THEMATIC UNITS OF STUDY

“I will be forever thankful for this special place and for the people who convinced me to give my daughter this wonderful year. I am so grateful that she will still have access to everyone involved; because of Camp Gan and Hebrew School she does not have to say goodbye to this special community of teachers and children.”

Chabad Preschool bases our curriculum on a thematic approach to learning. Units of study are ideal for integrating concepts across the curriculum areas and giving learning greater context and meaning. The most powerful themes of the curriculum are derived from the Jewish holidays, the seasons, the natural world, the study of self, family and community, and from other subjects that are relevant to children’s lives.

Teachers and children explore themes through a variety of sub-topics. Additional areas of focus emerge to reflect the interests of the children. From these subjects, teachers design classroom activity plans. The process of delving into a topic – asking questions, experimenting, making discoveries, and being deeply invested in the quest for understanding is incredibly valuable to a child’s development. We aim to choose topics that pique children’s interests and then give them many opportunities to explore, as we facilitate their investigations and weave in learning concepts.

Curriculum plans incorporate each of the subject areas: language arts, math, science, social studies, art, music, and movement. The activities also engage multiple styles of learning: visual, aural, verbal, social, solitary, logical, and physical. Teachers also consider each domain of child development when creating classroom plans – cognitive, social, emotional, physical, spiritual and creative.

Below is our calendar of the thematic units and examples of sub topics that are explored:

Preschool Monthly Themes

September

Beginning of year: getting to know each other and our classroom, rules and routines, health and safety procedures, class bonding activities 🙂

All about me: our bodies, our five senses, feelings and emotions, our names, our families, self-expression, growing up, taking care of ourselves.

Rosh Hashana: apples, pomegranates and exotic fruits, bees/hives/honey, shofar, calendar/cycle of the year.

October

Yom Kippur: making good choices, saying sorry for mistakes, prayer, going to Synagogue.

Sukkot/Simchat Torah: building/construction, sukkah, Lulav/Etrog, the gifts of Torah, Biblical heroes, Mitzvot, Hebrew letters.

Fall: changes in the environment and the weather, leaf exploration, migration/hibernation, cycle of seasons.

November

Shabbat: Shabbat traditions, being a guest and being a host, days of the week, days of creation, Shabbat blessings and songs.

Thanksgiving: being thankful, Native American culture, appreciating other ways of life, fall harvest, American map and flag, Thanksgiving feast and traditions.

Community: manners and courtesy, working together, taking care of each other, our school community, our neighborhood, the people who work in our town.

December

Chanukah: standing up for what you believe, it’s okay to be different, Dreidle, Menorah, the properties of oil and wax, sources of light, giving and receiving gifts, fried foods: latkes and sufganiot.

January

Winter: weather and temperature, plants and animals in the winter, snowflakes, ice and frost, winter sports and activities, the Arctic.

Animals: land and water habitats, animal adaptations, tame versus wild, animal coverings: fur/feathers/scales, endangered species, what animals eat, how animals communicate, how animals help us.

February

Tu B’Shvat: kinds of trees, parts of trees, seeds, things we get from trees, caring for the environment, forests, trees through the seasons.

Purim: puppetry and theatre arts, kings/queens and castles, instruments: wind/percussion/string, graggers and other non-traditional instruments, orchestras and bands, costumes and masks, Megillah, Hamentashen, Mishloach Manot.

March

Passover: Matzah and bread, Seder plate, steps of the Haggadah, the Four Questions, slavery versus freedom, pride in Jewish traditions.

Spring: bulbs/buds/blossoms, flowers and flowering trees, rain and the water cycle, new animal and insect life during the spring, weather and temperature changes.

April

Bugs: insect types, insect body parts, insect habitats, insect life cycles, insect sounds, the role of bugs in the ecosystem.

Israel: sites and cities, flag and map, Magen David symbol, Hebrew language.

World: maps, the globe, ways of life in other places, the solar system, being a part of a global community.

Transportation: land/air/water vehicles, roads and streets, traffic signs, safety, places we go.

May

Food: nutrition, food groups, digestion, different tastes, food sources, food processing, blessings over food, international foods, spices, planting and growing, raw versus cooked, taste sour/sweet/bitter/salty).

Shavuot: receiving the Torah, responsibility of Mitzvot, being humble, mountains, spring harvest.

June

End of year: how we’ve grown, things we’ve learned, memories from the year, yearbook, graduation, moving onto another class or school.

Summer: beach, shells, sandcastles, summer sports and activities, the sun and shadows.