How we Work
We fit Jewish education into the day-to-day busy lives of our urban families. We pick children up Monday through Friday from area elementary schools, on a flexible schedule. They walk back to our center at 20th & Sansom Street for a healthy snack and a whole afternoon of Jewish learning, until parent pickup at 6pm. While they are with us, children also have quality time with friends and mentors, and get their homework done, too. We also have camp days when parents need us-- half-days, snow-days, and school vacations.
3:00-3:40 Pick up at area schools and travel back to Makom Community
3:40-4:10 Snack and Snacktime Learning
4:10-4:35 Shulchanot Avodah--Project Centers
4:35-5:10 Tefilah: Prayer, Music, and Movement
5:10-6:00 Open Learning Time & Homework Help
6:00 Last Parent Pickup
Snack and Snacktime Learning
We begin the day by gathering together for snack and to hear about each other's days so far and what each of us plan to do at Makom Community today. Then we jump right into our learning. While students are eating, we study a small section of text together. We start with an opening activity to anchor the students in the main ideas of the text and then have a conversation delving into the messages of the text and how we can apply them to our lives.
Shulchanot Avodah--Project Centers
One child busily records himself on an iPad re-telling a story from Exodus that we studied together the week before. Two other students are using natural materials to build representations of scenes from a text story. Another student flips from image to image online as she tries to imagine what the flora and fauna might have looked like in an earlier time. Another student is interviewing visiting seniors about their experiences with people of different faiths when they grew up in Center City. Teachers move from student to student finding out whether he or she can help with the project that particular student is working on.
Tefilah: Prayer, Music, and Movement
Everyone moves over to a carpet as we sing our transition niggun (the wordless tune that moves us from Shulchanot Avodah to Tefilah). We sing prayers and move with the music-- jumping, walking, and contextualizing the text of prayers through the use of gestures and sign language to provide deeper understanding. Many of the students volunteer to lead parts of the prayer service, but some do not. They all know that they are welcome to lead any parts of the service they would like to. Some students choose to, and others pull out their notebooks to write down or draw ideas that come to them during the service.
Our Innovative Curriculum
Our all-original curriculum has a few key goals:
- Child-led learning: Children pursue their own interests and learn in ways that work well for them.
- Relationship-building: Emotional intelligence and community building skills are core concepts.
- Playful, Joyful Jewish learning: We have FUN exploring Jewish text and ideas and making them relevant.
- All parents are empowered interpreters of Jewish tradition, especially at our weekly Family Shabbat Celebration.