Lower Division

With each child, the world begins anew. -- Midrashic tradition 

In addition to establishing the building blocks for a lifetime of learning, the Lower Division at Denver JDS is a time for students to develop analytical and problem solving skills that will help them become great thinkers, great friends, and great citizens. Our holistic approach to teaching and learning allows children to be themselves and honors who they are as individuals.

In Hebrew and Judaic classes, K through 5 students gain an appreciation for Israel and Judaism through a blend of music, holiday celebrations, prayer and inquiry into Jewish text. Students speak, read and write Hebrew daily.

In addition to the regular curriculum, Denver JDS services include our Learning Resource Center (LRC), Gifted Learner Program, Social Wellness, and College Counseling.

Lower Division Curriculum

Our Lower Division team combines critical thinking, compassion and creativity to foster a love of learning and bring out the best in every student.

Hebrew-- Beginning in kindergarten, students partiipate in an age-appropriate immersion model of Hebrew every school day. Hebrew instruction first focuses on the oral language students need to become proficient speakers of the language. Denver JDS students then learn the reading and writing skills necessary to communicate in the analysis of Hebrew texts, stories, and everyday communication. Starting in first grade, Hebrew classes use Tal Am, a program where students study from textbooks and use music, games, and visual aids to learn the Hebrew language and to develop a keen understanding of Jewish concepts and values.

Judaic Studies-- In Judaic Studies, students develop their sense of being a Jew by learning about, reading, and discussing biblical and interpretive texts. They also experience a wide range of holiday practices, study about the history of the Jewish people, foster a love of Israel, and learn the specific prayers to participate in T'fillah.

Language Arts-- Lower Division students begin the reading and writing curriculum with an Orton-Gillingham approach to reading and spelling. Students quickly develop into capable readers and gain analytic reading skills in a variety of genre. During their elementary school years, Denver JDS students build a life-long love of literature and expand their reading and writing abilities in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Math-- The Denver JDS Lower Division uses a Singapore approach to teach mathematics. Using the Math in Focus program, students develop a strong sense of numbers and number relationships, and use learned skills to solve real-world problems. Denver JDS students engage in a variety of problem solving approaches to become excellent mathematicians.

Science-- Denver JDS Lower Division students engage in a hands-on and inquiry-based approach to exploring the scientific world. Through the FOSS (Full Option Science System) science curriculum, students exercise logical thinking and decision-making skills as they explore the natural world. They experience, perceive, and hypothesize about the physical and theoretical worlds of biology, physics, chemistry, earth science, and astronomy.

Social Studies-- Lower Division students explore the world through the study of geography, civics, history, economics, and Jewish learning. They gain insight and begin to understand their role in the community, state, region, and world through classroom lessons and offsite learning experiences. Social studies content is regularly integrated into students' literature and Judaic studies.

Specials -- Students enjoy “specials” every week; art, music, computers, physical education and library are all part of the regular curriculum at Denver JDS, giving our students a variety of outlets to express themselves throughout the day. In P.E., students are introduced to the fundamentals of baseball, football, basketball, soccer and other sports. The Rubenstein Family Library, has more than 16,000 volumes for students to learn how to navigate the library system and find books appropriate to their interests and reading levels. Our music room features a grand piano, drums, recorders, guitars and a keyboard. Art units include a study in self-portraits, clay work, and more. In the Pluss, Rosenbaum Computer Lab, students use state-of-the art apple computers and learn how to input, access, and retrieve technological content. Beginning in third grade, Lower Division students gain in-school only email privileges and are taught how to safely and appropriately begin navigating the world wide web.

Our Lower Division Scope & Sequence document, with a comprehensive, subject-by-subject measure of the skills and concepts taught in K-5 is coming soon.

Teacher Web Pages

Kindergarten website

First Grade website

Second Grade website

Third Grade website

Fourth Grade website

Fifth Grade website

Library website

Key Events & Highlights

A favorite kindergarten tradition is the annual class "trip" to Israel, piloted by Head of School/CEO Avi Halzel.

A keystone event of first grade is the Chaggigat Siddur ceremony, where each students receieves his or her first Hebrew prayer book.

Near the middle of the school year, second graders partake in a Chaggigat Chumash ceremony, during which they each receive their own bible.

Many students' most anticipated event of third grade is their first overnight trip as a class.

Moving up to the second floor of the building and an overnight trip to the Plains Conservation Center in the spring are exciting experiences for fourth graders.

Fifth grade involves self-directed assignments and deadlines, large-scale, collaborative projects, and Lower Division leadership responsibilities. A two-night, three-day overnight trip to Keystone Science School takes place in the fall, and students end the year with a formal bridging ceremony and celebration, marking their transition from the Lower to Upper Division at Denver JDS.


We use a variety of assessment measures to monitor student growth. In-class assessments, curricular assessments, DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) for reading assessment in K-2 classrooms, DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment) in grades K-5, and MAPs (Measure of Academic Progress) in grades 2-7 help us measure student progress and adjust instruction accordingly.

Extended Day Options

Early care, after care and after-school BLAST programs keep students happily occupied and help accommodate working parents' schedules.