When we first imagined creating the Growing Garden Academy, we knew that we wanted it to be interdisciplinary and infuse the beliefs, values and history of Jewish identity into everything that the students will be learning. We’ve achieved that by incorporating Jewish traditions and study into the everyday structure of the classroom.
For example, there will be many interdisciplinary studies centered on Jewish holidays. Appropriately, early on in the school calendar year will fall the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Teachers of all subjects integrate Jewish traditions into their curriculum, such as incorporating symbols of the High Holidays like counting sorting, sequencing and graphing apples during math, and inviting a bee keeper to come and talk about the life of bees and how honey is made, during science and social studies. On Tu B’Shvat, the celebration of all things trees, the curriculum dives into a discussion of the lifecycle of plants and fruits, getting into a larger discussion about the environment.
The goal of all Academy teachers is to seamlessly weave Jewish studies into all subject areas, such as math, language and arts. To do this, the Jewish Studies teacher Alta Gordon works closely with the main teacher in each class to ensure the cohesiveness of the studies.
Infusing Judaic studies into every aspect of our day, is a wonderful way for children to understand that being Jewish is part of who we are and lends value, depth and meaning to everything that we do. This inspires them to grow into successful, well-rounded adults who understand that they can each make a positive impact on our community.
Our theme for this year is community. We are all connected to each other and we all care for one another. We emphasize throughout the year how each of us was created for a specific reason, and just like a puzzle piece each one of us is needed to complete the puzzle! Our motto for this year is the words of the Mishna: “The world was created for me.” These words are not meant to be taken alone but in the context of the community; every single person is important and plays a vital role in the community.