Our comprehensive and developmentally appropriate program is designed to promote each child's intellectual, social, physical, and emotional growth. All games and activities are skill-based and goal-oriented, so that the children have opportunities to develop skills with everything that they do.
The classroom set up is comprised of learning centers which include blocks, art, dramatic play, books, manipulatives, and scientific discovery. These centers allow the children to have choices and to actively explore using their imagination. They learn by interacting with their peers, teachers, and the varying situations in their environment. Each center targets different skills, and with the teacher's guidance, helps promote each child’s emotional, cognitive, and physical growth.
The daily schedule is planned to include active and quiet times, gross and fine motor activities, and child-initiated as well as staff-initiated activities. Outdoor play (weather permitting) is scheduled for each day.
Planning for the classroom involves consideration to the age appropriateness for the group and individual aptness for each child. Being cognizant that every child learns differently, we use various mediums to teach each lesson. Children's interests are explored through inquiry and research methods.
Assessment is also an important part of the curriculum. A portfolio for each child contains developmental checklists, work samples, and anecdotal records. We endeavor to make sure that children reach their individual potential.
We integrate an emergent curriculum approach into a thematic approach to create a synthesis of programs including the best guided and individualized educational opportunities.
We encourage the children to develop self-motivation, active investigational skills through questioning, exploring and observing, and the thinking and problem solving abilities needed to thrive in a world of challenge and competition. Children are surrounded with books, literacy experiences, and exposure to the alphabet to prepare them for pre-reading and the reading that follows.
We encourage each child to work and play with others, to develop language communication skills, to respect the rights and privacy of their peers, and most of all to develop feelings of kindness, courtesy, helpfulness, and acceptance.
Children are provided constant opportunities to develop their gross and fine motor skills, to develop finger strength and dexterity, and upper and lower extremity coordination.
Children are encouraged to develop a positive self-image, to understand the difference between right and wrong, and to begin to develop a sense of responsibility. We teach them to recognize that people are different and to be accepting of others. We help them learn and practice appropriate ways to respond and to express their feelings constructively.
INTEGRATING TRADITION AND JEWISH PRIDE
Lesson plans at Hillel are built around the events influencing the children at the time that they are being taught. Weather changes, special animal habits, national celebrations, and holiday seasons all determine what will be brought into the classroom at any particular time of year. All these are laced into the general curriculum to allow the children to learn from what is going on around them.
During the season of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, when it is traditional to dip apple into honey and blow the shofar (a ram's horn), we take the opportunity to make the holiday a scientific experience! The children learn all about apples, honeybees and how they make honey, and about the different kinds of animals with antlers. During Chanukah, when it is traditional to light a Menorah in the home, the children learn about fire safety and firefighters and how they help our communities. This is the pattern that follows our curriculum throughout the year and provides the children with experiences that give them pride in their tradition!