Integration of Jewish & General Studies
The real world is complex. Silos are linked, skills overlap from one area to another, and people who are able to integrate seemingly disparate parts of their lives and characters are best equipped to succeed.
This is why Schechter Manhattan's curriculum integrates subject areas and ways of learning wherever possible, reflecting the reality that we want our graduates to be simultaneously Americans, skilled adults, and engaged Jews --- not one at a time.
Our educational approach in the Elementary divisions features bi-lingual co-teachers in each classroom: the same teachers teach math and science, reading and writing and social studies, but also t'filah, Jewish life, and Torah. Classrooms are rich with both Hebrew and English language materials. Thematic units bring disciplines together. Students learn to apply habits of mind (recognizing patterns, discerning key principles, analytical thinking, deep questioning, etc.) across subject areas. For example, fifth graders' math studies about proportion and scale are applied and enhanced by designing models for the sukkah as described in the Mishnah.
In middle school, students move from class to class with different teachers and subject specialists. Skills, however, including research, analysis, and presentation, continue to be integrated. Teachers for each grade level meet regularly to support each child's development as a learner across the spectrum of subject areas. Continued emphasis on the values of caring, cooperation, and self-motivated learning that characterized the elementary divisions help keep adolescents unusually engaged in their classes and their community.
Learning in an integrated way from the very start gives our students the tools to understand the complicated and integrated world we live in. The deep interconnections of skills, content, and values they gain from this integrated environment prepare our graduates well to succeed in that world as they move through the elementary and middle school years and beyond.
Read "A New Paradigm of Integration" - an article on this topic by Dr. Steven C. Lorch.