Kindergarten – Fifth Grade
In the Lower School (K-5) our emphasis is on creating and maintaining a safe and nurturing environment where academic, social, emotional, physical and spiritual learning, discovery and creativity can flourish. SPHDS is committed to providing its primary students with an educational foundation upon which challenges and successes come together, enabling our children to become self-motivated and encouraged to work towards their greatest potential. Our low student-to-teacher ratio allows children to work on developmentally appropriate, productive, and meaningful activities tailored to their individual needs. An integrated and multi-disciplinary approach to the curriculum is used in the primary grades. SPHDS expands the horizons of our students by offering a variety of specialty classes, such as art activities and appreciation, computers, physical education, library, and music. Technology is infused throughout our curriculum to bring our individualized students learning styles to light. From interactive whiteboards, our iPad cart, individual laptops in our computer lab and our teachers knowledge of technology, we are ready to explode into the next generation. Our students will be prepared for high school, college and beyond because of the technology based learning that happens in all classrooms from K-8th.
Language Arts: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing, are the ways that unlock the door to a world of knowledge. Reading in the early grades is taught by way of a balanced approach, using a combination of phonetics and whole-language. Exposure to classic and contemporary literature, vocabulary development, comprehension, and writing skills are emphasized throughout the Language Arts program. Our focus is on small group instruction through guided reading and readers workshop. The lower school works in center groups and uses various novels and short stories.
Mathematics: Our mathematics program is enhanced with manipulatives that provide kinesthetic and visual reinforcement to successfully and meaningfully guide students from the concrete state of learning to the conceptual state of learning.The lower school has adopted Math In Focus by Singapore Math as our new curricular program. Singapore consistently ranks first in international math testing. The Singapore program uses a very systematic approach, going from the concrete to pictorial representation to the abstract. It teaches mental math concepts and has longer units which allow those units to be more in depth. In addition, it teaches a pictorial approach to word problems that allows students “visualize” the problems and apply strategies otherwise not developed until high school algebra.
Social Studies: Social Studies allow students to explore how people live, work, get along with others, and solve problems. In the primary grades, students learn social studies by exploring the environment around them -their neighborhood and communities. As they progress through the grades, the environment is gradually expanding thus allowing them to better understand and analyze their social surroundings. The school takes various field trips and each grade has Social Studies projects that are woven into the curriculum to make history “come alive.”
Science: The focus of our science curriculum is to tap the interest and enthusiasm of our students to explore the world around them with hands on learning through Delta Science kits. Physical, Earth, and Life Sciences, as well as health and safety, are included in each level’s course of study. Students are encouraged to hypothesize, investigate, test, conclude and share their results. Encouraging student to “touch everything”, as well as providing a wealth of “hands-on” science experiences, generates tremendous motivation in the study of the sciences.
The Arts: SPHDS strives to provide students with a comprehensive understanding and an appreciation of the arts. Students are exposed to all forms of the arts: visual, music, dance and drama. Our arts program is designed to enhance a child’s self-esteem and motivation, and to develop and respect each child’s individual creativity.
Field trips may include visits to Lawrence Hall of Science, Exploratorium,Sunnyvale Community Theatre, Deer Hollow Farm, The Tech Museum, Hidden Villa and the Foothill College Planetarium.
Hebrew: Hebrew language is a vital and integral part of our Jewish Studies program. The early acquisition of oral skills is facilitated by the maximum exposure to the spoken word. Simultaneously reading is introduced utilizing the phonetic approach. Our Hebrew speaking students follow the same language pro gram that they would follow in Israel. A heavy emphasis is placed on comprehension and analysis. These two skills are required by all students in order to succeed in their textual studies.
T’fillah (prayer): Our day begins with t‘fillah. Students are taught not only “what” and “how” but also the meaning of our prayers. This is the opportunity for the emergent reader to practice his/her skills. The spi ral program of introducing new t‘fillot gives our students the confidence to feel at home at any time in a Beit Knesset.
Chumash: The study of chumash is a large component of the Jewish Studies curriculum. Students not only gain an understanding of the narrative aspect but develop an expanded chumash vocabulary and an understanding of biblical grammar. Through the use of Midrashim and the classical commentaries, the world of ethical behavior is opened to them.
Parashat Hashavua: Each week the Torah portion is discussed in class. Children are encouraged to share what they have learned about the parasha at home around the Shabbat table.
Laws and Customs: This topic includes all three time cycles; daily, weekly and annual. Students be come familiar not only with “do’s” and “don’ts” of all aspects of Jewish living whether they be Shabbat,Pesach, kashrut or brachot, but the beauty of the entire cycle of Jewish life.
We are accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS). The accreditation process gives us a chance to do an internal audit on curriculum, educational and non-educational structures. It also allows us to have external feedback and perspective.