AFTER SCHOOL (mon-thurs 2:30p-5:45p)
The Kesher After School Program is a nationally-acclaimed alternative to traditional Hebrew School for grades JK-7
Kesher's Unique Three-Year Curriculum Cycle
Each year of our After School's three-year cycle provides us with a different lens through which to explore the major themes of Jewish life - and in each year the other themes are refracted through it. As the Sages wrote "turn it over and turn it over again - everything can be found within it" (Mishna Avot). We learn how to tell our own stories through the rich narratives of Jewish History and Memory, how we measure and shape the days of our years, and the years of our lives through Cycles of Jewish Time, and learn to live a life inspired by Jewish Values and Ethics. As Kesher students grow, they return to these themes, uncovering new depths and new joys, and strengthening their relationship with each visit.
From 5th through 7th grade, students may choose to prepare for Bar or Bat Mitzvah, with additional, personalized mentoring and tutoring to match the child’s personal goals and his or her family’s priorities for this developmental milestone.
From the moment teachers meet our students as they emerge from their school buses, the afternoon is a series of connections:
between kids and teachers
kids and one another
the Jewish past and present
families and teachers
Jewish learning and daily life
the seriousness and the playfulness of study
The groups in the K-5 program have names that represent parts of a tree
Shorashim (Roots), for Kindergarten and 1st grade
Nitzanim (Buds) for 2nd and 3rd grades
Anafim (Branches) for 4th and 5th grades
Names for our older student groups represent biblical tree fruits
Te’enim (figs), our 6th grade
Rimmonim (pomegranates), our 7th grade
T’marim (dates), our 8th -12th grades
Seder Yom (Daily Schedule)
Kesher After School meets twice a week, on either a Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday cycle:
3:00 Z’man Chofshi, kids arrive and have “free time”
3:15 Z’man B’chutz “Outside time”
4:00 Z’man Ki'hilah “Together time”
4:30 Z’man Ivrit “Hebrew time”
5:05 Z’man Yahadut “Judaica time”
5:45 L’hitraot End of day / Parent pickup
6:00 School closes for the day
Students join us on either a Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday.
Kesher's philosophy to teaching Ivrit, Hebrew, is based on the proficiency approach. Through the proficiency approach, language becomes relevant to the learners.
At Kesher, this learner centered approach emphasizes the ability to function in Hebrew, to actually be able to use the language playing soccer and board games, having snacks, in social interactions with staff and other kids. The kids are divided into groups that are based on proficiency and developmental appropriateness. Unit themes are designed to be relevant to the kids lives, such as Kesher environment, family, home, things we do in the home, Holidays and Israel.
The students revisit these themes each year with a variation on the theme at a higher proficiency level in all the skill areas: reading, writing, speaking, listening and grammar. All proficiency levels work on the same themes at the same time, creating an environment of cohesiveness.
We approach the Judaica curriculum much in the same way as the Rabbis thought about the Torah, each time discovering new ideas and experiences with an ever-growing depth. We have created a three-year cycle, each year setting the course for a different journey through the same Jewish text.
One year focuses on Jewish values and ethics, one year focuses on Jewish history, and one focuses on the Jewish calendar. Each year we draw upon the other two themes (as well as many more themes) to support the focus. As children grow up in Kesher, they revisit these themes, but with greater depth as they mature developmentally. With each meeting of holiday, of an event in history, or a Jewish value or custom, the kids glean something new and relevant to their lives.