An exciting, inspiring and relevant Jewish education, empowering our pupils to become confident, competent and enthusiastic members of our community and proud to represent us in the wider community is another key area of provision at Immanuel College.
The Preparatory School days begins with tefilla (prayers) and the children learn to navigate their way around the siddur so that they know both how to pray and what to say each day. Taught by specialist teachers, with the support of a Jewish Studies teaching assistant, our curriculum is broad and balanced, Modern Orthodox in outlook, giving the pupils a detailed understanding of Jewish customs and practices, access to and understanding of Biblical and Rabbinical texts and a love for and the centrality of Israel. It reflects the rich and varied rhythms of Jewish life, giving children the opportunity to both study and experience first-hand the tools, knowledge and excitement of being Jewish. Skills are taught incrementally, for example we introduce the building blocks of textual study with Aleph Bet in Reception, adding translation of key words once fluency of Hebrew Reading has been achieved, then the identification of elements of grammar, such as the root of a word, the prefixes and suffixes in early Key Stage, and then the application of this to unseen texts.
Alongside these skills, the children develop an understanding of how to ask and answer questions on the text, so that they interact with text as a means of understanding our Jewish past and relating it to our Jewish present and future. Weekly lessons on the parsha, the Torah reading of the week, have a focus on character development and through our teaching about the festivals we give the children opportunities to learn about, and where possible, experience key events of the life cycle of the Jewish year. For example, Pizza in the Hut on Sukkot, pressing olives for oil before Chanukah, whole school fancy dress megillah reading on Purim, model sedarim before Pesach, Yom Ha’Atzmaut dancing and activities, complete with Israeli lunch and special events for Shabbat UK. We have Shabbat assemblies, sometimes in key stages so that we can tailor them for the needs of the children in relation to their age, at other times as a whole school to enjoy the unity of celebrating altogether.
The children are encouraged to bring a penny for tzedakah (charity) each day as well as being involved in larger projects such as the Camp Simcha Toy Drive before Chanukah and collecting fruit before Tu B’Shvat, for distribution by GIFT to families in need within the community. We arranged a collection non-perishable items for families affected by the flooding in the North of England, and the means of getting it to them and had non-uniform days to raise funds for families affected by the earthquake in Nepal and the Grenfell Tower fire. We hold an annual event to raise funds in memory of one of our pupils, donating to The Shani Berman Brighter Futures Fund.
The children show great enthusiasm for their learning and are keen to share this with their family and friends. Each year group has a key activity with their parents/ grandparents, such as the Chaggigat HaSiddur in Year 1, the Chaggigat HaChumash in Year 3, a Mezuzah craft workshop, a 1:1 text study session and a challah baking afternoon and we send home crafts and information sheets around Shabbat and the Chaggim so that parents can be a part of their children’s learning. The Independent Schools Inspectorate found that "pupils outstanding levels of confidence, self-identity and spiritual awareness derive from the embodiment of the Jewish faith and its values" from the youngest age. (ISI, November 2013)