The Wornick curriculum has been designed to promote intellectual growth, social-emotional well-being and creativity. Critical thinking, discovery learning, a questioning stance and a growth mindset are the foundations of intellectual growth in every grade.
Children learn by exploring, discovering and creating. We support social-emotional development by teaching conflict resolution, communication skills and applied Jewish values. Our program’s focus is on the care of self and others and a modeling of desired behaviors in all of our interactions. The curriculum values creativity as well--from developing a piece of fiction or creating visual art, to the more transformative creativity of finding a new solution for a persistent problem.
Literacy and Language Arts
Our literacy program is based on Common Core Standards. The focus is on reading carefully to determine what is explicit and what is inferred in texts, how an argument is developed, and how to analyze and contrast multiple texts with competing arguments. Even before our kindergarten students are fully able to read, they are taught how to find evidence to support claims in the stories that they hear. From kindergarten through eighth grade there is increased complexity of literacy learning. Similarly, the writing program promotes writing coherent pieces that demonstrate effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. Teachers curate materials from many sources to provide students with multiple opportunities to develop strong literacy skills.
The mathematics program, following Common Core Standards, places a premium on mathematical understanding. This is the ability to justify why a particular mathematical statement is true, or to understand the development of a mathematical proposition. We begin this journey with solidifying student’s understanding of numbers as symbolic representations of quantities. From the start, children are introduced to all operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – as they are invited to see how these operations are methods for bringing items together or taking them apart. Investigations Mathematics methods inform much of our mathematics teaching in early elementary grades. As students move into leveled middle school classes, they follow a typical sequence of pre-algebra and algebra. An accelerated program enables some students to complete geometry in eighth grade.
The TK-8 science program is structured according to Next Generation Science Standards, which focus on scientific process and a critical understanding of scientific inquiry. From transitional kindergarten through eighth grade, students learn with increasing complexity physical, biological, earth, and engineering science concepts.
Because of the focus on process, students spend significant time discovering and uncovering concepts through observation and experimentation. They learn to revise and refine their understanding from each discovery. Because science asks and answers questions about the physical world, students' curiosity is naturally piqued and they are frequently cued throughout the day to notice or to observe the various scientific phenomenon that they encounter.
The Wornick social studies curricula begins by introducing children to their place in a community then to a past and future timeline. As students move through the various developmental stages, their understanding of time and place and their connection to these two concepts grows. Throughout this program, children learn different perspectives about land, governance, commerce, religion and peoplehood. Ultimately, students build their personal identities by understanding their relationship to the past and the present and to place. Our graduates are prepared to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.
Hebrew occupies a central role in the curriculum, transmitting Jewish culture, strengthening American Jews’ connection to Israel, and connecting Jewish children with their religious heritage and textual tradition. Our school is leading the way in understanding Hebrew language instruction as serious second language learning, providing our students with the cognitive benefits of learning such a difficult language and the opportunity to learn an increasingly valuable language to the dynamic Silicon Valley.
Wornick offers both a native and non-native track. Following best practices as set forth by the American Council on the Teaching Foreign Languages, Wornick emphasizes communication skills for non-native speakers, supporting our students to become conversationally proficient by the time they graduate. For native speakers, our Hebrew curriculum follows Israel’s Ministry of Education standards.
The Judaic Studies program provides another opportunity to teach critical thinking skills, to emphasize the literacy standards of Common Core and to reinforce social studies skills while also connecting students to a vibrant tradition that values celebration, commemoration and opportunities to express wonder and awe. The program includes text study (Torah, prayer and commentaries), social studies (history, Israel – past and present, culture) and values.
There is a particular emphasis on the values of tikun olam (repairing the world), chesed (treating everyone with kindness) and tzedakah (giving to others). Our school also partners with HaReali – an independent school in Haifa, Israel. In eighth grade, the Reali students visit our school in the fall and our 8th graders travel to Israel to meet their friends in the spring.
Technology & Peleh Lab (Makerspace)
Technology and innovative design learning are woven into many aspects of the school day. Students and teachers use technology throughout the day and cover the following five basic areas of technology education and design thinking:
- User interface (how to use an iPad, a computer, internet, etc.)
- Communication with documents and databases (how to write a document, send a letter, an attachment, etc)
- Arts Production (how to create a video, design a personal logo, create a piece of visual art with circuitry, etc.)
- Programming and coding (computer language)
- Digital Citizenship (how to use technology responsibly and ethically)
- Integrated design thinking process (work collaboratively to evaluate a problem, think critically to create a designed solution, and present it to peers, all using technology that includes 3-D printer, cricut machine, robots, video, computers as well as more traditional tools such as a hammer, saw, etc.)
The middle school maintains a one-to-one laptop program. Younger children work on iPads, Chromebooks and MacBooks that are available throughout the day.
Using Wornick Health and Wellness curricula, we promote a love of physical activity and lifelong wellness. The Wornick physical education program is based on goals and objectives that are designed to meet the physical and emotional needs of each student by including a balance of athletics, health, science, teamwork, and skill concepts, all designed to assist each student in making better fitness and wellness choices. In TK-5, Hebrew is also incorporated into the PE curriculum.
Art is part of the TK-5 curricula with an emphasis both on art appreciation and technique. All elementary school students have a minimum of one period of art a week with an art specialist with projects linked to other curricular units beyond the weekly period. Arts electives are available in middle school and vary year to year, but can include: Art, Drama, Improv, and Yearbook.
Wornick students are exposed to a history, color theory, and elements of art, in conjunction with the time and studio space for personal exploration and discovery. This helps each child collect and build a personal creative tool box that includes reminders of tools they have learned and gathered, with the idea and hope that they can access these lessons moving forward. The goal is to open up the entire umbrella topic of Art as a playground and platform for greater communication and expression, and hopefully introduce language and tools that can help provide joy and even improved health throughout their lives.
Areas of focus include: confidence, mark making, upcycled materials, partnership, history, cultural significance, vocabulary, deep examination, and hidden perspectives.
Examples of materials used: acrylic, bubble wrap, chalk, dirt, elmers, foam, gesso, india ink, jute linoleum, markers, newspaper, pastels, rubber, styrofoam, tape, wood, x-actos, and potentially anything else we come across!
Wornick's music program was developed to ignite a passion for music and to introduce children to a basic knowledge and appreciation of the creative process. Wornick has implemented a graduated system designed to introduce and build on basic musical skills. TK/Kindergartners will be introduced to foundational concepts such as beat, rhythm, and pitch through listening to and making music from around the world and across generations. These youngest students are encouraged to discover that their voices and bodies are their primary instruments. In First, Second, and Third Grades, students will learn to differentiate between musical style and period and will be introduced to scales, rhythm patterns, timbre, tempo and dynamics. Here, students will use their voices and bodies and simple rhythm instruments to mimic and create music and will be introduced to basic notation. By Fourth and Fifth Grades, students will be encouraged to put their musical skills to practice by picking up an instrument and applying what they have learned about notes, rhythm, style, and expression. As part of the Sixth Grade elective wheel, these older students will learn about blending their own voices and styles into a cohesive, collaborative sound in ensembles and small groups.
Singing, music appreciation, and performance art are also woven into the Judaic Studies and Hebrew curriculum. These many opportunities build confidence, strengthen students’ musical understanding and provide an outlet for creativity and expression.