IHDS students experience learning with all their senses. The General Studies program includes a fully comprehensive and interdisciplinary language arts, mathematics, science, technology and social studies curriculum. Our dual focus on success sets high standards for both academic achievement and social-emotional learning, preparing our students for the highest levels of college and career readiness.
Inspiring Young Readers and Writers
Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing Workshop is a literacy model that exposes students to authentic works of literature with increasing complexity, fostering a love of reading and writing, as well as the self-assurance to set the highest standards for their accomplishments.
In-depth Investigation of Mathematical Concepts
Whether it is building a sukkah, starting a business, baking bread, or creating inventions, IHDS has an entrepreneurial “track” that inspires students to create and apply mathematical concepts. Using Singapore Mathematics curriculum, an internationally successful mathematical approach, students develop innate problem-solving abilities. With every new concept, students are encouraged to investigate, discover, explore and apply their solutions to mathematical problems, and connect mathematical concepts to real life situations.
Nurturing a Love of Science, Engineering, and Technology
IHDS takes students natural curiosity and builds on that via an outstanding curriculum developed at UC Berkeley called Full Option Science System. FOSS is a research-based science curriculum that uses multiple instructional pedagogies, including inquiry-based and experiential learning, active investigation, research and data collection.
Developing Positive Leadership Skills
IHDS students actively engage in the democratic process through daily classroom meetings which guide students to solve relevant problems that can be applied to real life scenarios. Civic duty is further developed in our social studies curriculum which introduces the concepts of courage, self-control, justice, heroism, leadership, deliberation and individual responsibility.
Our Chagiga Shel Yitzerah multimodal arts program, funded in part by the Jewish Community Foundation, offers an innovative approach to Jewish arts education. This program engages students in visual and performing arts, celebrating individual expression and using a variety of artistic media to convey Jewish texts, ideas, and values.
Ongoing Chagiga Shel Yitzerah Programs:
- Israeli Art Masters Program: Students study various Israeli artists, and apply their techniques and inspirations in creating works of art which are displayed in our IHDS art gallery. Artists include Reuven Rubin, Ori Reisman, Larry Abramson and Menashe Kadishman.
- Biblical Architecture: Students study biblical architecture including the Beit Hamikdash (the Holy Temple,),the mishkan (Tabernacle,) and the Aron Kodesh (holy ark). Students design and create models of these structures using natural materials including a functional ark containing the Torah scroll.
- Biblical Performing Arts: Our students perform plays in full costume about the Parsha of the week or other biblical narratives, exploring the human behavior and motivation behind the characters’ actions, using this as a foundation for discussion about interpersonal mitzvot.
- Movement: Using kinesthetic learning, our “Hebrew through movement” and “Hebrew yoga” program support our goal to foster Hebrew language fluency. For the 2016-2017 school year, this program will include Hebrew sign language.
- Special Community Events: Through programs such as our Tu B’shvat community event, children of the OC Jewish community are invited to join Chagiga Shel Yitzerah art projects such as Tu B’shvat inspired art, specifically centered around the blossom trees of Israel.
Our innovative music program Tzlilim Mesaprim: Sounds Tell Stories, supported by a JFFS Impact Grant and a generous private donation, employs best practices in music education with a focus on Jewish music, liturgy, and spiritual themes. The Tzlilim Mesaprim program offers the highest quality music education, using the Orff music program model as a foundation. Building on this program model, our staff has developed an acoustical Tefillah program that fosters connection and creativity in prayer. Tzlilim Mesaprim uses melody, rhythm, acoustic and unpitched instruments, harmony and kinesthetics to:
- Enhance the experience of Jewish prayer.
- Connect Jewish heritage across generations.
- Explore and improve proficiency in Jewish concepts and spiritual themes.
- Facilitate Hebrew reading and conversational language.
- Promote spiritual exploration and practice through music.
- Create opportunities for communal spiritual worship, promoting a sense of community.
Fostering Social Emotional Learning
Our positive teaching practice fosters a school community that values individuality, compassion, joyful learning, respectful communication, environmental stewardship and authentic curiosity. Based on core Jewish values, Positive Psychology, Alfred Adler, Jane Nelsen’s Positive Discipline approach, our school culture empowers students with a sense of belonging and purpose while learning life skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, creative expression, self-regulation, relationship building and perseverance.
Hebrew and Jewish Studies
Inspiring Personal Growth Through Jewish Studies
The goal of our Hebrew and Jewish Studies program is to instill in our students a deep connection with our heritage, inspire a love of Torah and its study and practice, convey a sense of ownership and pride in our tradition, and to impart the knowledge and skills necessary to become the future Jewish leaders, role models and teachers of the next generation.
Achieving Hebrew Fluency
The goal of our Hebrew language (Ivrit) program is fluency in modern, spoken Hebrew language. In addition to classroom instruction, students will have daily Hebrew immersion opportunities such as yoga, cooking, art, and games in a natural environment, which is critical for language acquisition. Our Chagiga Shel Yitzerah interdisciplinary arts program incorporates Jewish themes into our comprehensive program.
Starting the Day with Tefillah (prayer) and Appreciation
During daily morning Tefillah, our students engage in discussion about the concepts of appreciation, love, compassion, fear, faith, heritage and forgiveness to bring meaning to the words that they say and read in the siddur. Our teachers use song, musical instruments, and dance to engage the children in the experience fully. Our students develop the skills to understand tefillot as they increase in complexity.
Spirituality through In-depth Jewish Study
Our approach guides our students to achieve spiritual growth through Jewish literacy: in-depth study, textual skill acquisition, questioning, and meaningful discussion. Through Torah narrative, students exchange ideas about moral, psychological and philosophical themes with increasing depth as the children progress in skill and maturity. Our students are encouraged to question as they learn, and bring real life examples to the discussion. Critical thinking about the meaning of a text is encouraged, as students share questions and explore possible answers. Children learn the history, meaning and customs of each Jewish holiday. Our school is committed to instilling a love for the State of Israel in our children. We celebrate all holidays that honor Israel, including Yom Ha’zikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut.
What makes IHDS unique?
IHDS emphasizes meaningful and comprehensive Jewish learning. Unlike schools which may offer only a taste of Jewish education or others that support indoctrination, our goal is to give the children the “keys” to the vast library of Jewish text so that they can question, grapple, pursue meaningful discussion, engage in rational debate and seek purposeful answers, not just while in school, but for an entire lifetime. We believe that spiritual fulfillment comes from active engagement rather than passive following, and this can only be accomplished through fluency, understanding, and knowledge.
IHDS, like many other schools, values building moral character in our students. IHDS is unique in that it has a proven and defined method to accomplish that goal that is weaved into all aspects of our school day. All of our educators, administrators and parents are trained in Positive Discipline methods, creating a community of people engaged in mutually respectful relationships, effective communication, collaboration, and kindness.
IHDS is a truly inclusive Jewish community school. We partner with all Jewish families to be the most effective educators for each child. We want all Jewish children to access Jewish education, regardless of financial constraints or learning differences.
Our experiential, inquiry-based education and solutions-based approach to all problems give our students the knowledge, creativity, and skills for the highest achievement and greatest success in the 21st century.