"Core Fig Tree" refers to our ground-breaking Jewish education program for kids age 3 through 5th grade. In a fun and inclusive environment, students learn about Jewish holidays, ritual, culture, history and text experientially: through art, crafting, games, drama, filmmaking, cooking, gardening, and so much more. Our trimesters reflect the seasonal themes of the Jewish calendar, and diverse topics are covered in an age-appropriate manner. Jewish values of charity, social justice and environmental preservation are emphasized, and are infused throughout our curriculum. We also teach foundational Hebrew in every lesson, and offer separate beginner and intermediate Hebrew language classes.
All classes, regardless of age, will follow the same core curriculum in terms of themes, topics and structure. The specific content will be differentiated by age and, in the case of Hebrew language, skill level. For example, in the weeks preceding Pesach (Passover), all age groups will study the foods and rituals of the Seder, the story of the Exodus, the Ma Nishtana (Four Questions) in Hebrew, etc. However, for each topic, the content will be age-appropriate. For illustrative purposes, the topic of “The Ten Plagues” within our Pesach study might be differentiated across classes as follows:
- Our 3’s and 4’s might design puppets and use dramatic play to experience the “telling” of the plagues;
- Our K/ 1 class might create plague-themed mini dioramas, for a tactile exploration of this topic;
- Our 2/3 class might experience the plagues as part of a Hebrew language exercise, incorporated into a larger project involving creation of individualized haggadot;
- Our 4/5 class might consider the Ten Plagues more critically: evaluating their “fairness” and effectiveness, considering them within the context of modern social ills and their own morals and values, effectively developing their own midrashim.
Fig Tree class topics are intentionally standardized across all age groups (per the example above). This standardization does two very important things:
- Unifies all Fig Tree students in community, creating a common language of knowledge across all students, regardless of age and grade; and
- Ensures that siblings in the same family (cousins on the same block, friends in the same school group, etc.) can have conversations about what they learned! [Seriously: when was the last time everyone at the dinner table wanted to discuss Torah? Isn't that why we're doing this?? Yes. Yes, it is.]
Encouraging a sense of community and shared experience inevitably lends to strengthening of individual Jewish identity for Fig Tree kids. And that's why we're here!
Foundational Hebrew in Core Fig Tree Classes
At Fig Tree we believe that being able to speak and understand Hebrew is a fundamental part of developing a strong Jewish identity. That said, we know it is not realistic to expect students to become fluent in Hebrew in a one-hour class, once per week.
To that end, our Hebrew language goals per age group are appropriately challenging, yet realistic. When possible, we will group more advanced Hebrew language learners together. For novice Hebrew students in older classes, we can arrange one-on-one tutoring, or recommend supporting resources.
Stand-Alone Hebrew Language Classes
We also offer Hebrew-language only classes in select locations. Unlike our core Fig Tree classes which incorporate both Jewish cultural, textual and religious instruction AND Hebrew each week, our Hebrew language classes are language-only. Students in 2nd - 7th grade will learn modern Hebrew through conversation, games and text. In order to support the iterative process that learning a foreign language requires, our Hebrew language classes are offered as a year-long program only.