At Akiva, Jewish Studies is taught as an integral part of the child’s whole learning at school. The class teachers deliver the Jewish Studies curriculum supported by specialist teachers within the school. As an inclusive Progressive (Reform & Liberal) Jewish School our curriculum and our approach to Judaism reflects our values.
Opportunities are taken wherever possible to integrate aspects of Jewish Studies with other areas of the curriculum and the links made are both strong and meaningful. For example: the children in Year 2 compare the weather data from the UK with corresponding data from Israel; the children in Year 3 integrate their learning about Moses with their Ancient Egypt History topic; the children in Year 4 learn about Bal Tashchit in conjunction with their Geography topic on environment, climate and sustainability; and children in Year 5 learn about the Jewish luni-solar calendar in conjunction with their Science topic about the solar system.
Children also receive discrete Jewish Studies lessons from their class teachers and the topics covered are laid out with the rest of the curriculum information. These cover Jewish life, Jewish thought and values and Jewish history. In the Summer Term following Yom Ha'atzmaut, many of the topics throughout the school are focused on Israel. The children participate in a ‘Shiur Torah’ lesson each week. For Reception and Key Stage 1 children this involves looking at the weekly Torah portion whereas Key Stage 2 children work according to half termly modules allowing them to go further into depth of a text.
Each class participates in Shacharit most mornings of the week. Over the course of their Akiva journey the children gain a personal understanding of the Shacharit prayers other than just learning them by rote. During Shacharit we also give children the opportunity to engage in some mindfulness exercises to help them connect with the Divine.
We take much enjoyment throughout the year of celebrating chaggim (festivals). The children work on a spiral curriculum for each festival ensuring that their learning develops as they move through the years. We share our learning and celebrations with parents, local Rabbis and children of other faiths from our local schools. Each year we designate two 'Focus Festivals' during which parents are invited into class to participate in learning activities with their children and celebrate together.
In order to further strengthen links between the children's Jewish learning in school and their Jewish lives at home, each year group has an event of Jewish ritual significance to which parents are invited to join. These provide opportunities for the children to celebrate Jewish rituals with their parents in a school setting.
To gain an excellent picture of our Jewish Studies provision also read our Pikuach Report.
For more information about the Jewish Studies curriculum at Akiva and for the Jewish Studies progression map please go to the curriculum subject information boxes and click on the Jewish Studies link.