Dear Parents and Friends,
Throughout the history of people, the education of our children has always been the cornersone of our faith and way of life, not matter where we found ourselves or how difficult the circumstances. Though the objective remains the same, and the Torah that guides us is eternal, the world we live in is very different than that of our parents and grandparents. Howdo we apply the wisdom of the Torah to raise our children in the 21st Century, with its unique challenges? Fortunately, we have the Rebbe’s vision, and we are priveleged and humbled that our unique school, Oholei Yosef Yitzchok Lubavitch of Crown Heights, is at the forefornt of finding creative ways to apply the Torah and Chassidic way of education to the modern world. What motivates is the belief that with the right approach, hard work, dedication, and passion for our ideals, we can design a better school for our children.
The Rebbe compares the development of a child to the planting of a new seed. Everything in the environment, everything that its put into the growth of the seed, will be amplified in the tree that emerges. Extreme care must be taken to ensure that the seed is not damaged even in the slightest. This is true not only of the content of the education, that it should be pure and holy, but also in the style of the education.
It may surprise you to know that even though many of the principles upon which our school is built seem very progressive, they are in fact traditional Torah models for education. Unfortunately, being enmeshed with the secular cultures in which we live has influenced our educational systems and teaching styles. We are not seeking an avante-garde, new age approach; we are finding creative ways to make classic Torah education models relevant and effective using the toosl and knowledge available today.
Take frontal teaching as an example. Frontal teaching, where the teacher stands at the front of a class and lectures to all children equally, is a way of standardizing and mass-producing education to meet the needs of industrialized and knowledge-bases economies. At OYYL, we went back to the original model of focusing on the holistic needs of each individual child, rather than just the need to cover certain material and bring children to a certain level only.
The results speak for themselves. Not only are our students concisely exceeding their academic milestones, but they are developing into happy, healthy, chassidishe children with a love and passion for Judaism and learning. Our success is raising the bar for education in our community, encouraging other schools to emulate our approach and contributing to the overall health of our community.
May we all have only healthy nachas from our children, may we teach them to live in a liberated way, and may we experience the ultimate redemption with the revelation of Moshiach now.
Rabbi Mottel & Mrs. Mila Shnaiderman
Chabad education means the school, its environment, and its teachers embody the true values of Chabad, the Rebbe and our holy Torah, without any compromises for the sake of simplicity or convenience. Warmth, optimism, positive energy, joy, enthusiasm, and ahavas Yisroel permeate the school the way they permeate a Chabad House –and even more so. The curriculum follows the Rebbe’s unique vision of what a pure Chassidic Education entails; it is al taharas hakodesh both in terms of the subjects studied, and also how they are studied,
Discipline may create a sense of order and simplify life for those in authority, but it doesn’t nurture the child or help him/her grow. At OYYL, our policy is to focus on positive, cognitive motivation, rather than reward and punishment, to achieve our goals. Instead, we create an environment so empathic that students are naturally
Positive and Relaxed Approach
Everything in the classroom environment promotes a heightened sense of well-being, with extreme care taken that only encouraging, constructive language and behavior is used.
Appreciation of Diversity
The Torah teaches us that the foundation for growth must be unconditional love and we aim to emulate this in the classroom. Every child is intrinsically valued for who and how they are.
Individualized Learning Paths
Students are given freedom to grow in their own way. Teachers encourage a non-competitive atmosphere and guide each child through the core material at their own pace. Instead of a standardized grading system, each child is assessed daily on an individual basis, and teachers write qualitative evaluation reports based on individual benchmarks, strengths, and weaknesses.
We work very closely with parents, special education teachers, and other professionals to provide as much support as necessary for any child who may require any sort of intervention, whether academic, emotional or psychological.
How teachers communicate with students, in actions and words, is fundamental to the learning experience. Teachers are conscientious that the words and expressions they use meet the educational needs of their students and set the right tone.
Education is not just about reaching a functional level of knowledge, but on building tools that support lifelong learning, especially in fundamentals like reading, writing, comprehension, and critical thinking. This is very much part of the Chabad ideal, in which the student is expected to internalize and apply knowledge.
Multi-Sensory, Experiential Learning
Children learn best through hands-on
experience. We encourage the children to touch, smell, listen and play with the world around them. Our teachers serve as facilitators that gently assist children along their learning journey with the use of multi-sensory teaching techniques, such as advanced artistic projects (drawing, sculpting, origami, clay formation) and field trips where students can see and interact with the subjects they are studying. We use the multi-sensory approach across all areas of learning, including the learning of Alef-Beis, chumash, Mishna, and Gomorra.
By encouraging children to learn in this way, they simultaneously experience growth across all their faculties and deep saturation of the material.
We strive to care for the whole child, ensuring a safe and nurturing environment, an interactive natural garden where children are encouraged to plant, observe nature, and take care of their environment, and healthy (GMO and MSG-free) meals.
OYY is the only school in the US that promotes pure Chassidic education within an “open learning” classroom setting. Whereas typical frontal learning focuses on standardizing the educational process and attaining hegemony, open learning is child-centric and focuses on the needs of the individual student. Classes are small (12-14 students). Instead of standing at the front of the class and lecturing to everyone at the same level, the teacher instructs the students on an individual level or in small
constructive language and behavior, and eliminate competitiveness from the classroom environment. The child-centric approach expresses itself in other ways as well, as teachers are attuned to whatever works to create the right environment to stimulate creativity: The classroom has various workstations for different activities. It is designed to be student-friendly, including the size and placements of objects and the colors of walls and furnishings.
The OYYL curriculum follows the Rebbe’s guideline that everything should be al taharas hakodesh. Students study Jewish history, chumash, mishna, basic concepts in Tanya and Chabad Chassidus, and the history of Chabad and its niggunim.
Reading and Writing
Reading and writing are the basic tools for learning; therefore, attaining proficiency in these areas at an early age is important.
OYY uses a layered curriculum to ensure maximum academic success. This means that at every level of learning there are core requirements and standards that must be met in order to graduate the next stage, and that all new material is presented in a way that builds on previous material. Teachers are required to communicate across the grades to ensure that each child completes all the material over the schooling years. This gives us a clear structure with the added bonus of flexibility, so that we can maintain high standards without imposing too much.
Regardless of the specific subject or activity, we provide students with an awareness of Hashem’s unity and tools to recognize His immanence in the world. Hashem’s presence is felt in the classroom environment, in the daily routine that includes mitzvos, in the language used, and in the content of the curriculum that teaches nature as a wonder of Hashem’s making.
Learning to Think (Expanding Cognition)
Our focus is on tool building as oppose to knowledge gain. We believe that training a child to think well, to reflect on information, and to relate it to their lives is the most important part of education. This is one of the key principles in Chabad philosophy, the importance of processing and internalizing knowledge and daily experiences- and this is what it means to be a Pnimi.
“חינוך תינוקות של בית רבן, צריך להיות באופן שהתינוקות נעשים חדורים לגמרי בתוך תוכם עם הענין והנקודה של “משיח”, כך, שכאשר רק מעיפים מבט על ילד יהודי, מה רואים? – משיח! כל מציאותם היא “משיח” – הגילוי ד”אתה הראת גו’ אין עוד מלבדו”.”
שיחת שמחת תורה תשנ”ב:
Jewish children must be educated in a manner in which they become completely saturated and imbued with the concept of Moshiach. In this way, just by looking at a Jewish child we see Moshiach! In truth, the entire existence of Jewish children consists solely of “You have been shown…there is none other beside Him.”
Sicha Simchas Torah 5752
The Rebbe’s directives are integrated not only in the religious instruction and spirit of the school,
but also in the general academics, the approach to physical and mental health,
and the personal growth and development of the individual.
The classroom atmosphere and the progress of the student are dependent on the teacher. All the teachers who are part of our team demonstrate a high level of sensitivity, emotional availability and a kind disposition. They share the same Jewish and Chassidic values, a vibrant connection to the Rebbe, and are living examples of everything they teach. They are dedicated and passionate about Chabad Jewish education. They have all bought into our approach, and invest tremendous times and energy to actualizing it. We invest heavily in their professional development, provide them with strong support, and encourage them to be innovative and expand their teaching repertoire.
There are many things I really love and admire about the school. Here are some of them. My son is happy, my son really loves the school and the teachers. My son is learning Yiddishkeit really well and making excellent progress ky”h. The school has a direction and a mission statement. The staff is professional. The amount of individual attention my son is getting is quite remarkable. And finally, perhaps most importantly the school teaches, promotes and encourages the highest level of adherence, observance and adherence of Yiddishkeit and Chassidishkeit, based on the directions of the Rebbe. For example, the biggest reward for the mitzvah is the mivtzah, doing emes because it’s emes, loving your fellow like yourself, etc.Vagan Sogomonian
Every teacher in OYYL works individually with each child on a daily basis! They professionally educate, guide, and practice skills that their students need to acquire. It is possible because the staff in OYYL believes that quality is above quantity and keeps a low teacher to student ratio. Simply amazing! #2 Every student in OYYL who struggles with a certain developmental domain is approached individually. Teachers professionally pinpoint one’s weaknesses, then a corrective plan is developed and collaboratively carried over. When needed, the plan is adjusted to yield the best possible results. Then everyone, students And educators, celebrate their victories, be it academic, behavior, or social. Students in OYYL proof that “not every size fits all”. Meital Khavis, MS SpEd
I came to OYYL last May because I had no school for my child. I didn’t even know OYYL existed until that time. I am very pleased with the way the year has turned out. The teachers are wonderful and caring and there is a warm feeling as you enter the building. My son is reading Hebrew when he barely knew Aleph Beis at the start of the year. The skills taught are wonderful and meaningful! He also has a strong love for Torah and Yiddishkeit!Malky Lipkind
I would say that Ohelei Yosef Yitzchok has definantly benefitted my son in many great ways. First and for most the Morahs are so loving! Which is most important in my opinion because it makes a parent feel comfortable that her son is being taken care of in the best possible way. Second the chinuch. It’s a chassidishe environment which I love! It is very important now days. The Morahs really care about the child’s chinuch and growth. All in all I would like to thank ohelei Yosef yitzchok for the chinuch and growth for the past two years that they have given my son.Sincerely, Itzhakovs
Very happy with being able to develop a parent-teacher relationship on a personal level and very happy with professionalism of entire staff.
We are the first class and stuck with them for about 4 years.Jonathan Kahanovitch
I was really impressed with the organizations presence on Facebook with pictures and regular updates. That really got me to think about putting my sons there as I like the dedication to chassidic themes that the pictures where infused with and I had a close friend who’s son was really doing well there and his Torah knowledge seemed exceptional. I like the smaller ratio of teachers to students and I really see a lot of thought and creativity goes into the art projects that mendel comes home with. All the best, Basya Wolkenfeld
What drew me to OYYL is the very calm invironmet, the personal attention every child receives and the one on one care.Rina Boaron
Our son Shimshon and daugher Esther love going to school/kindergarden each morning.
They always come home happy and can’t wait to go the next day.Ben and Rena Efros
Why I choose OYYL:
*I feel that my children are building a strong and everlasting connection with the Rebbe MH”M that will stay with them for their entire lifetime and will help them to bring Moshiach Now!! *Each one of my children is approached individually and with a very positive attitude! *My children are learning Toiro in very fun, engaging, entertaining and hands-on ways that they so much enjoy! *I know that this is the place where the talents of my children will be revealed, developed and strengthened to their best ability! Yashar Koyach and a big thank you to all the teachers and directors for their priceless input into the chinuch of my children that is really provided “al taharas hakoidesh”!!!Leah Goldshtein, MS SpEd
Despite the small facility of OYYL, the undivided attention to every child following every detail is part of the benefits a parent can only get from a combination of a small school and caring staff. The חיות and חסידישקייט of the children can be seen in the details as well as in the big picture of raising kids in times towards משיח וגאולה. Much success!
יחי אדמו”ר מלך המשיח לעולם ועדAmos Cohen
There is a tremendous positive energy that one feels when walking in to Yeshivas Oholei Yosef Yitzchak. The teachers understand that the key to successfully reaching every child is to work with them as individuals. The children are taught using differentiated modalities to effectively reach and engage each child in their own unique way. The results are happy engaged children who are acquiring the building blocks of learning.Chani Paneth, LCSW
My son has attended oholei Yosef Yitzchok for 2 years. I am very happy with the school, especially his morahs. They are so warm and caring. I am so amazed and happy how much my son has learned these 2 years. The projects he brings home are amazing. I hope the school continues to grow so he can spend many more years learning here.Marves Family
We feel very lucky to have the wonderful opportunity to send our son to this incredible program at oyyl. The multi sensory approach is helping our son learn a tremendous amount, specifically in kriya. We love the small class size and the round table learning style. Our son has matured tremendously and his self image has improved greatly, due to the noncompetitive atmosphere. We are so grateful. Thank you. The Landa Family
My son has been with Gan Yosef Yitzchok for three years, he has had an incredible experience there with Morah Mila and her incredible staff. I love the way they give personalized attention and know how to bring out the best in the child. My son in particular did not like to speak and Morah Mila has made him comfortable to speak in her class and with his friends. Brocha Werner
Our child comes home from school every day with a wealth of information. He tells us the story of the parshah or Yom Tov and he really understands what he learned. We appreciate all the effort that the teachers put in to understand the needs of each child and come up with creative learning modalities to fit the needs of every learner. Our son loves school and is happy to go every day. Morah Mila is always available to respond to every issue, large or small. Mordechai Shuchat
OYYL appealed to us because it was a small and unique school. Every step in the educational aspect was carefully looked through. For the last 4 years that my child has been in the school, he has advanced so much in all aspects B”H. The school is following his advancement by giving him the right challenges, encouragements and strengthens his strengths. B”H my son feels genuine love to HaShem, Torah, the Rebbe and chassidus and a lot of it I can attribute to the school.Dana Pestun
The individual attention each of our children receive at OYYL is outstanding.
The teachers’ dedication and commitment to each child’s chassidishe and overall growth is immeasurable.Chaya Kahanovitch
I am a licensed special education therapist and a mom of many. Therefore i can admit to being choosy when it came to where to put my two cherished youngest boys. Many schools suffer from three ailments: they become black holes in terms of communication between parents and staff; they fit the child into pre/established holes which stifle a child’s creativity; and they teach to the average student which leaves the gifted and disadvantaged student behind. Ohel yosef yitzchok breaks the mold by communicating frequently with parents using all methods available: phone, text, email, notes home and facebook. Sharing the ups and downs of chinuch and parenting ads immensely to a child’s rich learning experience by allowing for reciprocal discipline. For example a teacher can know why a child was cranky and vice versa in order to fix the problem. Parents can reward children for their sucesses at school and vice versa. Black hole syndrome happens when a parent has no clue what happens to a child from when they get on that bright yellow schoolbus until they get home at the end of the day. That simply does not occur at ohel yosef yitzchok. Another thing ohel yosef yitzchok excells in is fitting the currículum to the child and not the other way around. If you have seen the frustration a small child has with a shape sorter as he/she tries to put the star into a round hole you can imagine the pain of a child who just doesn’t “get it.” He/she doesn’t understand the material – not because they are mentally slow, in fact they could have a very high IQ, but because there are many ways to learn information and the teacher is only choosing to use one. In ohel yosef yitzchok every method of teaching is used until the child understands. Mila and her talented staff are always trying to create new currículum that will tailor the learning to the child. I will never forget walking into one of my older child’s classrooms and seeing that certain children were never called on. When i asked why, i was told that this teacher teaches to the middle. If there are some kids too slow to learn or too quick, which is evidenced by them allways asking questions, that isn’t her problem. I was disgusted. In special education i see kids bounced from one grade to the next without knowing basic concepts. This could not happen in ohel yosef yitzchok as mila and her talented staff care about each and every child as if they were their own. They work in tandem with the parents to make sure that no child is left behind. In ohel yosef yitzchok they excel in the three c’s as you have seen: communication, currículum building, and caring. Don’t you wish every school did?!Sharone Schwei, MS SpEd