Learning at Hebrew Day School is challenge-based, supportive, developmental and dynamic. Our curriculum is ever evolving; each student and each teacher breathes new life into it, as we believe that every individual contributes to the collective whole. Grounded in standards and grade-level expectations yet flexible enough to meet and teach all students where they are, our curriculum is continually evaluated, updated and refreshed. High expectations coupled with a supportive environment assist students in moving beyond their comfort zones and rise to the challenges before them. Our multiage classes naturally offer opportunities for students to collaborate, communicate, teach and learn from one another. Our emphasis is on process: the process of thinking, the process of developing skills, the process of understanding. This is the process of learning.
The social and emotional development of our students is nurtured through a strong commitment to educating the whole child and is supported by an intentional culture of collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity. Collaboration is explicitly taught yet naturally integrated, as students work together within and across grades. It requires flexibility and a willingness to assume shared responsibility. Communication is understood to be about articulating ones thoughts clearly in oral, written and nonverbal formats. Communication is also about listening effectively. At HDS, these communication skills are taught in both languages. Critical thinking is essential for students to analyze and evaluate problems from multiple perspectives. It is also about making connections between ideas. Our students think critically in both languages. Creativity leads to innovation and expression. Our students develop their creativity by taking risks, celebrating productive mistakes and sharing who they are with the rest of the world.
Hebrew Day School gives its students the inspiration, tools and competencies needed to be confident and engaged participants in Jewish life. Through a pluralistic lens, our students develop an understanding of Jewish texts and practices, a facility with the Hebrew language, and a connection to the State of Israel as we guide them to find their own place and voice within our tradition. Our dual curriculum ensures that the Hebrew language is taught as both the modern and biblical language of our people. An unmistakable sense of community and a collective sense of investment in the responsibility of raising the next generation of Jewish citizens is what you will find when you call HDS home.
“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.”
– Henry David Thoreau
The HDS art curriculum is designed to allow students to develop creativity, competency and curiosity. The program enriches and extends the general and Judaic studies curriculum and encourages students to work to understand themselves, their heritage and the world around them. Guided by the State of Michigan and National Arts Education standards, students explore line, shape, form, color, value, texture, dimension, unity, balance, movement, rhythm, contrast, emphasis, and pattern. Students also view and study works of great artists from the world. All students from Gan (kindergarten) through fifth grade have studio art class once a week.
Music enriches our lives and feeds our souls. At HDS, the music curriculum encourages students to enjoy music through the natural instrument within each person – the voice. They learn Hebrew and English songs about holidays, values, and Jewish and Israeli culture. All students sing, move, play rhythm instruments, and listen to a variety of musical styles with the goal of developing positive attitudes and appreciation of music. Starting in third grade, the students are introduced to music reading and theory through direct instruction. Currently, third and fourth graders learn to play the recorder and fifth graders learn to play a wind instrument such as the trumpet, trombone, euphonium, clarinet, saxophone, or flute. Students develop their abilities in the art of performance and experience the joy of a community coming together in music, as they have a variety of group performance opportunities.
There is additional opportunity for music enrichment through joining the HDS Klez Kids band. This after school class brings together musicians of various ages and talents. Klez Kids perform throughout the year both at school functions such as Music Festival and Graduation, and around the community.
Active. Healthy. Good Sports. The goals of the physical education program at HDS are to promote an active, healthy lifestyle, develop strong sportsmanship norms and expose students to a variety of sports and physical activities. All activities are designed to be age-appropriate and focus on the important development of both the individual athlete and the sense of team. Students set personal fitness goals and track their progress throughout the year. HDS students participate in gym class twice a week facilitated by a physical education teacher.
Our library program is designed to ignite a love of reading and literature. During weekly visits to the library, students discuss books related to themes inspired by their general and Judaic curricula. Through their interactions with the texts, students are guided in thinking critically, making inferences and predictions, asking questions, and sharing personal responses.
Attention is focused on specific authors, illustrators and genres of literature. Students engage in projects that complement their classwork and learn how to use reference materials for their research. The students are encouraged to check out a variety of titles and are assisted in selecting literature that matches and expands their interests and abilities. Containing over 9,000 volumes, our library provides students and staff with a wide range of choices: secular and Judaic, English and Hebrew, fiction and non-fiction. We welcome and embrace the rapidly changing digital world, while continuing to cherish our nondigital books.
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a vital component to education and child development. Through SEL, children develop skills in five key areas: self-awareness, self-control, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. At Hebrew Day School, we believe that these “human skills” are just as important as academics. Students with a strong foundation in social and emotional skills are better able to cope with everyday challenges, manage their emotions, and navigate relationships. In a supportive, safe, and loving environment, students learn about themselves and others in lessons that are empowering, self-actualizing, and fun. SEL offers positive, long-term effects on students, the school, and the greater community.
The HDS Computer Science program strives to help students become proficient with using technology to enhance their learning. Students practice important computer skills like searching the Internet for a reliable source and creating a digital presentation. By practicing computational thinking and creative problem-solving skills, students gain confidence with technology as they are exposed to emerging trends in the digital world.
In keeping with HDS’ mission of cross-curricular integration, students connect computer science to other spheres of learning like math and art. As part of HDS’ mensch curriculum, we emphasize the importance of responsible technology use and support students in developing healthy digital citizenship skills. Computer science learning provides students with an important foundation in technology that will boost their curiosity, empower them to seek knowledge, and show them how to make meaningful connections that extend beyond the classroom.