THE ELEMENTARY YEARS
Welcome to the new wave of Jewish education for children in the elementary years!
At Temple Sinai, we seek to enrich the Jewish lives of our students and build meaningful Jewish connections to family, friends, Temple, the larger Canadian Jewish community and Israel. We nurture a sense of curiosity through learning and celebrate living Jewishly by embracing Jewish values and social justice.
Thanks to the generosity of Bev & Laurie Fein, Temple Sinai has developed a new, enriched curriculum from JK to grade 3 that include pilot learning experiences in our Hebrew program. Informed by working with parents, key stakeholders at Temple and experts in the field of Jewish education, we are shaping the future of Jewish learning and engagement for our children
It is an exciting time to be a part of Temple Sinai’s learning community!
Temple Sinai’s School programs are governed by the following thought-provoking concepts that will guide all learning interactions for students:
- How can learning about Jewish peoplehood create meaningful connections to our family and the larger Jewish community, locally and globally?
- How can learning Hebrew and about Israel create a sense of belonging to the Jewish people?
- What does it mean to be a Canadian Jew, and how does this inform our sense of social justice and Jewish values?
- In what ways does inquiry-based learning provide deep, meaningful and value-rich experiences for students and parents?
In the early years, the core of Jewish learning engages students with Jewish values, stories from the Torah and Jewish celebrations and traditions. Children explore how they belong to a global Jewish family, starting with their family, synagogue, Canadian Jewish community and how this creates meaningful connections to Jews worldwide. . The following concepts guide the learning in kindergarten to grade 2:
- My Jewish story starts with the stories in our Torah, so those stories are about me, too.
- The Jewish festivals weave together Jewish memories, Jewish values and Jewish
- The Jewish festivals weave together Jewish memories, Jewish values and commandments, and mitzvot, which connect me to my family, community, and God.
- Jewish values, middot, teach me how to act in the world, with my family, friends, and everyone I meet. They guide me to make the world a better place and make me a better person.
In grades 3 and 4, students explore lifecycle events and how Jews are part of their local and global Jewish community. Students connect with their worldwide Jewish family and learn about Israeli culture, geography, history and language. In grade 3, students start their formal Hebrew learning and join a small group (four to six students) at flexible times during the week in addition to their Sunday morning program. The Hebrew learning prepares them for participating in prayers at Temple and for b’nei mitzvah. The following concepts guide the learning in grades 3 and 4:
- When I engage in tefillot, celebrate festivals and lifecycle events, I am part of my Temple community
- Tikkun olam teaches me how to be a better person and make the world a better place, which connects me to my peers, my Temple, my family and those in need in my local community.
- My relationship with Israel requires me to know what it looks like, a familiarity with its geography and people and its historical, emotional, physical and spiritual connection to the Jewish people.
- When I learn the Hebrew language, I connect to Jewish culture and the state of Israel, its past, present and future.
- Peace is one of the most important values in Judaism. When I learn about Israel, I strive to understand the complexity of achieving peace as more than one people consider Israel to be their homeland.
In the senior grades, our students take on a leadership role in mentoring younger students through modelling and teaching. Student learning focuses on connecting to the Canadian and Toronto Jewish experience through personal, family immigration stories to understand better who we are as a community.
Students in grades 5 and 6 also focus on the stories of the prophets, learning about the layers of social justice and participating in tikkun olam. Through project-based learning, students take the initiative, working together and forming a tight-knit peer group for each grade. Major festivals are revisited in grades 5 and 6 with a new twist, where students work in project-based teams to develop a holiday experience for students in the younger grades.
Grade 6 Torah Chanting Class
Youth are inducted into the Jedi Trope Academy on Sunday mornings. Under the team of recent b’nei mitzvah youth, Jedi Trope Masters creatively acquire the chanting skills they will utilize when they begin preparing for their b’nei mitzvah.
Lech Lecha — Temple Sinai’s Travel Experience
When Abraham leaves his home to set out on a journey of discovery, he is told lech lecha, go forth. Temple Sinai encourages our youth to set out on their own journey of Jewish discovery by offering unforgettable travel experiences.
Staycation is the first opportunity for the youth of Temple Sinai to experience the magic of travel. The trip is created and led by teen travel alumni. They work hard to create a fun-filled experience as we explore the Jewish stories of Toronto. We take to the streetcars, subways and buses of Toronto to experience all the fun this city has to offer. After twenty-four amazing hours, we celebrate the community we have created. Those relationships endure as youth grow and continue to travel.
About Our Jewish Learning Program
Listening to the parents of our school-aged children has played a big part in creating a flexible and enriched school program. From kindergarten to Grade 6, we hope to inspire our student’s commitment to Reform Judaism through creative, critical thinking and interactive educational programming.
The Hebrew language is one of the unifying forces within Judaism, crossing the boundaries of history, time and place. Learning Hebrew connects our children to the Jewish people through song, prayer and conversation. It is a vital component of Jewish learning at Temple Sinai.
Hebrew learning at Temple Sinai begins in kindergarten with Hebrew words integrated into the classroom and in music, dance, art and cooking. Hebrew learning is a requirement in grade 3. In addition, five years of continuous Hebrew study is required for bar/bat mitzvah.
Our educational program has been created to help parents find time for Reform Jewish learning aligned with their busy lives. We offer one and a half hours each week of Hebrew learning at your families’ convenience, which is available Sunday to Wednesday nights — or add it on to the end of school and create a one-day program for your child.
Immersive Hebrew Language Camp — in partnership with Centre Camp
Grade 5 Hebrew Pilot Program — iHebrew Curriculum from Ulpan Or
An exciting new technology-based Hebrew program!
Our grade 5 students will participate in a revolutionary method for learning Hebrew online in their Hebrew groups this year. This method called Rapid Language Acquisition (RLA) from Ulpan Or, the largest language school based in Israel, allows students to learn Hebrew rapidly while making the ancient language of Hebrew come alive today in a fun and welcoming environment.
Grade 5 will be using materials that are engaging and fun, and customized for North American students. This program makes Hebrew come alive and engages students through different learning styles.
This pilot program aims to see an increase in the acquisition of the Hebrew language for grade 5 students through an engaging technology-based format. Our teachers will be provided with new training to ensure success in this pilot program for our students.
Family participation is an integral part of each child’s learning at Temple Sinai. Opportunities for parent involvement are varied and available at all grade levels. The Family Learning Program actively involves families with children in grades 3 through 6.
Hands-on activities further solidify the partnership in Jewish education and living. Parent and teen programs are offered in grades 7 through 10. These programs explore the bar/bat mitzvah experience, Reform Jewish practice in the world today, contemporary social issues confronting the Jewish community and modern Jewish living.
Meeting the challenges of children with special needs is an essential and ongoing process. We approach each child with the assumption that there is a future that includes Jewish learning.
Bar/bat mitzvah is the goal at the forefront of our minds as we attempt to match each child with the best and most appropriate learning atmosphere. With input from the parents, the director of congregational learning, the principal, and the special education consultant, we look to find the proper placement and assistance for all our children.
Religious School Policies
Our Temple parking lot is a bustling place during school hours. To ensure the safety of your children, we ask your cooperation in adhering to the following rules:
- Do not stop in the driveway when dropping off or picking up your children. Instead, please pull into the parking lot. Each car that stops for just half a minute causes a backup and a potential accident.
- On Sundays, please pull into the cordoned-off “drop-off zone” at the rear of the building before dropping off your children. Do not stop in the driveway or the area on the side of the building. Please follow the directions of the traffic control staff monitor on duty.
- Please do not park in the accessible parking spots when picking up your children.
- At no time is it permissible to park your car on a Temple sidewalk. If you are asked to move your vehicle, please be courteous. Remember, we only have the safety of our children in mind.
We maintain a scent-free environment within our school community to ensure the comfort and safety of all.
Our student body and faculty members have notified us of a condition they live with called multiple chemical sensitivity. This condition causes severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, breathing and perceptual difficulties. These symptoms are reactions to pesticides, cleaning fluids and scented products such as perfume and cologne.
Because we offer an arts-based learning program, please send your children to school in clothes that won’t be ruined by arts and crafts media such as ink, paint or glue.
Temple Sinai makes every effort to keep the school open. However, in the event of inclement weather or an emergency closing, please consider one of the following:
- Check our website for up-to-date news.
- Listen to 680 News or check their website (www.680news.com).
- Call the school at 416.487.3281 during office hours.
We ask that parents send their children with a healthy snack (i.g., a drink and a piece of fruit). Please do not send anything that contains sesame and nuts.
We encourage students to bring a bottle/thermos of water. Please do not bring any non-kosher fast food into our building.
Thank you for your cooperation in keeping our school safe for all students.
Our Jewish learning program takes place on Sunday mornings from 9.00 a.m. to 12.00 p.m. from mid-September to May for JK to grade 6.
For more information, please contact Carrie Swartz, Director of Congregational Learning.
What our members say...
Sarah, Grade 12
Sarah, Grade 9
Aaron, Grade 9