As it should be, the K classroom is a vibrant, consistent, and carefully planned entry point to engage the range of children we welcome each year. We help kindergarten students build the tools to learn independently and together while cultivating their love for learning and being at CCJDS. Children will enter first grade with confidence borne of the engaging literacy, numeracy and community building skills they experience during this critical first year.
First through Fourth Grade
Our curriculum depends on talented and caring teachers who connect to each child's natural curiosity. Great teachers love working with students and families because they get to know each child as a learner and an individual. With this strong, trusting bond established, a child's potential grows exponentially.
Through the academic program and the emphasis on values permeating the Jewish lessons, students learn interdependence and a respect for difference that comes from a genuine and deep cultivation of their own unique voice.
Curriculum in grades K-4 features building blocks of a quality education. Teachers emphasize creative, project-based learning and use a rich variety of curricular materials. (See below for some examples of materials used.)
Math objectives include mastery of computation, conceptual understanding, and application of mathematics to real-life situations. Students develop strength in reasoning and problem solving through critical thinking. Eureka Math, Marcy Cook Math, Singapore Math, and Contexts for Learning.
Science comes to life through hands-on exploration and structured inquiry. Our Director of Science Education, Dr. Michele Spitulnik, works with teachers and students at all grade levels to ensure that even our youngest students are engaged in meaningful scientific experimentation and developing skills for increasingly sophisticated study. Foss Science Kits from Lawrence Hall of Science.
Language Arts are fundamental for all other subjects. Our students develop skills in decoding and comprehending information, as well as the ability to express their knowledge and understanding through writing, speaking and artistic production. Reader's Workshop, Literature Circles, Writer’s Workshop, Fletcher’s Place Phonics, Guided Reading, Words Their Way Spelling.
Through Social Studies, students come to appreciate texts, art, and music as sources of meaning. They cultivate an appreciation for the diversity of cultures and places in our country and around the world -- a long time ago and today.
Beginning in Kindergarten, our Hebrew language program comes to life through songs, stories and crafts. In 1st-5th grades, students develop their conversational Hebrew alongside strong reading, writing and oral comprehension skills. Curriculum materials highlight Israeli culture -- helping students to connect to their heritage and to modern day Israel. Tal-Am Hebrew Language for Community Schools, liberal/egalitarian version.
The Judaics/Jewish Studies Program is designed to foster an understanding and appreciation for the values, ethics, culture, and religious heritage of the Jewish people. We are a community Jewish Day School, respecting a wide variety of Jewish perspectives. Through tefillah (prayer) students develop their own spiritual path. Study of Jewish texts, Modern Hebrew, holidays, and the centrality of the state of Israel, develops students' critical thinking skills, a connection to Israel and the Jewish community, and their voice. With All Your Heart: A Trans-Denominational Community Siddur/prayerbook, The Mensch Curriculum, Tal-Am.
Field trips for academic and social enrichment are an integral part of the curriculum. They include, for example: Lindsay Wildlife Museum, One Room Schoolhouse in Danville, Contra Costa County Sanitation District, a recycling plant, Oakland Museum of California, San Francisco Symphony and more.
As early as fourth grade our students take on leadership roles in the lower school, coordinating town hall meetings, taking their first overnight school trip to the Gold Country, and looking towards moving to the second floor where students start the transition to Middle School across the Fifth Grade Bridge.
The Fifth Grade Bridge
Study skills and preparation for Middle School are major themes of 5th grade, a bridge year from the self-contained primary school classroom to the multi-discipline, rigorous preparatory setting of Middle School. Fifth graders serve as leaders of Lower School student life while being introduced to the rhythms and structure of Middle School. In the spring they take a science-focused overnight trip to Pt. Reyes.