Teaching Children About the Jewish High Holidays

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.”

Two Jewish travelers were on their way home for the Jewish high holidays. One of the passengers said to another, “Holidays came with traditions and special foods. Maybe you can even remember Shabbat candles and some Hebrew prayer melodies. You have memories that linger deep inside and still touch your heart. The High Holidays are coming.” He then asked the other, “When your children think of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, what is the picture that pops into their minds?”

At Beth Emet School, in Judaic Studies, we not only focus on providing knowledge and understanding, but also, on the students’ commitment to Judaic values. Jewish life is taught and experienced in school through holiday observances, Israel education, Torah studies, life cycle events and customs, as well as prayers. It is this connection between our Jewish heritage and our daily activities in school that helps foster a sense of Jewish identity in our students.

During the Jewish high holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are explained and explored in a warm and nurturing learning environment. The children learn that the words Rosh Hashanah translate to “head of the year” and that this time is known as a festive one, the Jewish New Year. It is also a day in which the Jewish year number changes. In 2021, the Jewish new year changes to 5782 and is celebrated.

While children learn about this special celebration and how it represents a fresh start to the year, many great learning opportunities and memorable routines can be explored. It is a perfect time to teach the benefits of reflection, while remembering the creation of the world.

Some of the best ways to teach children about the high holidays is through meaningful hands-on experiences and activities. For example, during these times families can do the following:

  • Read Books About the Holidays
  • Learn with Interactive Worksheets
  • Write a Resolution Letter
  • Dip Apples in Honey
  • Create Holiday Cards for Friends and Family
  • Tell Family Stories and Share Traditions

Students at Beth Emet School participate in meaningful holiday lessons. For example, students participate in a very special Tashlich ceremony. Tashlich means, “cast away”. This is where they reflect on the past year and ask for forgiveness for anything wrong, they feel they have done. Students also can write this down and let it go, to physically represent this meaningful time of reflection.

 

4 Ways to Inspire Children to Become Independent Thinkers

“People often avoid making decisions out of fear of making a mistake. Actually, the failure to make decisions is one of life’s biggest mistakes.”

–Rabbi Noah Weinberg

Encouraging children to become independent thinkers is one of the most important goals in a child’s education. Research shows that developing independence skills throughout elementary and middle school years helps children to build greater self-confidence and self-esteem. Independent thinking skills also teaches students how to become great leaders, as it helps them to make well thought out decisions and responsible choices.

Providing children with opportunities at home and in a classroom setting to make independent choices is a great way to practice real world critical thinking in a safe space. Between elementary years to pre-teen, children will build on decision making skills through their journey to adulthood. Through this educational process, children will learn that sometimes things may not go their way, but they can try again. This will teach them firsthand how to use the knowledge they have learned the next time around and feel surer of themselves when attempting new tasks.

Achieving independence in adolescent years takes time, patience, understanding, trial, and error. At young ages, it is best developed when children are offered choices. This can serve as a guide, so that children can narrow in on the decision that needs to be made. It is a helpful strategy that makes big decisions seem less daunting. Empowering children to make choices and take responsibility through different experiences is an important life skill that evolves proactive thinking abilities.

Here are 4 proven ways to help children develop independent thinking skills:

  • Teach respect and show understanding. Showing children unconditional love and constructive support when solving problems or conflicts will help them to feel safe to try, understood and respected.
  • Set clear expectations at home and in the classroom setting. Developing class guidelines at the beginning of the school year or fair at home rules helps students to understand expectations and make choices with those in mind.
  • Provide opportunities for children to practice being responsible and independent. If there is a class pet or you have one at home, have children take turns feeding or practicing care during certain times of the day. This will teach trust and making better decisions.
  • Encourage leadership and growth. Each week have a class line leader to lead the way or an at home helper to take care of certain projects or tasks. This will give children a role and develop a supportive mindset.

The Beth Emet School motto is to inspire children and help them become independent thinkers The school’s philosophy recognizes the significance of instilling in its students a healthy awareness of the world around them, and the accountability for taking action to make it a better place. Through embracing the whole child, Beth Emet School supports students in becoming confident, successful, independent thinkers.

The Benefits of STEM Education

“Scientists discover the world that exists; engineers create the world that never was.” 

STEM education supports the development of how one thinks and behaves. The educational benefits of STEM arise from integrating the four specific academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics into one cohesive learning experience. Rather than teach the subjects separately, the combination of these important programs allows for greater opportunities to develop within the areas of creativity, critical thinking, confidence, resilience and more.

The teachings of a STEM curriculum are based on a student-centered learning approach, with a focus on the overall wellbeing of each child. The intentional integration of the four subjects fosters students’ social skills, emotional needs, physical well-being, and academic development, in a safe space. STEM education develops critical thinkers, enhances science literacy and creates the next generation of innovators. It provides learning experiences in which all students are invited to investigate and find solutions to real-world problems.

Educators have found that supporting a STEM education can help to facilitate a student’s love for sciences and math. Some ways to implement this successfully is through engaging and meaningful learning activities. For example, Computer Coding is known for being the language of the future. It opens the doors for students to be able to tap into their creative, scientific, engineering, and mathematical minds.

In addition, having a school curriculum that is based on hands-on learning experiences, with a focus on teaching students how to utilize technology, allows for more collaboration, connectivity, and interactivity. Through the participation in practical projects using a variety of applications and software, students can use STEM education to work towards becoming more proficient with enhancing digital fluency through computer programs such as Google Drive, cloud computing, etc. 

Beth Emet School places an emphasis on STEM education and learning by exploring.  As such, they have an equipped STEM Lab with zSpace Computer Systems. zSpace is an interactive hardware and software platform that allows users to visualize, create and experience in ways not possible in a traditional computer environment. Interested in learning more about the benefits of a STEM curriculum? Visit www.bethemetschool.com

Home Routines to Prepare Students for Back-to-School

“Mindset, habits, and routines are the building blocks for success toward reaching your goals…”

After having several weeks off from school and enjoying fun-filled summer months, getting back into a routine can be challenging for both children and parents. To best prepare children for the changes that are yet to come, it is helpful to begin practicing for the new change in routine at home before school begins. Incorporating a daily routine over the last few days or weeks of summer can help children ease back into these changes with a better mindset.

Daily routines in school and at home have many benefits on child development. Not only does structure help students to achieve better overall academic goals, but it also supports children in developing greater independence, and enhancing both communication and social skills. A daily routine is beneficial for individuals of all ages, especially elementary and middle school children.

Research shows that for most elementary school children, having a daily schedule positively impacts their overall well-being. It helps them to feel a sense of safety, certainty, and normalcy. Having this in place also encourages children of all ages to learn how to create balance in life, between enjoyable activities and academic or functional tasks.

When preparing children for middle school it is helpful to talk about the upcoming changes that are taking place. This can be done by reviewing the class schedule in advance, setting a new daily routine at home, organizing materials for class ahead of time, and incorporating daily reading of longer chapter books and time for discussions.

Some of the best ways to support children as they transition back-to-school begins in the home setting. This can be done successfully by introducing them to a visual calendar in their bedroom or personal workspace and involving them in planning their day. As the start date for the first day of school comes closer and closer, it is also recommended to begin implementing a sleep routine and staying consistent. Children benefit from between 9-12 hours of sleep per day and function best after a good night’s sleep.

Developing a routine with your child can help them to cope with any changes that are taking place. Some other ways to best prepare is by beginning to have children wake up at a certain time and eat a healthy breakfast.

Need help preparing a daily routine for your child? Beth Emet School is excited to welcome children back to school. Need help with enrollment or getting your school uniforms? Contact us for details and keep a look out for an up-to-date calendar.

Embracing the Whole Child

“Education is not the learning of facts, rather it’s the training the mind to think.”

-Albert Einstein

 

Imagine a place where learning is an active, engaging journey of exploration and discovery. A place where children are given opportunities that challenge their inquisitive minds and nurture creative self-expression. A place where the whole child is considered and academic achievement is attained through the building of each child’s critical and independent thinking skills. At Beth Emet School, confidence and leadership development is built, while character education, ethics, honor, integrity, and ultimately, and the whole child is considered.

 

Research on embracing the whole child shows that this approach to teaching has a positive impact on human development and student learning. The whole-child approach helps students to reach their full potential and develop a healthy awareness of the world around them. Schools that embrace the whole child teach in settings that support all areas of education, such as academic, social, emotional, physical and cognitive. This way of teaching creates an atmosphere of enthusiasm, where students are motivated to investigate, examine, analyze, and attain outstanding growth, both academically and as contributing members of society.

 

While embracing the whole-child supports child development, it also serves to nurture all areas of learning and encourages thinking in a safe space. Some ways to successfully incorporate this is by enabling students to share their interests and ideas. This can be done through student-interest surveys and “getting to know you” activities. Once teachers and staff learn about their students and develop meaningful connections, lessons can be tailored to engage their interests, while meeting their needs. This allows for greater academic growth and all-around development.

 

Now, more than ever before, school communities are working together with families to empower children both inside and outside of the classroom setting.  Incorporating the whole-child approach, has been especially supportive for students and families while educating through the Covid-19 pandemic. This approach to teaching fosters natural curiosity, engages learners and enhances their aspirations to discover and learn more.

 

Through a challenging, academically advanced curriculum and a warm, supportive environment that promotes critical thinking, Beth Emet School recognizes the significance of instilling in its students a healthy awareness of the world around them, and the accountability for taking action to make it a better place. Through embracing the whole child, Beth Emet School engages students both in school and virtually to achieve creative expression, self-esteem, and develop knowledge of Jewish ethics.