Education is both a science and art, constantly evolving with our understanding of childhood development. At Beth Hillel Day School, we consistently update our curriculum and methodologies to reflect the latest discoveries and advances in education, psychology and sociology.
Based in part on research conducted at the UCLA Lab School, our academic curriculum includes scientifically researched programs such as Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop, Responsive Classroom, and Singapore Math. We were one of the first schools in the Valley to adopt these highly effective programs. More important than their rigorous academic content, these programs teach kids how to think, solve problems, and innovate.
Most of our teachers studied under world-renowned literacy expert, Lucy Calkins at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. Our faculty returned equipped with Lucy Calkins’ proven techniques for turning students into both avid readers and authors.
We realize different children have different learning styles: If your child would rather figure out a math problem at a standing desk, or perhaps do their reading on a giant bean bag chair in a quiet corner of the room, that’s what we want them to do. If you’re still discovering what your child’s learning style might be, we want to take the journey with you.
Learning is a process that continues throughout our lives: It’s vital for children to discover it early on as a joyful, empowering and FUN process.
For a math lesson, Kindergartners take a walk down to our school kitchen and prepare cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. In Science class, kids make their own paper to learn how paper is made. Upper grades work with Lego Robotics to learn the fundamentals of coding. At each grade level, children at Beth Hillel Day School have access to projects and materials that engage them in a way best suited for where they are both academically and developmentally. The result is a steady stream of positive experiences associated with learning and school.
A Beth Hillel education goes further than explaining the workings of the world to students. We provide them with a guide for how to be in the world. Research proves that empathy, curiosity, optimism, self-control and motivation are essential to an individual’s success and fulfillment in life. Teaching our students to find and nurture these qualities within themselves is as central to our curriculum as the academic disciplines.
We are a school that teaches the importance of social justice and social responsibility. Students put this into practice not only through classroom lessons and projects, but also through growing food in our mitzvah garden to give to the needy, field trips to purchase canned goods and packing them into gift baskets with a personalized card to donate to the local food bank, collecting tzedakah and clothing in for those in need, recycling materials into works or art and participating in the Thanksgiving Feast of Caring. When they graduate, Beth Hillel students understand the responsibility we all share to care for each other as human beings.
We treasure and respect each student. Individual Success Plans (ISPs) are created for every student. These plans are crafted by our expert staff members in collaboration with the student and their family. The ISP sets measurable goals that faculty and family partner on to achieve. These goals may relate to a student’s academic skills, social/emotional toolkit, or work habits.
Beginning in Kindergarten, we open an Evernote file for every student at Beth Hillel. This application keeps a digital record of all of your child’s work, progress, projects and assessments. From worksheets to sound recordings of their first forays into reading, your child’s academic life is diligently chronicled at Beth Hillel. The end result is more than an academic record, but a poignant tapestry of childhood’s mile markers.
An integral aspect of Jewish tradition is learning to question everything and a cultivation of critical thinking skills. We believe a Jewish education and a passionate exploration of the sciences are complimentary to each other, not mutually exclusive. We apply the same philosophy of education to our Judaic Studies as we do to our other subjects. Your child will learn about Jewish tradition and belief through various music, art and drama projects. Every Friday afternoon, children end their day with a Shabbat service, followed by challah, grape juice and a collective bolt for the playground. Students begin learning to read and write Hebrew in Kindergarten, and learn about their Jewish identity in an environment that is progressive and inclusive. Many of our families are interfaith, and students are encouraged to share and celebrate all aspects of themselves.