Kodesh Provision at BJPS

 

Connecting Hearts and Minds to Become Inspired Torah Jews

 

For the Broughton Jewish pupil, Kodesh forms a substantial and important part of the School programme, representing approximately 40% of the teaching timetable.  Sunday morning classes (for Year 3 upwards) are exclusively dedicated to Jewish learning and activities.

As part of our drive to nurture, well balanced, wholesome and Torah engaged individuals, our Kodesh Teaching and Learning program addresses 3 areas of need - The emotional, spiritual and intellectual.

In addition to the positive relationships that exist between staff and pupils, the school has introduced emotional wellbeing programs that are delivered by Kodesh and Chol teachers together. Regular staff training takes place to empower teachers to develop the emotional wellbeing of their pupils.

The positive relationships that are maintained between Teachers and pupils ensures the kodesh experience is an enriched and spiritual one which values relationships and connections.

 A newly formed spirituality working party, meets regularly to identify opportunities to enhance the Jewish spirituality in school. They use a framework developed by Pikuach to evaluate and monitor its impact.

Great strides have been made, to add rigour to the Teaching of Kodesh at BJPS. The curriculum has undergone a complete overhaul to reflect the ambitious aims of the Ideal Graduate Document. Each subject area is delivered through its distinct methodology, with a view to empowering students to develop the tools to learn on their own!

The Ideal Graduate Document was created in consultation with the school’s trustees and foundation governors to guide the ambitious revamping of our Kodesh Program.

At BJPS we aspire to educate our pupils in a way that they see themselves as an integral part of our ongoing Tradition. By helping them become engaged in the process of Torah learning and not just on its Knowledge outcomes, we believe our pupils will be in well positioned to become life - long committed Torah Jews. 

Hebrew is the primary skill required for Torah learning and the Kria program has been revamped to achieve our ambitious goals.

The pupils are introduced in Nursery to a spattering of basic Hebrew terminology to familiarise them with Hebrew as a spoken language. The Hebrew alphabet is introduced in Reception with Hebrew words for each letter. At the same time the teacher uses these Hebrew words to construct sentences to further familiarise the children with Hebrew as a spoken language. This Hebrew reading for meaning program will be consolidated and enhanced in Year 1 through to year 2 by which time most children are expected to be accurate Hebrew readers.

The pupils’ Hebrew reading becomes fluent in KS2 through exposure to a fluency program used by all staff and consolidated at home.

 Interventions are provided for children who require more targeted support. Ongoing Teacher assessment is moderated once a year by the Reading coordinator.

Our Chumash curriculum provides the core knowledge, skill and understanding base for the learning of Torah Shebiksav and is complemented by a methodology that facilitates Chumash learning in an authentic way. Taamei Hamikra are taught to help the punctuation of the pesukim and cues are provided for the pupils to make sense of the pesukim without resort to rote translation.

 Torah SheBaal Peh lies at the heart of our Kodesh provision as reflected in our new trailblazing Halacha and Minhag Curriculum. Running alongside the Veshinatom Torah She Baal Peh program delivered to the Boys in Key Stage 2, this new curriculum was launched in September 2016, with the aim to ensure that knowledge of Jewish practice is anchored in the learning of the textual sources, in an age appropriate manner. Significant emphasis is placed on the context of Torah learning. To this end the children are taught the structure  of Torah SheBiksav and Torah SheBaal Peh. They know the historical layers of Toras HaTanoim and in Year 6 of Toras HaAmoraim after spending time in year 5 comparing and contrasting a range of Tannaic texts.

In a similar vein, our new Parsha curriculum incorporates the key skills that are required to become a competent Parsha learner. In addition to developing a secure knowledge base of the content of the Aliyos of each Parsha, the curriculum includes selected Aggadic texts with a methodology to interpret them in an appropriate way. Scanning through chunks of text is another skill that the children are taught to master.

A broad General Knowledge program is in place throughout the school culminating in the Etgar program for Year 5 that sees our children participate in a class trip to London to partake in the national event.

Our Kodesh staff blend traditional teaching methods with a range of technology to captivate the children, and maintain their interest.  The School continually supports the professional development of staff and is keen to promote its teacher training program to ensure that all staff are at the cutting edge of education development and change.

As well as applying our guiding principles, we pursue our ethos vigorously and enthusiastically.  When the children reach Key Stage 2, the Kodesh lessons are conducted separately so as to enable both boys and girls to pursue the appropriate study programmes to ultimately enable them to succeed within corresponding Jewish secondary schools.

Our School seeks to nurture and encourage a sense of Achdus (unity) with Klal Yisroel (Jewish People) together with love for Eretz Yisroel (the Land of Israel).  This close association with Israel is recognised through special Assemblies and events to commemorate Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day). Throughout the year, extra curricular activities are designed and delivered to deepen the children’s connection to Israel, often including joint activities with our twin school in Northern Israel.

Taking responsibility for society and beyond is a key theme and to this every class has their adopted charity. The informal program also includes activities such as visiting local old age homes, model Sedorim, Tu B’Shevat tree planting, Shofar practice, Succah building and Menorah lighting etc, all designed to contribute the unique Ruach that permeates the school.