General Studies

Curriculum Philosophy

Learning at Hebrew Day School is challenge-based, supportive, developmental and dynamic.  Our curriculum is ever evolving; each student and each teacher breathes new life into it, as we believe that every individual contributes to the collective whole.  Grounded in standards and grade-level expectations yet flexible enough to meet and teach all students where they are, our curriculum is continually evaluated, updated and refreshed. High expectations coupled with a supportive environment assist students in moving beyond their comfort zones and rise to the challenges before them. Our multiage classes naturally offer opportunities for students to collaborate, communicate, teach and learn from one another. Our emphasis is on process: the process of thinking, the process of developing skills, the process of understanding.  This is the process of learning.

The social and emotional development of our students is nurtured through a strong commitment to educating the whole child and is supported by an intentional culture of collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity.  Collaboration is explicitly taught yet naturally integrated, as students work together within and across grades.  It requires flexibility and a willingness to assume shared responsibility. Communication is understood to be about articulating ones thoughts clearly in oral, written and nonverbal formats. Communication is also about listening effectively. At HDS, these communication skills are taught in both languages. Critical thinking is essential for students to analyze and evaluate problems from multiple perspectives. It is also about making connections between ideas. Our students think critically in both languages. Creativity leads to innovation and expression. Our students develop their creativity by taking risks, celebrating productive mistakes and sharing who they are with the rest of the world.

Hebrew Day School gives its students the inspiration, tools and competencies needed to be confident and engaged participants in Jewish life.  Through a pluralistic lens, our students develop an understanding of Jewish texts and practices, a facility with the Hebrew language, and a connection to the State of Israel as we guide them to find their own place and voice within our tradition.  Our dual curriculum ensures that the Hebrew language is taught as both the modern and biblical language of our people.  An unmistakable sense of community and a collective sense of investment in the responsibility of raising the next generation of Jewish citizens is what you will find when you call HDS home.

Math

Children learn math through rich, hands-on, real-world experiences designed to develop their skills as intuitive mathematicians. Great emphasis is placed on conceptual understanding alongside consistent practice to promote accuracy and automaticity.  Together these promote a depth of understanding for the mathematical concepts explored. The Common Core State Standards and Michigan’s Grade Level Expectations guide and inspire a developmentally appropriate, focused and rigorous math curriculum. Students engage as active problem solvers by expressing multiple ways one can understand and attack problems.  Their reasoning is explored and developed as their competence and confidence as mathematicians grow.

Language Arts

HDS students learn in a comprehensive, developmental, and language-rich environment.   The foundational skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening are established in the Gan (kindergarten) and built upon throughout the years.  The Common Core State Standards and Michigan’s Grade Level Expectations serve to guide and inspire a wide range of literacy experiences designed to equip our students with the skills to communicate.  Our goals are to instill in students a lifelong love of reading, writing, speaking and listening, and an appreciation of the power and possibility of words.

Science

Science is curiosity and exploration.  Through discovery, students contemplate and investigate their ideas, curiosities and questions as they build a body of knowledge and experiences to draw upon and apply.  Science is also about developing the skills to make predictions, collect and interpret data, pose hypotheses and document results.  Using the scientific method and a cycle of inquiry, students at HDS build a strong knowledge base in earth, physical and life sciences.

Social Studies

Thoughtful, empowered and responsible citizenship begins in the elementary classroom.  Seeing connections to the past and future help students understand their place in the world, their community and their families.  At HDS, the social studies curriculum is carefully integrated with the language arts and Judaic studies curriculum to help students make these connections explicit.  The curriculum comes alive through fiction and non-fiction texts, current events and primary source documents.