Researchers in a wide range of fields increasingly attest to the benefits of bilingualism. Students who have had an early start in a long-sequence foreign-language program consistently display enhanced cognitive abilities relative to their monolingual peers–including pattern recognition, problem solving, divergent thinking, flexibility, and creativity… In short, they have a decided edge in the higher-order thinking skills that will serve them well as college students and citizens. Surprisingly, students who study a second language for a few years do better on standardized tests in mathematics.
~ Source: “English Is Not Enough” by Catherine Porter in The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 23, 2010 (Vol. LVI, #32, p. A64),
MWJDS students develop fluent communication and comprehension skills in both modern and biblical Hebrew. They learn to read and understand religious and secular texts.
Although our students are taught many subjects in English, MWJDS also recognizes that the most effective way to learn a language is full immersion. Therefore, our students are fully immersed in Hebrew, seeing it, hearing it and using it every day in every subject, directly (e.g., prayer, song, books) and indirectly (e.g., praise, labels on classroom items). Hebrew is incorporated into every aspect of the curriculum so that children learn, become comfortable with and develop a loving attitude toward the Hebrew language.
I cannot believe how much Hebrew our daughter has learned in such a short period of time! And it makes us so happy to see how proud she is to use it. ~ An Israeli parent and Hebrew teacher
Accommodating Levels of Proficiency
At MWJDS we are pleased to offer both beginner level Hebrew as well as Hebrew for native speakers. Beginners are introduced to Hebrew through the Nitzanim program developed at Hebrew University in Jerusalem for North American students. The program includes short stories of everyday life that are relevant to young readers. Native speakers are taught in an individualized, literature-based program.
Although we are committed to Hebrew education as a Jewish day school, we also recognize the importance of developing foreign language skills that may be useful in different arenas of life. We have therefore decided this year to introduce Spanish in first grade, initially through culture and song, but building incrementally. In third grade, Spanish is taken up more substantially and in middle school, greater emphasis is placed in the curriculum on higher level Spanish. We will be supplementing group Spanish classes and Spanish tables at lunchtime with individualized programs with Rosetta Stone and other blended technologies.