Opening Minds, Bridging Differences, Living Jewish Values.

Lower School

The Lower School curriculum in General and Judaic Studies is designed to promote independent thinking, healthy questioning, and solid skills. At each grade level, teachers address the range of students' skills so that every child remains engaged and challenged. Students work in various modes—one-on-one with a teacher, in small groups, and in larger groups—to help them develop a deep understanding of the material presented. Our goal is for children to learn how to learn and to take joy in the process, enhancing their confidence and motivation to tackle new material and ask complex questions.

We see learning as experiential and integrate content and skills across the disciplines. Teachers combine social studies with reading, or writing with Humash (Bible), enabling students to see the same material through multiple lenses. Field trips and hands-on activities bring the curriculum to life and become the foundation for reflective writing pieces, art activities, and research projects.

Drawing on our tradition, we create ceremonies and presentations to mark significant learning milestones at the beginning or the culmination of major units and events in each grade:

  • After a year-long study of books, the students in Grade 1 celebrate their learning with a Publishing Party.
  • Second graders commemorate receiving their first siddur with a ceremony that incorporates their questions and thoughts about prayer. The students will use the siddur for tefillah (prayer) throughout their years at Heschel. To culminate their study of New York City, the second grade celebrates their learning with a multimedia presentation highlighting their research about a famous landmark.
  • Grade 3 begins the year with a Humash Ceremony, initiating their journey into Torah study. The year concludes with the World Communities Celebration, highlighting the students’ experiences learning about cultures around the world.
  • Fourth grade’s Heritage Fair focuses on the American immigrant experience and showcases each child’s individual heritage.
  • In fifth grade, students weave their understanding of American history into a creative multi-media presentation. Fifth graders end their Heschel Lower School experience with a moving up ceremony.