12 Tammuz, 5773 / Thursday, June 20, 2013
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My goal in my curriculum choice is always MEANINGFUL activities.
I love doing this age precisely because I had the discretion of choosing the curriculum, which in large part I based on developmental appropriateness. For example with davening, when the children were toilet trained I introduced Asher Yotzar (this is rather atypical but should be common sense as the children are so excited about their acheivment that it is a great opportunity to give the right hashkfa/kavana over togethre with the teaching of the words).
I also made a siddur of the tefillos we did in school that contained an appropriate picture for each tefillah so that the children (who couldn't read yet) knew which tefillah to say just from seeing the picture, while the parents had the words to refer to if necessaryi.e. the pictures made the siddur meaningful to the children and the words made them meaningful to the parents. I sent the complete siddur home only at the end of the year so the children could continue davening over the summer months.
If you would like more information feel free to contact me.
Professional bias speaking here... make sure the child can hear and see the difference.
Motivation is always an important component. For the younger grades (Primary/Pre1-A/Kindergarten and 1st grade) I know that many schools have Tehillim reading programs but I find the children really enjoy Mrs. Grama's books because they have pictures and the content is more meaningful, thus the children are more motivated to read.
You can do Tehillim for the grades above (2nd, 3rd, 4th) or even Pirkei Avos. Tehillim will be helpful in their davening.
I believe some boys school have a 'shnayim mikrah v'achud targum' for the upper grades but scale it e.g. 4th grade does rishon and sheini, 5th does rishon, sheini, and shelishi and so forth.
If you need more info you can contact me directly and I will help you be in touch with those who have implemented the programs.
Consider the age of the students is the amount and type of material we are expecting them to know in fact appropriate?
Meaningful material is easier to remember (since they can relate they more easily "own" the knowledge)
e.g. When I teach Parshas Lech Lecha to three year olds rather than giving the children meaningless names and ages to memorize by rote I talk about how great Avrohom was that he listened unquestioningly and with out delay to Hashem. I talk about how they respond when Mommy calls them in comparison.
We have to remember children are not computers that we expect them to spit back what ever we put in. I never did parsha sheets for this age (I used other mothods to cummincate with parents so they new what was going on) and I always received rave reviews at just how much the children knew (including the name of the parsha) and spontaneously contributed to the Shabbos table when those around them began talking about the parsha
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