first graders actively engage in Hebrew language learning. Emphasis on beginning reading and block writing skills are integrated with continued oral language development. Hebrew units are centered around life in the classroom and incorporate elements of Jewish Studies with a focus on the study of hagim/חגים/Jewish holidays. Language proficiency is:

  • Built on continuing oral/aural language experiences as well as letter recognition and phonemic awareness
  • Developed through student responses to teacher initiated questions and conversations around life in the classroom
  • Supported by the Tal Am materials

Second Grade

Students continue their language development by applying grammatical principles to their reading and writing skills. Students begin to write original sentences and stories and speak in self-generated conversations. Second-grade Hebrew units build on aspects of daily life, including food, clothing, and routines. Major uses of the language include:

  • Hagim/חגים/Jewish Holidays - curriculum presented through Hebrew language texts
  • Writing and reading Hebrew cursive script

Third Grade

Students are introduced to more sophisticated grammar skills including past tense, personal pronouns, and subject-verb agreement. Vocabulary expands by understanding roots and structural patterns. Students develop their skills through:

  • Expanded, descriptive oral responses and more complex writing
  • Utilizing Heilicher-created materials which complement Tal Am materials
  • Original creative writing

Fourth Grade

Hebrew becomes a vehicle for student self-expression. Additional grammar skills are introduced, including past-tense verbs, the use of the infinitive, noun-adjective agreement, and paragraph structure. Description is a focus of writing, speaking, and reading. Examples of the use of Hebrew in authentic, real-life experiences are:

  • Written descriptions of students' personal characteristics and hobbies
  • Oral presentations about Israel’s culture, geography, and history

Fifth Grade

Students read and discuss modified stories from Hebrew literature. They explore concepts of forgiveness, friendship, fighting for something you believe in, taking action, leadership, and dedication. The Holocaust is introduced in a formally developed unit emphasizing heroism. Students begin to study about famous leaders in Jewish and Israeli history. They are introduced to the future tense, different forms of verb patterns, e.g. Lamed Hey/ל׳׳ה and the use of the infinitive. They learn additional connecting words like Mipnei sheh/מפני ש and c’dei/כדי. Students study irregular noun patterns including many body parts.

Units of study include:

  • Holiday units: Stories about the holidays by prominent Israeli writers
  • Hanukkah/חנוכה unit: Story of the Maccabee family’s fight for freedom
  • Fables teaching values
  • Important Jews of the 20th century: Elizer Ben Yahuda, Leah Goldberg, Mordechai Analevitch


Preparing Your Child For A Dual-Language Program

Across our program we are committed to providing a variety of flexible Hebrew groupings, to accommodate many learning styles and paces. This allows us to welcome students mid-program with little or no Hebrew language experience. Regardless of the grade your child enters HMJDS we will support his or her Hebrew learning during the defined school day through small-group work and differentiated instruction.

  • Students entering second grade or above will be asked to engage in private Hebrew tutoring during the summer preceding their enrollment.
  • We will provide families with the names of Hebrew tutors familiar with teaching our curriculum.
  • Tutoring is usually two times per week.
  • Compensation for these tutors will be the family’s responsibility.
  • We may recommend some less-intensive tutoring during the school year.