Home > Learn > Religious School > Religious School (Pre-K – Grade 7)
The Religious School curriculum is spiraled in order to scaffold each child’s learning opportunities and build from one year to the next. The topics explored include culture, holidays, sacred text (Torah and beyond!), theology, prayer and spirituality, Jewish life cycle, Israel (through history and today) and so much more. More than any theme or topic, this is a space where Jewish identity is shaped. We see each child as uniquely made in the image of God, and partner with them and their family to ensure a meaningful educational journey.
Washington Hebrew Congregation’s Religious School is committed to inclusivity. Please consult with Stephanie Tankel, Director of Lifelong Learning, should your child require any special educational accommodation so we can best meet their needs.
Beginning in Gan (Pre-K) and lasting through high school, we help our students build a Jewish identity through socialization and play, blending music, art, drama, technology, and dance into fun and learning.
In Pre-K through 7th grade, students attend Religious School on Sunday mornings from 9:30 am – noon, where they experience the flow of the Jewish year and the wonder of our tradition and faith in developmentally appropriate and compelling ways.
Starting in 4th grade, our students attend Religious School twice a week to supplement and strengthen their Hebrew learning. In addition to gathering on Sunday mornings, they attend on either Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons from 4:30 – 6:00 pm.
Our innovative program engages students through memorable experiences both inside and outside WHC’s walls.
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This special class meets once a month (a total of eight times during the school year). It has a cooperative educational structure, combining professional teachers with parental involvement to ensure a strong adult-to-child ratio and a nurturing environment. Parents will volunteer once a year for each child registered.
The Gan is child-centered and focused on building self-esteem and Jewish identity through socialization and play.
These years focus on developing a love of being Jewish as well as comfort with Judaism and the Temple. Music, art, drama, and Israeli dance complement the program to cultivate the many approaches students utilize in their learning.
Beginning in Grade 2, students will participate in a Hebrew enrichment program as part of their regular Sunday class through games, stories, and art as well as movement and song. The exposure to Hebrew letters and some of their different sounds heightens their interest and prepares them for decoding in Grade 3 by setting a necessary foundation.
Formal Hebrew instruction begins in Grade 3. For the first time, Sunday mornings are divided into Judaic Studies and Hebrew instruction, where students learn to decode letters and vowels. Music, art, computer lab, and Israeli dance help enhance learning. In the spring, families attend siyyum sefer, a special ceremony led by the 3rd graders, which celebrates the completion of their first Hebrew book.
Our twice-a-week program begins in Grade 4, where students begin to prepare for their B’nei Mitzvah and combine learning Hebrew with other Jewish subjects, including the Bible, Jewish life cycle, modern Israel, and the American Jewish experience. Holidays and Jewish values are incorporated into each grade’s spiral curriculum, which also includes art, dance, music, games, and time in the computer lab.
Highlights of the year include: Grade 4’s “mini retreat” at JBSC in the fall and, with their families, hosting of the Temple’s Shabbat Purim celebration; Grade 5 leads a special Shabbat service and sleeps over at Temple; Grade 6 has a walking tour of Jewish Washington with their parents in the fall and a special overnight retreat at Capital Camps to focus on B’nei Mitzvah preparation and innovative ways of studying Torah.
In Grade 4, students begin Mitkadem – our Hebrew curriculum. There are 23 ramot (levels) to Mitkadem, through which students work independently or in pairs, progressing on their own pace as they master the content of a ramah (level). Mitkadem’s self-paced and child-centered approach allows each student to achieve according to their own ability, and teachers are able to adjust the program according to each child’s abilities.
This is a critical year in a child’s Jewish development! Students attend mid-week Hebrew classes only until the beginning of February and continue with our Sunday Judaic Studies program all year long.
Each Sunday includes one of three classes: B’nei Mitzvah Preparation (for those who are still prepping for their special day), Tikkun Olam, and Israel. After a short break, there is an elective period with several fun and engaging choices.
Students may also choose to join our “MIT” program (Madrichim in Training), where they hone their leadership skills and train to assist in younger students’ classes.
Social justice experiences are incorporated into the program, including a visit to a local Jewish organic farm, packaging meals with the WHC Hunger Project, and a holiday party at the Abram Simon Elementary School. Other learning opportunities include exploring Jewish denominations and special speakers.
Because schools dismiss at different times, we want to ensure that mid-week Hebrew is as convenient as possible for all of our students and families. With the Snack Pass program, students may join us at 4:00 pm for a light snack and a chance to do some homework or socialize with friends.
3935 Macomb Street NW
Washington, DC 20016
11810 Falls Road
Potomac, MD 20854
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