The BPY Experience – Our Educational Philosophy
BPY’s educational philosophy is guided by our focus on instilling confidence in our students so that they are motivated to meet all academic challenges and are comfortable taking risks to voice ideas and opinions. Students are encouraged, offered support or enrichment based on continual assessment, and assured that their school is devoted to helping them succeed. BPY’s commitment to small group learning enhances our ability to focus on each child’s individual needs and learning styles. Our educational approach emphasizes hands-on and inquiry-based learning experiences to promote problem solving and to stimulate our students to think critically and focus on the ‘why’ behind answers in all of their subjects. At the same time, our strong BPY community empowers our students, giving them a secure environment that enables them to fully devote themselves to learning, and serves as a springboard to help them develop middot of which they can be proud.
The integration of Judaic and general studies is a guiding principle in our curriculum development and implementation. Concepts taught in Judaic studies are made more meaningful when applied to the general studies curriculum and vice versa, as a lesson on reading maps supplements a unit about Avraham’s journeys, and a study of weather leads into a discussion of Noach and the flood. By educating our children in this holistic manner, we strive to raise a generation of Jews who view the world through a single, integrated lens rather than through separate Jewish and secular eyes.
The home/school connection is a critical component of our program. By making parents our partners, we bridge the gap between school and home experiences and are able to educate the “whole child.” Among the many ways we accomplish this are through a daily bulletin, weekly school-wide and class-specific newsletters, our BPY app, biannual anecdotal reports, digital picture e-mails, Facebook updates, and frequent telephone communication. Parents are encouraged to become active participants in our classrooms, complementing teachers’ lesson plans by sharing their knowledge, talents, and traditions.
Ben Porat Yosef is committed to offering a strong, well-balanced curriculum to our students – not only providing excellent instruction in Judaic studies, Ivrit, and general studies, but also by giving our students a variety of co-curricular and additional programs to enrich their educational experience. We integrate an authentic Israeli program through the efforts of our “Bnot Sherut Leumi,” young Israeli women performing their National Service, who sing, dance, cook, develop special programs, and learn with our children.
Our program includes art, music, and physical education as well. All early childhood and elementary grade students participate in a formal music instruction period during the week. These sessions might be geared toward preparation for general music appreciation, an upcoming siddur or chumash celebration, or recorder lessons in the older grades. Visual art is also an essential part of our students’ growth and development, and students are given frequent opportunities to explore various media and techniques, both in their formal art classes as well as in their regular classrooms. Physical fitness education is approached with the goal of promoting a healthy lifestyle and fostering self-confidence, self-esteem, age-appropriate athletic skills, and good sportsmanship.
Close collaboration between our director of technology and classroom teachers augments our students’ daily learning experience, and allows technology to be woven into daily learning in a variety of meaningful and transformative ways. It is used to enhance the educational experiences, giving our students access to resources and approaches to learning that would not otherwise be available. In the middle school (grades 6, 7, and 8), a one-to-one tablet program provides every student (and teacher) his/her own iPad to use in all classes and subjects. In Kindergarten through 5th grade, we also have iPad carts and stations and a Chromebook cart to be used for directed and project- based learning. All BPY classrooms, beginning in kindergarten, are equipped with SMART Boards as well. As part of the school’s “jumping into the STREAM” (science, technology, robotics, engineering, art, and math) initiative, we have introduced robot toys, coding games, 3D printers, and 3D design software to integrate concepts of digital fluency, in fulfillment of the standards of the National Education Technology Program, and to provide the students with a background in programming and engineering skills that will set them up for success in high school, college, and beyond. Students also use digital and online educational resources and carefully curated apps to extend and transform their learning, conduct research, create multimedia projects, and practice skills.
Part of our science classroom, aptly named the “Discovery Room,” is a “Maker Space,” (a place in which problems are identified, defined, researched, prototyped, and solved, and projects are de-constructed and re-constructed). In this area, students are given access to a wide variety of materials and tools with which to build, thereby expanding their understanding of how things are created. This facilitates learning the fundamentals of 3D printing and design, of engineering and fabrication techniques, and how these fit into the natural world. Additional innovations in progress at BPY include the use of technology for enhanced communication with parents, improved organization and assessment for both students and teachers, and skill-building related to technology.
Underlying all of these elements is a deep commitment to using technology to enhance students’ learning and engagement by providing them with valuable educational experiences and exposure to a wide range of resources, skills, and activities.