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.

Helpful Transition Tips for Early Years Students

Some kids are doing coloring activities

We were so excited to see so many smiling faces greeting us on the first day of school. This can be such an exciting time for many of us, either joining the school community for the first time or transitioning to a new age level and a group of friends and teachers. This can also be a challenging transition for some, as many of our early learners have built a trust and comfort level with their teachers from last year. Additionally, several of our students have been away from the school setting for the summer and are reacclimating to our environment.

That being said, what can we all do to help make this transition as smooth as

– Little things from home can sometimes make our children feel more comfortable: a blanket, a stuffed animal, or for infants and toddlers, a scarf or shirt with mommy’s smell. Photographs also help. Many of our teachers have a family board with pictures to help bridge school and home.
– Establish Rituals and Routines. Young children thrive on routine and consistency, and developing these is key in making sure they feel safe in new environments. Developing a quick, simple way to say “good-bye” and reassuring your children that you will return will help separation go more smoothly.
– Be Positive. Our children are incredibly intuitive. They sense and feed off of our anxiety and hesitation. Present school as a safe place where your child will learn new things and make friends. Continue to bridge the home/school connection by talking with your child about their teachers and use our newsletters to show you are excited about what they are doing in school.
– Lastly, feel free to reach out to your child’s teachers or administrator about the day. We want both you and your children to have a great day after drop off, and if you need a little reassurance as to how the day is going, just give us a call or send a quick message.

Adapting to their new environment and overcoming separation anxiety takes time for some of us, both young and old. Worked through correctly, these can be great learning opportunities for our children and us.

At Strelitz International Academy, our Early Years program cultivates students for the day when they will be responsible, compassionate citizens and leaders. As the first official Primary Years IB Programme in Hampton Roads, SIA’s Early Years curriculum emphasizes the development of the whole child, including social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth. The IB® World School aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

Each classroom incorporates SIA’s values of respect, community, repairing the world, love of learning into the daily routine and provides opportunities to talk about and practice these values. The student’s experience is designed with opportunities to develop independence and self-confidence. As children grow as learners in the Early Years Program, we work to instill a sense of joy and confidence in all they do. Teachers and students work together to develop learning activities that further develop readiness skills in a variety of content areas including language arts, math, science, and social studies.

To learn more about Strelitz International Academy and our Early Years Program, please call 757.424.4327.

Here’s to a great new year and more smile-filled days!

Celebrating Jewish Holidays at Private School

Celebrating Jewish Holidays at SIA

One of the greatest things about being a Jewish Day School, a member of the Virginia Association of Independent Schools, as well as an International Baccalaureate (IB®) Primary Years Programme (PYP) candidate school servicing Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk is that we get to have a lot of fun while we learn. This includes learning about the history of the Jewish religion and culture including the customs and traditions we follow.

We saw an example of that recently when we celebrated Purim at school. Our Early Years Program students learned about and fulfilled the four mitzvot of Purim including:
–    Hearing the Megillah: Our EY students not only had an opportunity to hear the Megillah, they then set out to help make a copy of it. Each class from the toddlers to EY4 created a panel that depicted the story of Queen Esther, the heroine of the tale, when the panels were brought together. The toddlers through EY3 students got to hear the Megillah read in person by Morah Elyssa, while the EY4 classes were able to stream the reading in real time through the miracle of technology.
–    Mishloach Manot: The second mitzvah of Purim requires us to give gifts of at least two different kinds of food to others. Each class fulfilled this mitzvah by creating gift baskets filled with Purim treats that were then given to our office staff and our school security guards, Ramon and Mark.
–    Give Tzedakah: While most of our Purim celebration was about having fun while learning, the third mitzvah is teaching the importance of giving tzedakah. This is a Hebrew word meaning “righteousness,” but is commonly used to signify giving charity. This is viewed as a moral and ethical practice, which is not only good for the recipient(s), it’s an important part of building good moral character and developing good citizens of the world.
–   Have a Festive Time: You don’t need to ask Early Years students twice to have a good time, so this was the easiest mitzvah to fulfill. Our students participated in costume parades, played games, rocked out at a dance party, and enjoyed lots of delicious treats including popsicles, cotton candy, and hamantaschen, the famous cookie that is named for Haman’s ears. These cookies commemorate Esther’s victory over Haman and his plot to destroy the Jewish people.

Many special thanks for the teachers who helped make this celebration memorable and joyful for all of our students. We all had an amazing time celebrating Purim and the coming of Shabbat.

Looking for a Jewish Day school serving Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk? Come visit Strelitz International Academy and let us tell you more about our International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). The mission of the IB program is to build a better world through education. Our mission is to enrich the life of the whole child, to develop compassionate, lifelong learners, and to promote a social and global consciousness that encompasses a profound respect for all humanity. Please join us!

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