Early Years 3 Goes on a Bear Hunt

bear hunt in school

Early Years 3 students at Strelitz International Academy gathered their binoculars and maps and went on their very own bear hunt! In Morah Lavette Ricks’ class, students were inspired by the story “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen and expressed how they would like to go on a bear hunt at their school. On November 7, 2023, Ricks brought the story to life and created the experience for her students right in the Early Years hallway.

mud themed sensory table in school

Early Years 3 students and teacher Lavette Ricks explore a “mud” themed sensory table to find and count bears.

To start this engaging lesson, Ricks introduced the story to her students, as well as the adapted song version sung by The Kiboomers. Because the text is predictable and the rhythm is catchy, the students developed creative-thinking skills to dramatize the story over a few days. As a class, Ricks focused on the prepositions in the story, such as over, under, and through. Next, the students used critical thinking skills to list what they might need in each scenario. As a class, they analyzed the list and started preparing.  Each child designed their own binoculars and special map to navigate to the cave. The maps included the elements mentioned in the story, such as tall, wavy grass, a big river, mud, and their end location: a cave.

Outside of the classroom, Ricks set up each site. The first scene was tall, wavy grass. The students enjoyed a sensory experience of pushing through green streamers. Next, there was a big river, and with the help of blue streamers, students had to “swim” their way through. There were even some stuffed animal friends who joined them on their courageous journey! The third obstacle was mud. To create this scene, Ricks used a sensory table and brown paper, which hid colorful Baby Bear Counters. As students sorted through the “mud,” they counted and collected the bears they found, which tied in with their math skills. And finally, what is a bear hunt without a bear? Students made their way to a “dark cave,” and inside were two stuffed bears! Just like the story, the kids spotted the bears and ran all the way back to their classroom.

At Strelitz International Academy, our mentality is teaching students to go beyond the book. It starts in our Early Years program and will follow them throughout their educational journey. We hope our EY3 students inspire you to grab your map and binoculars and create a bear hunt of your own!  Schedule a visit!

Summertime at the Strelitz International Academy

Early Years 2 student, Keren Shechter, uses shiny paper to create a paper plate rainbow fish.

Rainbows, rocket ships and red, white and blue spirit are just some of the themes that filled our classrooms this summer! Our summer session at the Strelitz International Academy has been busy both inside and outside of the classroom. Early Years students have experienced swimming at the JCC’s swimming pool daily and water play to cool off on the hot, sunny days! To keep up the excitement and engagement throughout the summer, a new theme is introduced weekly. Our creative educators plan daily lessons and activities that follow the week’s themes and are sure to put a smile on our students’ faces!

We commenced our summer program with Animal Kingdom week. Students in Morah Jamie Jones and Morah Erika Ferrell’s toddler class enjoyed fun crafts and sensory activities. Students engaged their fine motor skills while using stampers and paintbrushes to create lions. The toddlers also used tweezers to “rescue” animals from hay. Despite it being a rainy first week, the students used their imagination and had a wonderful time!

Early Years 2 student, Keren Shechter, uses shiny paper to create a paper plate rainbow fish.

Toddler 4 student, Everett Booth, holding a lion he “rescued” from the hay.

Toddler 4 student, Everett Booth, holding a lion he “rescued” from the hay.

Next up was Under the Sea week! Morah Rachel Helms and Morah Lorena Smithson’s Early Years 2 class read The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. After reading the story, the students constructed paper plate rainbow fish and used sparkly paper to cut up and apply as the shimmering scales. Helms and Smithson created a beach-themed sensory bin with sand, ocean animal figures and tools to build sandcastles.  The weather was perfect, and students and staff had a great time!

To kick off the month of July, our theme was Red, White and Blue! Although it was a shorter week due to the holiday, it was still full of exciting activities. Toddlers in Morah Katie Norman and Morah Teresa Briscoe’s class explored their artistic expression. The toddlers used dish washing brushes as their painting instruments. Using different brushes for each color, they created bright and colorful fireworks on colored construction paper. This was a new and unique experience for our students, and they will be tying it into another themed week this summer!

Although the summer at SIA is quickly approaching an end, we are looking forward to the last few weeks and the creative experiences the themes will bring. Whether it be blasting off in a rocket ship or a color run for Color Madness week, we are confident that our educators will bring enthusiasm and participation to our classrooms. We hope everyone enjoys the rest of the summer!

The Pasta-Bilities are Endless in Kindergarten!

The Pasta Bilities are Endless in Kindergarten!

By Ally St. Pierre, Admissions and Marketing Manager

Setting goals and acquiring new skills is the heart of Kindergarten at Strelitz International Academy, the best kindergarten school in Virginia Beach. This year each student in Mrs. Baker’s Kindergarten class set a goal they sought to accomplish with the help of their class community. These goals included baking a Barbie cake, making and launching rockets, and even doing bike tricks on a ramp. Each student reflected on the process of completing their goals, including how and what they needed to get from start to finish. On Friday, May 5th, 2023, students in Mrs. Baker’s kindergarten class helped their classmate Meirav accomplish her goal of making homemade tortellini.

Step One: Roll the Dough

Step One Roll the Dough for Pasta Bilities

The students started by rolling dough. They observed that the ball of dough looked like a lemon at first. Each student took turns rolling the dough. They then stated what they thought the rolled dough resembled. “It looks like a stretchy lemon!” one student exclaimed. Another added, “It looks like a small pizza!” The pizza observation left students wondering, “What if you put tortellini on pizza?” The students were reflecting and thinking about what that might taste like. 

Step Two: Cut the Dough

Cut the Dough for Pasta BilitiesStep Two Cut the Dough for Pasta Bilities

The next step was to cut the dough. The students used cups to make circle-shaped tortellini and knives to make square ones. This required students to activate their prior knowledge of shapes. “It looks like a moon!” a student suggested while pushing the round cup into the dough. Once finished, Mrs. Baker gave each student a fork with ricotta cheese. One student disliked cheese and hesitated to try it on his pasta. Mrs. Baker challenged him to be a risk taker, an important value in the IB® approach. The student demonstrated risk-taking by using cheese in his tortellini. 

Step Three: Check the Cheese

Check the Cheese in Pasta BilitiesStep Three Check the Cheese in Pasta-Bilities

The students even related the activity to their Judaic studies. Mrs. Baker explained that when she went to the grocery store to buy the ingredients, she verified everything was kosher. Mrs. Baker explained that the ricotta cheese she purchased had the letter U in a circle, meaning it was kosher. Additionally, Mrs. Baker told her students that she could not buy the parmesan cheese, as she learned there was a meat product mixed with the cheese, and eating meat and dairy together is not kosher. 

Step Four: Eat!

Eat Pasta BilitiesStep Four Eat Pasta Bilities

After working hard, it was finally time to eat the homemade tortellini. The students were so proud of what they had made. The best part was that all the students collaborated to help Meirav accomplish her goal! It was tortelly awesome!

The Strelitz International Academy is the community’s Jewish Day School and International Baccalaureate® World School for infants through grade 5. For more information on the best kindergarten school, contact Ally St. Pierre, Admissions and Marketing Manager, at 757-424-4327, ext. 4188, or astpierre@strelitzacademy.org.

SIA’s Evening of the Arts: How We Express Ourselves

Students performing SIA’s Evening of the Arts program

On Thursday, March 24, a packed house of Strelitz International Academy parents watched their children perform on stage, many for the first time! After two years of Covid mitigations, including no family programs or performances, SIA’s Evening of the Arts: How We Express Ourselves was everything our families have been anticipating. The proud parents were smiling from ear to ear, some even cried tears of joy.

“Originally scheduled for February 17, we decided to postpone the show to March in the hopes that Covid cases would go down, and we could plan for an in person student showcase. Parents have been longing for in person events, and we wanted to give our students the spotlight to show off all that they have been learning,” explains Janet Jenkins, Director of the Primary Years Program.

The evening kicked off with a Strings Performance showcasing SIA’s xylo-strings ensemble which included SIA violinists, cellists and percussionists. Students at SIA begin violin lessons in kindergarten and have the opportunity to add percussion instruments in second grade. The students were so excited to show off their new skills!

This was also the first Evening of the Arts since the school’s rebranding as the Strelitz International Academy. The show was a wonderful celebration of all the unique aspects of the school.

The program opened with the EY4 Classes singing, “One Small Voice” sharing the power that we have in changing the world. Other songs included Kindergarten’s Thankful Song, Second Grade’s Lean on Me, Third Grade’s ABC and First Grade’s It’s a Small World After All celebrating SIA’s international representation and emphasis on Global Learning.

Fourth Grade performed the prayers Adon Olam and Oseh Shalom in Hebrew while Fifth Grade students illuminated themselves – creatively dressed in black and lined with Glow Sticks and danced to Mi’Shenichnas Adar, a traditional Purim Song.

All 120 students got up on stage to perform the Finale – Oseh Shalom and Salaam which was followed by a reception in the Cardo.

Heather Moore, Head of School is so proud of SIA’s students and faculty members, “Everyone worked together to produce such a wonderful spring show in a relatively short amount of time. The students brought to life SIA’s Evening of the Arts in a way that perfectly combined their learning of the Fine Arts, Global Mindedness and Jewish culture.”

The Fine Arts are an important part of the curriculum at the Strelitz International Academy. Students begin learning violin in kindergarten. In second grade, students have the option of switching to percussion or cello.

In addition, all students take a weekly art and music class. In art class, students learn about artists, popular art techniques and art appreciation. Music lessons focus on rhythm, beat, and reading music. Many SIA students continue their music studies in middle school after graduating from SIA.

The Strelitz International Academy is the community’s Jewish Day School and authorized International Baccalaureate® program for Infants through Grade 5. SIA is currently enrolling for the 2022-2023 school year.

To find out more and schedule a campus tour, please call 757-424-4327.

The Importance of Community at SIA

Different community childrens listening to teacher

A strong sense of community is an essential value in the Jewish culture. At Strelitz International Academy (SIA), we foster this sense of community in all of our students. Through the core values we teach and the examples we set, students learn the importance of community. With the help of Strelitz International Academy, your child can understand their connection to the local and global community.

Teaching Jewish Values-SIA’s Core Values

At Strelitz International Academy, we believe that your child should have a strong foundation of faith, education, and community. Because of this, we chose to incorporate the Jewish values of Kavod, Tikkun Olam, Torah v’Lishma, and Kehillah into our core values. These core values are Respect, Community, Repairing the World, and Love of Learning. Through the lessons we teach and the example we set, our students learn the importance of these core values.

Fostering Philanthropy and Charity

At Strelitz International Academy, students learn to repair the world through charity and philanthropy. Within the Jewish culture, tzedakah (charity) is translated as the moral obligation to give to others. Students in the primary years program learn the importance of giving and how it can help the community and their own spiritual growth. They participate in activities relating to the act of giving charitably and learn how this can repair the world. Similarly, students at SIA discover how to act philanthropically by understanding how much, where, and why they should give. Through these projects and lessons, SIA fosters a core value of repairing the world through charity.

Creating a Community of Respect-Locally and Globally

In addition to repairing the world, students learn the importance of respect and community. This sense of community is set through the examples of their peers and mentors. With organized community events such as the SIA Family Pasta Dinner, Fall Festival, Hanukkah celebration, families are able to connect and build relationships beyond the classroom. Similarly, Strelitz International Academy works with a number of outreach programs to foster a sense of community in the local area. Students participate in projects such as restocking the Jewish Family Service food pantry and providing Hanukkah gifts to children in need. These projects foster a sense of responsibility to the local community and reinforce the value of Tikkun Olam.

In addition, students are encouraged to explore the global community and learn respect for others. Students discover how to read and write in conversational Hebrew and biblical Hebrew. This connects them to their Israeli culture and heritage. With a rich knowledge of Jewish history, these students can feel a connection to their faith and the global community.

How SIA Teaches the Importance of Community

At Strelitz International Academy, our students learn the importance of community through the International Baccalaureate® program. Students are introduced to the global community within the primary years program and understand their place within it. Through inquiry-based learning, students are encouraged to explore areas of interest and develop respect for democratic ideals. Students develop the knowledge, critical thinking skills, and tools to form their own opinions and take the initiative within each subject. With this program, students learn that their personal actions can have long-lasting effects that make a difference.

Join the SIA Community

Strelitz International Academy is the best private elementary school in the Tidewater area. We take the time to imbue each of our classes with the core values we are dedicated to. With the inquiry-based learning approach provided by the International Baccalaureate® program, our graduates learn respect, community, repairing the world, and love of learning.

Are you interested in learning more? Check out our website to see how you can join our community. We are enrolling for the 2022-2023 school year and would love to welcome your family with open arms.

To find out more and schedule a campus tour, please call 757-424-4327.

33rd Annual Strelitz International Academy Golf Tournament

33rd Annual SIA Golf Tournament Registration

On the perfectly sunny September 14, 2021 morning, the Strelitz International Academy 33rd Annual Golf Tournament, affectionately known as the Bob Josephberg Classic, took place on the beautifully conditioned Bayville Golf Club course.

The Bob Josephberg Classic is SIA’s biggest fundraiser. The event collected over $152,000 this year, thanks to the generosity of 99 sponsors, to support the future of Jewish education and community leadership in Tidewater by ensuring financial stability and greater access to SIA for all families.

The players teed off in a Florida best ball-type tournament after an introductory speech by David Cardon, SIA Board President. Out on the fairways, you could spot a brand new Maserati and Mercedes from Charles Barker Automotive for the hole in one competition sponsored by Charles Barker and Towne Insurance.

4 Gentlemen posing ater playing Golf in SIA's Golf Tournament

While many events have pivoted virtually since the beginning of the Pandemic in March 2020, golf has remained a safe and effective way for men and women to get together. The Bob Josephberg Classic was no exception. The tournament saw an outstanding 120 golfers and 25 volunteers turn out to support SIA.

Jason Hoffman who participated in the tournament as both a player and a sponsor stated, “All of the staff and volunteers did a great job. It was a beautiful day, well run, safe, and so much fun.”

The day was reminiscent of pre-COVID-19 tournaments with the return of the much anticipated after-play reception (which was canceled the previous year due to safety concerns), catered by The Cardo Cafe. The complete set of team scores and winners were announced during the dinner, where players were able to mingle and relax after a great day on the links.

“It was truly spectacular to witness the power of participation at this year’s tournament from the players, sponsors, volunteers, and staff. Everyone was there to enjoy the day, but also to support SIA. Our entire SIA community thanks everyone who participated in making our largest fundraising event such a resounding success.” said David Cardon, SIA Board President.

The tournament was also SIA’s first in-person event since the school became the first International Baccalaureate World School for the Primary Years in Hampton Roads.

“After two years of candidacy, the Strelitz International Academy(SIA) has just received full authorization as an International Baccalaureate® World School Primary Years Program. We are proud to be the first IB® Primary Years Program World School in Tidewater! This is the culmination of years of planning, development, and implementation.” Said Heather Moore, Head of School “I am exceptionally proud of SIA. I want to thank all of our donors for their support during this journey to authorization! We would not be able to provide such an exceptional education for our students without our wonderful donors!”

Congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to all sponsors, players, and volunteers, for all of the day’s support. We also want to especially thank Ilana and Nathan Benson for their exceptional work as event co-chairs. Although they will be stepping down from their position, their participation has made a lasting impression.

It may be a wrap on the 33rd annual tournament, but mark your calendars for next year’s tournament on Monday, September 19, 2022 at the Cavalier Golf & Yacht club, as we continue to celebrate and raise awareness for SIA.

For more information contact Carly Glikman, SIA director of development, at 757-424-4327, or email cglikman@strelitzacademy.org.

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