Kindergarten is when a solid foundation for learning is created.  Whether students enter Kindergarten knowing how to read, or just recognizing the letters in their name, all students at The Hebrew Academy learn the five pillars of reading: understanding the relationship between sounds and words (phonics), reading fluently, understanding what they read, expanding vocabulary, and building knowledge. Throughout their time in the Lower School, students will expand and deepen these skills so that they become effective, proficient, and competent learners.  During Kindergarten Children Learn:

All about the alphabet

In kindergarten children will be expected to recognize all 26 lowercase and uppercase letters and their sounds. They will be able to identify which letters are different in similar words (e.g. map, lap, tap, and that spoken words represent a sequence of letters.  They will also learn that we start at the top of the page and proceed down, and that, when reading in English, we read from left to right, and page by page. They will become familiar with parts of a book, such as the front cover, the back cover, and the title page.

Word sense and rhymes

Word play helps young students understand how words are broken into individual syllables and how words with similar endings rhyme. Exposure to how syllables and words work together helps build their word knowledge and familiarity.  In kindergarten students learn to “decode” or decipher the meanings of words and phrases within the context of what they’re reading. With help, kindergartners learn to make connections between words and their subtle meanings, and then sort them into categories (e.g. shapes and colors) and figure out antonyms. This year, they’ll even be deciphering shades of meaning between words. Tip: Have your child act out similar words. What does it look like to march, strut, walk, and stroll? What does it look like to cry, sob, and howl?

Mastering common words

About half of all reading texts are made up of the same 100 words! By the end of kindergarten most students will know all of them.  Our teachers help by providing a lists of these high-frequency words (e.g. at, be, of, and to) for students to work on memorizing at home. Similarly, ”sight words,” such as good or out, can’t be easily sounded out so they must be memorized.   (C lick here for a list of standard Kindergarten sight words) Exploring fiction and nonfiction

Kindergarten is a time when children begin to discern between real and imaginary. We encourage kindergartners to imaginary stories as well as non-fiction informational text. By the end of kindergarten, children recognize stories and poems and find the name of a book’s author and illustrator with the understanding that the author wrote the words and the illustrator drew the pictures.

Build Background Knowledge 

Kindergartners develop a deeper understanding of the world by integrating new information into what they already know. Imagine a “knowledge bank account” that will accumulate information from now on. Key skills that help students build knowledge include being able to retell familiar stories; identify characters, setting, and major events in a story; and compare and contrast characters and events in different stories.  A 5-year-old can explain that Harold in Harold and the Purple Crayon had an amazing adventure because of what he imagined. During this stage, we encourage kindergartners to  think about and understand the big ideas from reading.

Identify Evidence

In kindergarten students learn to show evidence by flipping through the pages and finding the words — or the picture of the scene you asked about. Our teachers emphasize evidence in different ways:

  • Asking and answering questions about details in books and showing exactly where those answers show up in the text or illustrations.

  • Being able to discern a book’s main point and using the text or images to show how the author makes this point.

  • Connect a book’s illustrations to the exact words they illustrate.

By the end of Kindergarten, our students

  • Follow class rules

  • Separate from a parent or caregiver with ease

  • Take turns

  • Cut along a line with scissors

  • Establish left- or right-hand dominance

  • Understand time concepts like yesterday, today, and tomorrow

  • Stand quietly in a line

  • Follow directions agreeably and easily

  • Pay attention for 15 to 20 minutes

  • Hold a crayon and pencil correctly

  • Share materials such as crayons and blocks

  • Know the eight basic colors: red, yellow, blue, green, orange, black, white, and pink

  • Recognize and write the letters of the alphabet in upper- and lowercase forms

  • Know the relationship between letters and the sounds they make

  • Recognize sight words such as the and read simple sentences

  • Spell his first and last name

  • Write consonant-vowel-consonant words such as bat and fan

  • Retell a story that has been read aloud

  • Identify numbers up to 20

  • Count by ones, fives, and tens to 100

  • Know basic shapes such as a square, triangle, rectangle, and circle

  • Know their address and phone number


Judaic Studies and Hebrew Language

Judaism comes alive in the Kindergarten classroom! The Aleph Bais, the weekly Torah Parsha, and holiday traditions come alive and are taught through song, beautiful art projects, and exciting games. Our aim is for our students to love and live Judaism and be proud of their Jewish heritage.

Our Kindergarten students will master the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet and most vowels over the course of the school year.

The acquisition of conversational Modern Hebrew is a main theme at the  Hebrew Academy. Our aim is for our students to develop a love for Israel through the use of Hebrew language. Our curriculum is designed to help the students to develop expressive language skills and reading readiness in Hebrew.