“The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils at Etz Chaim is outstanding.” (Pikuach report 2017)
At Etz Chaim Jewish Primary School, Jewish Studies is seamlessly integrated into all aspects of school life. We are committed to providing an outstanding and inspiring Jewish Studies education and to preparing our children to be active members of the Jewish and wider community. Our curriculum enables pupils to actively engage with Jewish texts and to experience and participate in Jewish practice. The use of ICT is a key part of our Jewish Studies curriculum. We aim to blend 21st century technology with Torah learning and to make Jewish learning exciting and engaging. We also focus strongly on social action and the importance of Tzedakah (charity). We want our pupils to be able to confidently articulate their Jewish identity whilst being knowledgeable and respectful of others.
The aims of our curriculum:
- To develop within pupils a positive commitment and passion for Judaism and British Values
- To give pupils the skills and knowledge needed to be able to lead a full Jewish life
- To make Jewish Studies meaningful and relevant to the pupils through practical experiences and experiential learning
- To give pupils the confidence to explore their own personal relationship with Hashem (G-d) and to express it in various ways
- To develop within pupils exemplary character traits (middot) linked to the study of role models from the Torah
- To instil a sense of community in order to foster a life-long incentive to be actively involved in Jewish and wider communal life
- To provide adult education opportunities for parents so that they can confidently support their child’s learning
All children have a daily Tefillah (prayer) session and Birkat Hamazon (Grace after meals) is recited each day after lunch. During these sessions children are guided and supported to make a personal connection to Hashem (G-d). Understanding the meaning of the Tefillot (prayers) is essential in making Tefillah (prayer) meaningful and relevant to the children. In Year 1 the children receive their first Siddur (prayer book) at a Chagigat Hasiddur ceremony.
The children celebrate and learn about the Chagim (festivals) as they occur throughout the year. They learn about the customs, laws, tefillot (prayers) and brachot (blessings) connected to the Chagim (festivals). Experiential learning forms a key part of the Jewish Year curriculum and our children enjoy lots of practical and hands on workshops linked with the Chagim. Our Jewish Year curriculum is fully integrated with our Secular curriculum and children learn about the Chagim (festivals) through Music, Art, Design and Technology, English and Maths as well as through specific Jewish Studies lessons. Shabbat (the Sabbath) is celebrated with a lively weekly Kabbalat Shabbat ceremony in Foundation Stage, a Kabbalat Shabbat in Key Stage 1, an Oneg Shabbat in lower Key Stage 2 and a Youth Service in Upper Key Stage 2. The week begins with Havdalah.
Reading and Writing
In Reception, the children learn the aleph – bet (Hebrew alphabet) and start to blend Hebrew words. Our curriculum is exciting, multi-sensory and fully linked with the EYFS curriculum.
In KS1and KS2 the children develop their reading accuracy and fluency through the use of highly motivating reading programmes as well as through our special library of engaging and exciting Hebrew story books.
In Reception and Year 1, the writing of block letters is used to reinforce reading and from Year 2, the children are introduced to Hebrew script and use this throughout KS2.
Ivrit (Modern Hebrew) Please see the Ivrit Curriculum here
Torah (Bible Studies)
Parashat Hashavua (Weekly Torah/Bible Portion)
The children have a weekly Parashah lesson in which they become familiar with stories from the Torah (Bible). In addition, they participate in discussions and activities about the ethical and moral values (middot and mitzvot) that they can learn from these events. We focus on helping children to see the relevance of Torah (Bible Studies) to modern living. The children participate in class projects that are connected to Parashat Hashavua (weekly Bible Portion) and singing, art and drama are incorporated regularly into these lessons. Our children are encouraged to share their learning with their families during Shabbat (the Sabbath).
Chumash (Textual Bible Studies)
In Year 3 the children receive their first chumash at a special Chagigat HaChumash Ceremony. Throughout Key Stage Two we will use the very popular JCP/ PAJES Chumash curriculum. This curriculum is highly motivating and provides a wide range of exciting resources. In Year 6 the children learn Mishna linked to the chagim.
Jewish Way of Life
The children have the opportunity to explore and experience Judaism and understand the importance of middot (values), mitzvot (commandments) and derech eretz (respect). They learn about aspects of the Jewish Way of Life such as mezuzah, kashrut (laws of keeping Kosher), brachot (blessings said before eating food), sofrut (the writing of special Hebrew texts) etc. Practical workshops and real life experiences form an essential part of this strand of the curriculum.
Tzedakah (charity) is a key focus at Etz Chaim Jewish Primary School. Our children are encouraged to think about the welfare of others from a young age. Each Friday the children bring in money for Tzedakah (charity) and we have taken part in many charitable initiatives both within and outside the Jewish community such as Mitzvah Day, Camp Simcha Toy Drive, Children in Need and Jewish Blueish Child’s Day.
We offer and promote Jewish family education and enhancement activities in conjunction with SEED. We have successfully offered a wide range of activities for both children and their parents. Themed festival workshops include: Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah and Shavuot craft workshops, a grand Purim fun morning and model Sedarim which were attended by the children together with their parents.
Please click here to view some examples of Jewish Studies work across the school.
Please click here to see our Jewish Studies Curriculum Document.
Please click here to view the Jewish Studies Policy.
Please click here to view our Pikuach Report.