At Charlotte Jewish Preschool, Judaism is the foundation for the curriculum in each classroom, and serves as a road map for our teachers to develop their lessons. Jewish values are at the heart of classroom themes and they drive the provocations that teachers plan for their students. In addition to a Judaic-infused classroom curriculum, each class attends special classes (Story Time, Music, and Growth through Gardening) throughout the week that also use Judaic values and concepts at their foundation. Students explore all of the chagim (Jewish holidays) from Rosh Hashanah through Shavuot, while learning about the Judaic values that inspire our day-to-day behavior.
When there is not a Jewish holiday forthcoming, students explore Torah stories and Jewish folk tales that inspire the five Judaic values at the heart of our school: B’tzelem Elohim, Kavod, Kehillah, Limud, and Tikkun Olam. These values are at the core of every interaction among all of our stakeholders, from the youngest student to the most seasoned teacher.
We find that living and modeling Judaic values is the best way to teach them to our children.
Dramatic play, science, math, blocks, and fine motor are just some of the avenues students use to explore each holiday and value in their classroom. From shaking the lulav and etrog at Sukkot, to planting seeds on Tu B’Shevat, our students are learning by doing.
Every Friday, the school gathers for a Shabbat service led by our music specialist. We model a traditional Shabbat service by lighting the candles and singing the brachot together, followed by Kiddush, hamotzi, and lively Shabbat music and songs. A Rabbi or Cantor from our partner synagogues, Temple Israel and Temple Beth El, join us for a brief story before students return to their classrooms for challah and grape juice.
During Shabbat, our students have the opportunity to give tzedakah (charity), coins and dollar bills, for those in need. At the end of the month, we count up the money we have collected and choose an organization to support.
In the past, we have given tzedakah to: Jewish National Fund, Mitey Riders, Shalom Bayit, Thompson Child & Family Focus, and Classroom Central, among others. We also support Israeli charities such as Save a Child’s Heart, Shalva Children’s Center, Israel Sports Center for the Disabled, and Krembo Wings.
A few times during the school year, we organize a drive to collect items for our partners or organizations in need. We support the sister schools of our Temples through school supply drives, and we support Jewish Family Services with food drives throughout the year, as well as a toy drive before Chanukah. Our students learn the value of helping others by actively participating in collecting and distributing items to their recipients.