At Akiva, we believe in Ivrit B’Ivrit, Hebrew is taught in a completely immersive atmosphere and from their start in Kindergarten, students are surrounded in a completely Hebrew environment and encouraged to speak only Hebrew as well. Students are surrounded by a text rich environment and learn the language using literature, music, songs, dances, art, and theatre. In grades K-4, Hebrew is spoken in both the Hebrew and Jewish Studies classes and our children see this language as not only the language of their heritage but an active communicative language. In the K classroom, students rotate through centers that expose them to the language and letters in a rich, interactive, way that focuses on building their independence and learners and willingness to take risks. In grades 1-4, Akiva draws upon the Tal Am Hebrew and Heritage curriculum, which integrates Hebrew language acquisition, reading and writing skills, Jewish values and the importance of being able to engage in conversations regarding daily topics.
Students are exposed and grow with a ‘virtual classroom’ of students who go through many of the experiences that they are going through and begin to see the world through their eyes. In grades 5-6, students learn using a theme-based approach that connects the language to many of the questions and topics that most interest them. The more we learn about the brain, the more we recognize that learning a second language contributes to healthier brain growth and increases the amount of connections that students make over time. The earlier the exposure, the easier the learning and the deeper the impact on the brain’s structuring and functioning. This research based approach, which uses interactive posters, books, CD’s and the integration of technology create an exciting and vibrant experience which both supports and challenges students in an appropriate and meaningful way.