At Akiva, Jewish Studies is taught as an integral part of the child’s whole learning at school. The class teachers deliver the Jewish Studies curriculum supported by specialist teachers within the school. As an inclusive Progressive Jewish School our curriculum and our approach to Judaism reflects our values.
Opportunities are taken wherever possible to integrate aspects of Jewish Studies with other areas of the curriculum and the links made are both strong and meaningful. For example the children in Year 4 learn about Bal Tashchit in conjunction with their Geography topic on sustainability whilst children in Year 2 compare Juadah Maccabee's and Guy Fawkes' approaches to standing up for their rights.
Children also receive a discrete Jewish Studies lesson from their class teachers and the topics covered are laid out with the rest of the curriculum information. These cover Jewish life, Jewish thought and values and Jewish history. In the Summer Term following Yom Ha'atzmaut the topics throughout the school are focused on Israel. The children participate in a ‘Shiur Torah’ lesson each week. For Reception and Key Stage 1 children this involves looking at the weekly Torah portion whereas Key Stage 2 children work according to half termly modules allowing them to go further into depth of a text.
Each class has Shacharit most mornings of the week. Over the course of their Akiva journey the children gain a personal understanding of the Shacharit prayers other than just learning them by rote. During Shacharit we also give children the opportunity to engage in some mindfulness exercises to help them connect with the divine.
We take much enjoyment throughout the year of celebrating all the festivals. The children work on a spiral curriculum for each festival ensuring that their learning develops as they move through the years. We share our learning and celebrations with parents, local Rabbis and children of other faiths from our local schools. Each year we designate two 'Focus Festivals' during which parents are invited into class to participate in learning activities with their children and celebrate together.
In order to further strengthen links between the children's Jewish learning in school and their Jewish lives at home, each year group has an event of Jewish ritual significance to which parents are invited to join. These provide an opportunities for the children to celebrate Jewish rituals with their parents in a school setting.
To gain an excellent picture of our Jewish Studies provision also read our Pikuach Report.