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More than just a Hebrew school

 

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We were having our prize store where my students got to buy prizes with dollars they collected over the past few months for class effort. Everyone was excited to spend and buy the great prizes displayed in front of them. One student wanted to buy a prize but didn’t have enough dollars. Without hesitating another student handed him the amount he needed. This happened this past Sunday, on the last day of Hebrew school.
Let me tell you a bit about our school.

We started a Hebrew school after a few parents in the community asked us if we had Hebrew classes for children. I remember being a little nervous and not knowing where to begin. I had experience in teaching and loved children, but this was challenging. Learning a foreign language and bible stories on a Sunday morning is not something children look forward to. I wanted to make it a fun experience so that my students would want to keep coming. At the same time I wanted them to finish the school knowing the Hebrew language and having a general knowledge of Judaism. So I used some creativity to make a fun and educational curriculum and Sunday class experience.

 I started with 5 children and an assistant. The first year we learned the Hebrew letters and stories from Bereishit. Everything was taught doing hands on activities, like Aleph bet yoga, drawing, shaping the letters and scrapbooking the stories we learned.
I knew the first year was a success when the same 5 children registered and new students joined. This time, we got the Aleph champ curriculum that is created for the students to learn hebrew at their own pace and go up in colors as they progress in the Hebrew reading. It worked perfectly for us since my students were different ages and on various levels of hebrew knowledge. We also did many hands on activities about Mitsvot in the Torah that helped make it more real for the students.

This past year, we doubled in students and I had to hire two teachers. They were devoted, loving and helped the students grow. I was very proud to see the enthusiasm my students had on wanting to go up in levels and to see how much they progressed over the year.
But more important than seeing them go up in levels, grades, degrees or ranks is knowing that they understood the lessons  the Torah teaches us and to be able to apply it into their daily life . This Sunday made me see how much my students really learned.

In our society, success is measured by how much you know or have and many times kindness, giving and caring is forgotten. Today, more important than ever, we need to give over real values to our children; the values of giving up something for another and of making the world better by bringing light to others. These values are what we as parents and educators should implement in our children’s education in order to ensure that the future generation will have a more peaceful world!

Sterna Samama 

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