The Hebrew language will go from the synagogue to the house of study, and from the house of study to the school, and from the school it will come into the home and... become a living language.
— Eliezer ben Yehuda
Hebrew is much more than just a language at Denver Jewish Day School.
As students continue to grow at our school, Hebrew language, both modern and classical, becomes an integral part of their Jewish identity.
Research shows that learning a second language, especially at an early age, promotes positive intellectual growth, enhances and enriches a child’s mental development, promotes flexibility in thinking and a greater sensitivity to language in general, and improves children’s understanding of their native language.
At Denver JDS, the learning of Hebrew in particular has the added benefits of connecting our students to Jews across space and time and helps strengthen their Jewish identity, fosters a connection with the land, State, and people of Israel, and helps to unlock traditional Jewish texts. Our Hebrew program focuses on modern Hebrew and fosters growth among our students towards proficiency in the areas of reading, writing, listening comprehension and speaking.
Denver JDS is pleased to partner with Hebrew at the Center as we revise our curriculum and move towards a proficiency approach to teaching Hebrew in kindergarten through 12th grade.
Students participate in an age-appropriate immersion model of Hebrew every day, beginning in kindergarten. Instruction in the Lower Division prioritizes fostering comfort among the students with Hebrew through exposure from native Hebrew speakers and authentic materials. Starting in first grade, Hebrew classes use Tal Am, a program where students study from books and use music, games, and other visual aids to learn and communicate in modern Hebrew. Additionally, through tefilah (prayer) and Chumash (Bible) study, students learn the tools to decode and translate classical Hebrew. Through differentiation in all classes and leveled classes starting in second grade, students are challenged at their appropriate Hebrew levels, maximizing student growth.
Students take their Hebrew skills to the next level and begin to formally engage with the modern Hebrew language in their classes every day. Additionally, students continue to hone their classical Hebrew skills through their Judaic courses. Upper, middle and lower-level Hebrew courses accommodate each student’s learning style.
Students continue on the path to Hebrew proficiency, increasing their Hebrew vocabulary and command of grammatical concepts while also improving their reading comprehension and spoken language. Additionally, students engage in hands-on projects, taking ownership of their Hebrew learning and applying the language to real-life situations. Upper, middle and lower-level Hebrew courses accommodate each student’s learning style. Classes are taught almost exclusively in Hebrew, and topics include Israeli society, culture, and current events. Incoming students without a Hebrew background participate in a transition program tailored to their specific needs.
Lower Division students receive individualized push-in and/or pull-out support in their classes.
Upper Division students who don't have any Hebrew background are automatically enrolled in our mechinah (preparatory) program where they receive individualized attention from Hebrew teachers. This is an accelerated program meant to prepare them to enter a class with their peers before the end of the school year.
Students who transfer in with some Hebrew are assessed and placed in the appropriate class.