Lower School MATH

The Singapore Math method approaches mathematical concepts in a deep and sustainable way, by emphasizing critical thinking skills, metacognition, and problem-solving to develop mathematical reasoning. Singapore Math uses visuals extensively, and model-drawing in particular to help students visually represent information in a problem so they can understand the meaning and how to solve it. Building number sense and using mental math strategies is a strong focus of Singapore Math. Strategies such as part-whole thinking and breaking numbers into decomposed parts or friendlier numbers that are easier to work with, allowing students to manipulate numbers in their heads without using paper and pencil.

Lower School Science

Lower School Science is taught using an inquiry-based curriculum that aims to inspire students to love science. We teach and encourage such scientific practices as asking questions and defining problems, developing and using models, carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, and supporting arguments with evidence. Students also learn to recognize the importance of patterns, identify and understand cause and effect, and utilize appropriate tools to make accurate measurements and observations. They also engage in the engineering design process throughout the year, as they are challenged to design and create a product related to the curricular content.

Lower School STEM

  • Fairy Tale Engineering in Grades 1 & 2

    After reading a short fairy tale or story, students are challenged to solve a problem presented in the literature using simple engineering skills. In addition to practicing the engineering design process, they learn simple measurement and calculation skills.

  • Makerspace Units in Grades 1-3

    Students build and create using simple materials as they explore topics such as simple machines, forces, energy, and cause/effect.

  • Science Curriculum in Grades 1-3

    Students explore topics in Earth/Space and Life and Physical Science through an inquiry-based curriculum. They learn to think and act like scientists as they explore phenomena, collect data, and make claims based on evidence, and they learn to think like engineers as they design solutions to solve problems.

  • Coding and Robotics in Grades 1-5

    Students program puzzles, stories, and animations using block-based coding software, encouraging planning, collaboration, logical thinking, and problem solving. Additionally, students have the opportunity to bring their programming skills into the physical world using robots and external devices such as Microbits and Makey-Makeys.

  • STEM Integrated Science Curriculum in Grades 4 & 5

    Using the curricular content from the inquiry-based science curriculum as a springboard, students work in small groups with both our Science and STEM teachers to engage in various activities including coding, robotics, 3D design, circuitry, engineering, and spreadsheets.

Lower School Hebrew Immersion and Israel

Our goal is to develop each student’s mastery of Ivrit to enable them to access text, be able to converse in everyday Hebrew, and bring to life the language of our people and our land.

SAR uses the iTaLAM digital blended learning curriculum, an engaging and adaptive program featuring online games, interactive stories, and songs. To accomplish our immersion

goals, our teachers use visual prompts to help students secure new vocabulary and concepts. Sentence starters are posted in every class to make language accessible during class conversations. Numerous strategies are used to increase opportunities for our students to express themselves in Hebrew. As students “turn and talk” to one another to answer questions, they respond in chorus and are encouraged to lengthen their utterances when they speak.

During daily Morning and Afternoon Meetings, students play group games in Hebrew, and they use Ivrit to greet one another and to share experiences and happenings. Hebrew reading groups provide opportunities for students to read and express themselves in Hebrew in a smaller group setting. We further our immersion goals by organizing Ivritonly lunchtimes with SAR’s Israeli faculty.

GRADES 1-3 Specialties

  • Art

    Students participate in our Master of Arts program in which they rotate through three art studios, each focused on a different discipline: painting and digital art, photography and sculpture, and art-math, which explores art through a math lens that dovetails with targeted goals of our Singapore Math curriculum for Grades 1 and 2.

  • Music

    Students in Grades 1-2 participate in comprehensive music class as well as a weekly Shabbat Sing. Based on prior years’ success in participation in Carnegie Hall’s Link-Up Program, students in Grade 3 choose voice or recorder in our Music Majors Program, which culminates in a performance at Carnegie Hall.

  • LITT (Library Integrated Torah and Technology)

    In LITT, students learn in small groups at Library Workshops during the Library slot in their schedule. Students in Grade 1 rotate between a workshop on general library skills, Fairytale Engineering (in which students use a piece of literature–a fable, fairytale, or even a poem–to consider the engineering dilemma within the tale, and using hands-on materials and scientific problem-solving skills, to generate alternate solutions), and a Hudson River Exploration that includes reading about river life and en plein painting as did the Hudson 7 and Hudson River School of Painters. Students in Grade 2 participate in a program that includes “Text To Symbol,” building stories through symbolic language. Grade 3 students rotate between general library skills workshops and curriculum-based tech research.


    At Gan Ilan, our rooftop garden, children are nurtured as they nurture beautiful things to grow. Children have the opportunity each week to engage in meaningful garden work, learn how

    food and plants grow, and plant a variety of foods and flowers.

    Lessons are anchored on scientific hypotheses, on specific psukim or Midrash, on related children’s literature, or around art concepts and different artists including Georgia O’Keeffe, Monet, Chris Onesto, Andy Warhol, and more. Gan Ilan donates 90% of its produce to various food pantries in the Bronx and Bergen County.

GRADES 4-5 Specialties

  • Art

    In Grades 4 and 5, students participate in Art Workshops through Voice and Choice including: Music To Canvas, Painting Workshop, Animation Studio, Photography Studio, Sculpture Studio, Drawing Workshop, Ceramics Studio, Digital iPad Art Workshop, and more.

  • Music

    Students in Grades 4-5 have an array of musical options to pursue through our unique Voice and Choice Workshops including Guitar Workshop, Keyboard Konnect, Soundtrack Engineering, Hand Drumming, and more. Our after-school choir provides students with numerous performance outlets. Grade 4 students also participate in LITT and Gan Ilan, described above.