Curriculum by Subject Area
Weizmann is dedicated to educating the whole child. Nationally-recognized academic programs are differentiated for each student, and integrated and enriched with classes in the arts (visual, performing, and music), language (Hebrew), computers/technology, physical education, and Judaic studies.
Science is taught at all grade levels and is either based on the FOSS (Full Option Science System) Program, developed by Laurence Hall at UC-Berkeley, or STEMscopes, designed around the Next Generation Science Standards. Beginning in kindergarten, the in-depth curriculum includes practical experiments and observation challenges and includes an individualized science project for our annual school-wide science fair.
Specialists from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology regularly speak at our school on contemporary science topics. Upper grade students also participate in an several outdoor field-based science camps during the year.
Weizmann Day School is fortunate to have in-depth art instruction from a nationally known artist and sculptor. Students in all grades work in a variety of media including printmaking, mosaic, collage, watercolor, figure drawing, ceramics, calligraphy, and weaving. Our students learn about classical and contemporary art and the "featured artist of the year" through hands-on activities, workshops, and exhibitions. Our students' artwork has garnered a number of awards and is regularly on display at local art centers, bookstores, restaurants, regional art shows, and at the annual Weizmann Day School Art Show.
WDS uses Saxon Math in the elementary school, a program designed to incorporate learning a new concept with each daily lesson, while constantly reviewing previously learned concepts. One unique aspect of Saxon Math is the integration of geometry with algebra, meaning students do not have to stop learning one in order to learn the other. Saxon’s lessons, problem sets, and tests contain a variety of problems, which is a method proven to prepare students for taking college entrance exams, as well as higher level math classes.
Middle school math uses a program called Math Space, which allows students students to progress independently through the math curriculum and their individual levels.
We teach reading and writing skills through phonics instruction, thinking maps for critical reading and writing, journal and story writing, poetry study, reading and writing fiction and non-fiction, literature circles and reading groups, and drama and school plays.
Students learn the history of different peoples through texts, novels, plays, and extensive field trips to historical sites, museums, and special exhibitions. The study of history is often integrated with language arts and visual art. Students also participate in cultural exchange activities with students from other schools. Middle school students participate in a biennial trip to Washington, D.C. with students from New Horizon School in Pasadena.
Our technology program is aligned with the ISTE's National Educational Technology Standards and utilizes our state-of-the-art technology lab. We train our students in current computer skills at each grade level through both dedicated computer classes and day-to-day classroom activities that make frequent use of on-line learning skills and resources. Online access is avaliable in every classroom. Students are offered classes in robotics, STEAM in our new "collaboratory," and other courses as electives and integrated into their other coursework throughout the year.
Hebrew and Judaic Studies
Starting in kindergarten and continuing at every grade level, students learn modern Hebrew through ulpan-style language immersion techniques that utilize songs, conversation, writing, and games, and individualized instruction for those new to Hebrew. Students progress from spoken vocabulary to basic reading and writing skills in the lower grades and eventually write their own full-length essays and stories in a Hebrew-only environment.
Our Judaic Studies program focuses on the cultural, historical, religious and ritual aspects of Judaism in both traditional and modern Jewish contexts to help students gain a deeper appreciation of their identity and beliefs. Character is no less important than academics at Weizmann Day School. Ethical behavior, personal responsibility, moral responsibility, and respect for others are not only important topics of discussion in the Judaic Studies program but are also emphasized and prized in practice throughout the school year.
Music and Performing Arts
Starting in kindergarten, students participate in ongoing music workshops, classes in music appreciation, concerts, and plays. Using voice, percussion, pianos, recorders and bells, all Weizmann students explore the basics of rhythm, pitch, harmony, musical notation and ensemble performance. The annual Daniel Pearl Music Day Concert, Thanksgiving Concert, Spring Concert, and the upper grade Shakespeare Play are highlights of the program. These and other public performances help each student develop confidence, poise and concentration.
Our physical education program seeks to enhance our students' physical, mental, social and emotional growth by teaching the values of teamwork, physical fitness, and life-long health. Individual and group sports activities develop and improve each child's strength, endurance, coordination, and team spirit, and encourages each student to understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle.