Integration & Experiential Learning
Integration is a central component of Chicago Jewish Day School's curriculum. Integrated learning is when children broadly explore knowledge in various subjects as they relate to a certain theme. At Chicago Jewish Day School, we strive to integrate all of the curricular disciplines such as the humanities, communication arts, natural sciences, mathematics, social studies, music, art, and physical education. Judaic Studies and Hebrew are integrated throughout all of these disciplines in meaningful and authentic ways. This holistic approach to learning reflects the real world, which is interactive, and promotes lifelong learning.
Our General and Judaic Studies teachers actively collaborate to integrate learning across subject areas. The arts, technology, and active, hands-on projects are seamlessly integrated into thematic units while immersing students in topics that captivate, encourage critical thinking, lead them to creative discovery and ultimately empower them to take action.
Jewish values such as Tzedakah (justice) and Mitzvot (commandments/good deeds), and various community service endeavors, are woven into classroom and school-wide learning. At CJDS, we believe in educating the whole child – in and out of the classroom – as Jews, Americans, and global citizens.
Experiential learning at CJDS encourages a sense of ownership, allowing students to construct their own learning and make it come to life. Students acquire and apply knowledge in a setting that is both authentic and meaningful. The students will interact directly with the area of study, resulting in an authentic and meaningful learning experience. Rather than merely thinking or reading about the topic, the students live and breathe it!
Enter a classroom at CJDS, and it is abundantly clear that our students don’t just hear or read about a topic, they experience it, live it, and make it their own. Whether holding a conference on the world’s oceans as they explore the Great Barrier Reef or creating their own pilgrim personas during a voyage on the Mayflower (see above), learning comes to life through a curriculum that is both interactive and engaging. Every interactive and engaging program is seen through a Jewish lens. Whether it’s learning the traveler’s prayer prior to embarking on the Mayflower or learning about the mitzvah for healing and helping the sick during the medical unit, Judaism is fully integrated into our General Studies curriculum.
We are devoted to the idea of exploring our environment and acquainting ourselves with the sights, smells, and culture of our surrounding community. Throughout the year, we will take walks around the neighborhood; visit local museums, synagogues, libraries, and attend plays and symphonies. We look forward to learning from our community and inviting people who live and work around us into our classroom. We feel that their presence and knowledge enhances our learning. We believe that there is a tremendous value in connecting to the larger community and encourage our students to take care of each other and the world.