Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School delivers an outstanding integrated education from SK to Grade 8. The multi-faceted school day is designed to meet or exceed all of the expectations of the Ontario Ministry of Education, and to develop a facility with Hebrew and a deep understanding of Judaism. Our program is enhanced by an informal curriculum that takes place both outside the regular school day and during recess, with activities such as sports, chess, eco club, student union, film-making, and choir.
In practical terms, how do we do this? The school day runs from 8:45 AM to 3:45 PM for SK to Grade 5 and 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM for Grade 6-8, with shorter breaks for recess and lunch. Extra student care available both before and after school for elementary aged students. The day is split into roughly 2/3 General Studies, taught by the Core (homeroom) teacher, and 1/3 Hebrew and Torah Studies, taught by the Hebrew teacher. Interspersed throughout the week, French, music, gym, and technology are taught by specialist teachers.
General Studies are designed to examine large concepts through the development of skills and knowledge associated with specific disciplines and through the application of critical thinking skills. Language Arts, history, science, the arts and Judaism, in its broadest sense, are integrated to help the students gain complex knowledge and insights. This multidisciplinary approach encourages students to make connections between themselves and the world around them, in its past, present, and future forms. In Middle School, a greater emphasis is placed on expertise knowledge of teachers; integration is woven in at natural junctures, and depth of subject specific expertise is highlighted.
Hebrew is taught primarily as a contemporary language as it is currently spoken in Israel. Students also learn how it carries the content and significance of Jewish tradition, as it has evolved over the millennia and as it has been preserved in Jewish texts. Our Hebrew Bible (Torah) Studies probe deeply into the timeless narratives that have shaped our collective identities. Jewish history, prayer, culture, literacy, and tradition are taught from an egalitarian, pluralistic perspective that respects diversity in all its forms. A love of Israel is inspired through the study of its rich and complex modern and biblical history, culture, political and ethnic diversity, as well as its relevance to Canadian and world Jewish identity.