Top Bar

SAR

It’s not just what you learn. It’s who you become.

Hero Image

Interior Navigation Container

Early Learning Center

At the Early Learning Center (ELC), SAR’s school for children ages 2 - 6, we create a loving and nurturing Jewish environment. Students learn through play, song, dance, art, and other experiences in which they can engage with the world about them. In particular, we focus on understanding and relationship-building. Indoors and outdoors, we guide students to understand what they see. As students interact with each other, their community, and G-d, we help them build the skills necessary for developing and strengthening relationships in all three contexts.

Nursery: 2’s and 3’s

Nursery: 2’s and 3’s

Often a child’s first experience as a student in a more traditional classroom, our goal for this very important school year is to help children acclimate to the school environment and provide a warm, loving, and fun home-away-from-home. Teachers focus on enhancing children’s overall attention span, their ability to share in learning experiences as a member of a group, and fostering the growth of their memory and language skills.

Within the context of playful and developmentally-appropriate classroom activities and experiences, the following skills are a focus of our 3’s curriculum:

Social Skills

  • Initiating and maintaining independent play
  • Participating in group activities; waiting for a turn, staying with the group, sharing materials
  • Expressing emotions, communicating needs and requests effectively
  • Following consistent daily routines
  • Initiating and sustaining play with a peer with and without teacher support
  • Engaging in dramatic play with peers, acting out simple pretend scripts, such as playing “house.”

Motor Skills and Emerging Writing Skills

  • Increasing proficiency in gross motor skills, strength, balance and coordination
  • Beginning to show a more mature pencil grip and improved fine motor control
  • Showing the emergence of left/right hand dominance and beginning to cross the midline
  • Scribbling-writing in a linear fashion and with purpose

Language Skills

  • Using language to communicate with others (making requests, greeting others, etc.)
  • Telling simple stories
  • Using sentences with two phrases or concepts
  • Understanding and using words for common categories (such as toys, fruit, clothing, etc.)

Emerging Literacy/ Pre-Reading Skills

  • Holding a book upright and turning pages
  • Enjoying book reading with others
  • Identifying main characters in familiar stories
  • Recognizing first letter of own name
  • Knowing some letter names

Early Mathematics Concepts

  • Identifying some simple shapes
  • Recognizing and matching small quantities to the number words 1, 2, and 3
  • Counting along with help (with some possible mistakes)
  • Using size and amount words, such as “many” and distinguishing between “some” and “all” and parts of a whole
  • Showing interest in patterns and sequences
  • Classifying or sorting objects into simple groups (e.g., colors and size)
  • Understanding the order of the day and using terms like “morning” and “night”

Social Studies

  • Recognizing common features of the home and neighborhood, such as trees, houses and streets
  • Showing interest in common jobs and professions such as nurse, firefighter, doctor and policeman
  • Identifying and telling simple stories about familiar family members, neighbors, siblings and community members and experiences

Judaic Studies & Ivrit

  • Learning, and later leading, morning tefillah as well as birkat hamazon
  • Recognizing and saying some basic Hebrew vocabulary (e.g., animals, body parts, family members, colors) through the use of songs, stories, rhymes and toy props
  • Identifying the core elements and symbols of Jewish holidays (shofar, sukkah, Pesach seder, menorah), creating the ritual objects using art materials, role-playing the holiday stories, and singing the blessings and songs relevant to each chag

Pre-Kindergarten

Pre-Kindergarten

Our Pre-K curriculum evolves every year in response to the needs of the children in each class. We draw content from science, math, art, history, reading, and Judaics. As such, we follow three principles for curriculum-planning:

  • Each unit and lesson must be developmentally appropriate
  • The process through which we teach the materials is engaging, creative, and interactive
  • The content, the process, and the product equals the learning experience

In Judaic studies, in particular, we focus on topics that connect each child to his or her family and traditions, such as learning about the weekly parsha and holiday customs. Each child thus is able to participate in discussions around the Shabbat table or at holiday celebrations.

The following skills are the focus of our Pre-K curriculum:

Social Skills

  • Using words to communicate, to solve problems, and to resolve conflicts
  • Using words like “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me”
  • Attempting new tasks and tolerating mistakes
  • Persisting at an activity to completion, and asking for help when having trouble
  • Demonstrating improved self-regulation skills (improved ability to cope when frustrated or distressed and using language to resolve conflicts)

Motor Skills and Writing Skills

  • Completing puzzles
  • Cutting with scissors in “thumb up” position
  • Holding and using crayons, markers, pens and pencils in age-appropriate way
  • Bouncing, kicking, catching and throwing a ball
  • Attempting to write own name and recognizing name in print
  • Asking adult to write words or a note to others
  • Trying to write, scribble or draw with a plan

Language Skills and Concept Development

  • Rhyming and labelling common objects
  • Arranging a picture story in proper sequence
  • Retelling a story or experience and answering questions about the content
  • Categorizing and grouping common objects and ideas
  • Understanding opposites, and identifying things as similar or dissimilar
  • Following multi-step directions
  • Knowing and reciting by heart, with visual cues, some tefillot, brachot and songs

Literacy and Pre-Reading Skills

  • Looking at picture books on own
  • Pretending to read book by reading the pictures
  • Trying to read environmental print (street signs, cereal boxes, exit signs, etc.)
  • Recognizing some common words in print
  • Recognizing many upper and lower case letters
  • Recognizing some letter-sounds

Mathematics

  • Recognizing most numerals 1-10
  • Counting to 20
  • Comparing numbers greater than and less than
  • Demonstrating an understanding of addition and subtraction
  • Understanding simple patterns
  • Counting and sorting objects up to 10
  • Comparing size and amount by using words such as “more” “less” and “same as”
  • Understanding cardinality: The last number of the count describes the size of the entire collection
  • Understanding abstraction: Counting things that we cannot see or touch (days, siblings that are elsewhere, etc.)
  • Mastering “trusting the count”: The number in a collection of objects does not change just because the arrangement has changed -- a number won’t change unless you do something to change the number

Social Studies

  • Recognizing basic annual, calendar-related traditions such as birthdays, national holidays, and seasons
  • Understanding that people live in different parts of the world and have different customs and traditions
  • Exploring simple maps and visual representations of neighborhoods or communities

Science

  • Making observations, testing predictions, and exploring elements of the world via experimentation and “recording” of results
  • Appreciating the foundations of health, good hygiene and nutrition
  • Learning about plants and animals, habitats, life cycles

Judaic Studies & Ivrit

  • Increasing awareness about mitzvot “Ben Adam LaMakom” and “Ben Adam L’Chavero” through discussions of the weekly parsha
  • Demonstrating increased knowledge about the history, culture, climate and people of Eretz Yisrael, and feeling emotionally connected to Israel as our homeland
  • Applying ideas and concepts learned in parsha study to everyday life
  • Showing emerging ability to use Ivrit in a conversational way, applying well-practiced vocabulary and familiar phrases
  • Increasing awareness of the function of mitzvot and Judaic objects, such as mezuzah, sukkah, menorah, kiddush, baking challah, etc.

Kindergarten

Kindergarten

Kindergarten is a magical transitional time when children want to learn all about the world and how it works. Our kindergarten teachers build on this enthusiasm by offering projects that encourage children to delve deeper into the areas that interest them. Children may make life-size tracings of themselves as they learn about the human body, or study the phases of the moon by checking the sky at night and sharing their observations with the group.

Our kindergarten classrooms offer more formal learning and traditional school experiences than preschool, but kindergarten is still intended to stimulate children’s curiosity to learn more about the world around them. Our teachers’ primary goal is to help children become comfortable working in a classroom setting and to introduce basic literacy and math-related skills in the midst of their students’ important discoveries.

The following skills are the focus of our Kindergarten curriculum:

Social Skills

  • Following rules and routines
  • Using materials purposefully and respectfully
  • Working, playing and sharing with others
  • Using words to resolve conflicts
  • Seeking adult help when needed
  • Identifying and labelling feelings, and implementing strategies for self-regulation

Motor Skills and Writing Skills

  • Reading and writing own name
  • Writing familiar words
  • Handling writing tools correctly
  • Copying or writing words to convey messages
  • Demonstrating left-to-right progression and top-to-bottom progression

Language Skills

  • Listening to others for short periods of time without interrupting
  • Participating in discussions and conversations
  • Composing oral stories
  • Retelling a simple story with beginning, middle and end

Reading Skills

  • Recognizing all letters of the alphabet in order
  • Distinguishing between and printing capital and lowercase letters
  • Associating letters and sounds
  • Recognizing rhymes and rhyming patterns
  • Making predictions about a story based on title and/or pictures
  • Distinguishing fact from fiction
  • Recognizing high frequency words
  • Locating a title, author name, illustrator name, and table of contents
  • Counting, pronouncing, blending, and segmenting syllables in spoken words
  • Isolating and pronouncing CVC words ( consonant, vowel, consonant)
  • Making connections between self, text, and the world
  • Demonstrating left-to-right progression and top-to-bottom progression

Mathematics

  • Naming numerals 0 to 30
  • Writing numerals 0 to 20
  • Counting to 100 by 1s and 10s
  • Collecting data and making records using lists or graphical representations
  • Solving problems by guessing and checking using manipulatives or fingers
  • Decomposing numbers less than or equal to 10 into pairs in more than one way
  • Understanding the calendar and the concepts of telling time
  • Knowing the days of the week and months of the year
  • Knowing the value of a penny, nickel, dime and quarter

Science

  • Experimenting by making hypotheses, observations, and recording results.
  • Integrating Judaic studies and science (weekly Shabbat activities and holiday discussions are the perfect forum for science-in-action):
    • Watching yeast rise while baking challah
    • Making grape juice for Pesach, and transforming the grape from solid to liquid
    • Watching apples turn brown as they oxidize after skin is removed
    • Learning about the salt waters of the Dead Sea: “Will it sink or float?”
    • Understanding absorption - watching salt absorb liquids

Judaic Studies & Ivrit

  • Demonstrating increased familiarity with more Hebrew vocabulary: using Ivrit to count, make simple requests, reply to teachers conversationally, and using adjectives to describe common nouns (e.g., tapuach adom)
  • Exploring symbols and ceremonies associated with Shabbat and chagim
  • Identifying the middot from the weekly parsha and discussing, experiencing, and practicing them in the classroom with peers
  • Participating in several hands-on experiences relating to the parsha and chagim, such as:
    • A visit from a petting zoo with live animals while studying Parshat Noach
    • Building a chesed tent with peers in the SAR atrium and practicing hachnasat orchim like Avraham and Sarah
    • Participating in a Chanukah performance and party with parents
    • Preparing a Yom Ha’Atzmaut ceremony and celebration
    • Visiting the SAR Academy shul each Friday for a weekly parsha story with Rabbi Krauss