A day at Akiva is a day of variety, exploration, friendship, and above all, learning.
Each day begins with Assembly and Tefillah. During Assembly, all students meet together to learn about special events, the visual arts and current events, celebrate birthdays and other holidays, share our learning via presentations and speeches, hear the latest decisions of our Knesset, and work on building a warm, safe, and respectful community. Following Assembly, students attend Tefillah led by a teacher/rabbi, groups of students, and on occasion, community Rabbis.
Our classes deliver our diverse curriculum using a variety of methodologies: whole group, small group, independent learning, computer-based learning, experimental learning, and community-centered experiences. All of these, when appropriate, are delivered via project-based learning; a natural way to integrate learning across content areas. We believe in bringing in experts and taking our children out in the community to see learning in its “real” format. In all classes, we strengthen the “habits of mind” so needed for 21st century success (critical thinking, risk taking, problem solving, collaboration, curiosity and creativity).
Our Language Arts classes focus on building competency in reading, writing, and speaking. Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop form the basis of our classes and are taught side-by-side with skill-based experiences that build vocabulary and writing expertise.
Akiva has a commitment to CURIOSITY as a foundation for learning—tapping on the natural way in which children learn. The STEM approach (Integrating Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology) has afforded us a vehicle for making this commitment a reality. Mathematics and Science are a blend of teacher-guided skill-based learning along with experiential learning. Through our curricula and instructional strategies, we are helping our children learn the “nuts and bolts” of math and science along with the immediate application and relevance of these skills.
Our commitment to the Engineering process (ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve) is applied across all content areas and forms the basis for helping our student tackle real problems, improve on existing learning, and design new approaches. Again, their curiosity naturally lends itself to this method.
Technology is an arm of the content areas—-not a stand-alone. Our children are learning to use technology (from calculators to whiteboards, to computers/laptops) as a resource in their learning. Coding curriculum in taught so that it can be tapped in the completion of a project. All students have access in school to a computer (Chromebook, laptop, or iPad) and our 5th and 6th graders are assigned a PC in our 1:1 program.
Our Hebrew & Jewish Studies programming is unsurpassed. All children receive 80 minutes/day of Hebrew instruction and Chumash. Language immersion is utilized and even our kindergartners are expected to speak exclusively in Hebrew during Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Our local synagogues are most complementary when they relate that “they can always tell an Akiva student—they are fluid in their Hebrew skills and always at ease in multiple spiritual/religious settings.”
The Arts and Physical Education are alive and well at Akiva. One walk into our building and it becomes clear that our children not only learn about art, they DO art. In music, they are supported in writing and understanding music as well as learning the sacred songs from our Jewish and American heritage, holidays, and traditions. Our Physical Education classes are rigorous and encourage a healthy body, and a spirit of cooperation and sportsmanship.
Finally, we have time during our day for electives and special programming. Older children receive specialized leadership training. Gardening and other topics are explored and offered based on student interest and needs. In collaboration with the Gordon Jewish Community Center, synagogues, and community-based organizations involved in public service, our children work with our community’s seniors and shut in’s, and perform for and lead community events.
Akiva also offers a daily kosher lunch program through parent Erika Shuman’s catering company, Panima. Our dairy-only program is filled with variety and concentrates on providing nut-free, healthy lunches that appeal to young children’s palates. For more information, contact Erika at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every Tuesday morning, students begin the day with “Active Start” offerings provided by community members. These hour-long classes enable us to meet as a staff for weekly professional development. Classes include yoga, gardening, Zumba, and sports.
In all, our students leave their day with a deep sense of accomplishment. They are challenged and supported and their growth from year to year is remarkable. Our program is designed to make this happen!