Etgar Yesodi

Etgar Yesodi is a 3rd–5th grade curriculum designed to help teachers actively engage students in their Jewish education. Incorporating experiential education, the arts, technology, and family education, the curriculum may be used in a wide variety of settings. Etgar Teacher Educators support education directors and teachers through web conferences.

Etgar Yesodi is a comprehensive 3rd–5th grade curriculum developed by The Jewish Theological Seminary.  It is designed to connect powerfully with students because it:

  • Builds on students' prior knowledge and current experiences
  • Empowers students to articulate positive Jewish identities
  • Builds breadth and depth in students' understanding and observance of Judaism
  • Incorporates findings in educational research, such as the power of cooperative learning; the value of addressing multiple intelligences; and the importance of differentiated instruction whenever possible.

Professional development is an integral part of the curriculum. Through the use of webinars, teachers and education directors are introduced to and guided through the curriculum. Throughout the year they are supported by an Etgar Teacher Educator (ETE) who helps to effectively implement the curriculum in school.

Parents and family involvement signal to children the worthiness of the enterprise of Jewish study and enculturation. This curriculum provides opportunities for parents to participate in a variety of ways: by adding their wisdom and perspective to the learner's Etgar experience, and through participation that invites dialogue on significant issues. The curriculum also integrates Jewish life beyond the classroom through community service and practical applications for Jewish living.

Below you will find an outline of the curriculum. We encourage you and your teacher to try our Rosh Hodesh / Jewish Calendar unit in your third-grade classroom if you are considering using the Etgar Yesodi curriculum in your school. For more information, contact Lonna Picker, Etgar Teacher Educator, at lonnasp@gmail.com.

Etgar Yesodi
Third- to Fifth-Grade Curriculum
(Each lesson is an hour)

 Third Grade

Holidays and Values
Unit 1: Yamim Nora'im
Unit 2: Sukkot and Hakhnassat Orhim
Unit 3: Rosh Hodesh and the Jewish Calendar*
Unit 4: Hanukkah and Pirsumei D'Nisa
Unit 5: Shabbat and Hakarat Hatov
Unit 6: Pesah and Zeman Heruteinu

Mini-Units
Simhat Torah
Tu Bishvat B'aretz: Yeshuv Ha'aretz
Purim and Ometz Lev
Shavu'ot

* We invite you to read this unit and try it in your classroom:
sampleetgar.wikischolars.columbia.edu

 Fourth Grade My Story
Unit 1: Zikaron: My Roots, My Memories
Unit 2: Brit: My Beginning, My Name
Unit 3: Berakhot: My Blessings
Unit 4: Tokhehah: Improving My Friendships
Unit 5: Ma'akhil Re'evim:  Sharing My Talents with Others
Unit 6: Devekut: Developing My Relationship with God

Fifth Grade

Our Story
Unit 1: Kehilla Kedosha: Developing Our Classroom Community
Unit 2: Mikdash Me'at: Creating Our Sacred Spaces
Unit 3: Arakhim: Living Our Values Together
Unit 4: Piyyutim: Connecting Our Communities Through Music and Song
Unit 5: Yisrael: A Modern Look at Our Ancient Home
Unit 6: Ahrayut: Our Responsibility Towards Others
Unit 7: Mi Dor L'Dor: Our Dinner Party Across Time