Our General Studies curriculum promotes academic excellence, individual responsibility and creativity and is based on the Alabama State guidelines for Elementary education. Our program emphasizes experiential learning, providing students multiple ways of learning and applying information. Both individual and collaborative learning are employed to encourage students to acquire strategies for learning as well as informational content.
The Language Arts curriculum is literacy based. Early grades incorporate phonics and phonemic awareness. Students are taught grammar, writing, spelling, vocabulary, listening and comprehension skills, and reading fluency. At every grade level, student writing portfolios are maintained allowing teachers and families to track progress in writing skills.
Our Math program emphasizes concepts, math facts and problem solving. Upper School mathematics is leveled with eligible students advancing to Algebra I coursework. Math is integrated into other areas such as art, science, and social studies/history. Life skills are incorporated through individual classes and tzedakah projects. For older grades, applied math projects are a major component of the program.
Social studies provides opportunities to learn about diversity within our own community and that of our larger world. Students study the social, governmental, and historical aspects of our country and the global community. In accordance with Best Practices, Social Studies materials are supplemented with additional resources, such as field trips, speakers, newspapers, magazines, student projects, technology and knowledge of the world around us. Because of our affiliation with the Birmingham Jewish Federation and local synagogues, we also welcome international visitors to our school regularly to speak with students and share about cultural and geographic diversity.
In science each grade covers four modules per year in the general areas of "Life and Earth Sciences" and "Physical Science and Technology". The curriculum uses inquiry-based activities teaching age appropriate concepts in the context of "real science, while promoting collaborative learning". Opportunities for science integration at NEMJDS include journal & portfolio writing, math activities and graphing, Arts and Sciences Presentation Day, and Web quests. These are relevant to both the curriculum and current events and frequently include a Judaics component. In Science, the developmental needs of our students are met by the "Focus, Explore, Reflect and Apply" learning cycle. This cycle allows the spiraling that develops concepts and skills across grade levels.