Early American Civilizations

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Did you know that one of the customs of the Atakapa tribe was to use wet bark for baby carriers and Spanish moss for diapers?

This year in Social Studies, our elementary students are learning about America's past beginning with the native route to reach this side of the world, how they lived, what they hunted and traded. 

Their recent unit was all about the settlers of our own States of Louisiana and Mississippi (since one of our students actually lives there and travels to come to STA!), learning about who made it was it is today.

They researched information and then collaborated with each other to choose one of the Native American tribes or early settlers to investigate further.

They discovered how the Caddo tribe lived in cone shaped houses made of poles covered with a thatch of grass and how the Houma tribe ate raw fish and wild game. They developed a creole language based on the French language. 

Engagement was high as the students enjoyed making their own choices and using their creativity to present the information.  

Rosh Hashana Manipulatives


A student in the Robins carefully uses their fingertips to put pom poms into the apple tree. 

A student in the Doves class recognizes the Hebrew words for some of the Rosh Hashana foods through the use of three part cards.

A student in the Blue Jays class strengthens fine motor and color recognition by using tongs to place colored bees into the hive.

A student in the Chickadees class learns about the parts of an apple through the use of three part cards.

In our JPA classes, a big part of our integrated curriculum the past couple of weeks was the holiday of Rosh Hashana. Part of our Montessori inspired curriculum is the use of self correcting manipulatives that teach the children to take charge of their learning and gives them the ability to work independently in a hands on way. In all of our classes, the children had access to a variety of materials that immersed them in the holiday, learning about apples, bees, honey, the Shofar and so much more. 

Happy Birthday World!


Hard to imagine how many birthday candles would have to be on this birthday cake!? Elementary students celebrated a very special birthday this week…the world’s 5784th birthday! 

Yearly, the Rosh Hashana holiday celebrates the culmination of the full creation of the world, and as such, the first day of creation was 6 days prior to Rosh Hashana…on the 25th of Elul on the Jewish calendar. On that day at school, students in elementary classes focused on being grateful for the beautiful, bountiful world that Hashem created. Each student enjoyed a special treat of black and white cookies, symbolizing the light and dark of the first day of creation.

Students wrote birthday cards to the world, with wishes and gifts they would like to give to the world. Ranging from: "I hope everyone will get all their needs." (M.H. R.- Grade 1) to "I will give more Tzedakah." (A.R.- Grade 8) to "I will take care of plants." (E. R. - Grade 5) to "I will pray for peace on you." ( S. R.- Grade 5) to "I will pray for rain." (H. C. - Grade 5). Students were reflective and excited about the special day.

In the K-1 and 2nd-3rd grade classes, the students also learned a bit about their own Jewish birthday dates and we look forward to celebrating those as they come up on the Jewish calendar all year long. 

Remembering 9/11/2001 for 22 Years


Today is 9/11.

22 years.

I remember walking into school, to my office, and hearing the news. We were all shaking and worried, turning on the news to get more details. It was so shocking, confusing, and terrifying. Rabbi Nemes was there and he gathered everyone and spoke to all the children. If I recall correctly Rabbi Nemes spoke about how Hashem runs the world and how our prayers can help.

I believe it was that actual day (or immediately thereafter) that we started to add 1 chapter of Tehillim as a group with all the students after lunch Birkat Hamazon - Chapter 23, "For peace and safety around the world". Slater Torah Academy has continued saying it daily ever since! 22 years straight (minus the months of the Katrina upheaval). 

Today is also 25 Elul- birthday of the world, beginning of Day 1 of creation, 5784 years ago! 

Montessori Focus at JPA PD Week


One of the things we love about our staff is their growth mindset that matches our commitment as a school to constantly improving and making it the best for our students. Each year, we spend a week on professional development, team building and classroom set-up.

 This year, the focus on learning and in our classrooms was on the Montessori method. It began with a session with Charlotte Lin, an experienced Montessori educator who gave an overview on the method and why it works. She explained many of the important works that the children in a Montessori classroom learn how to do.

We are grateful to Morah Sara Chaya, a Montessori educator of many years and a long time teacher at JPA for almost 18 years who donated a tremendous amount of Montessori materials and then demonstrated them for all of our staff.

Our classrooms are looking beautiful with the natural colors and beautiful aesthetic that Montessori and the Reggio Emelia perspectives are known for.

We also had workshops on topics like emergency drills, Kosher, a procedure based classroom, and the lunch program. 

Why a Goat and a Horse were at JPA


Early Childhood aged children thrive on routine, so when a new school year comes along, it is important to help our students acclimate to prepare them for the changes that a new year brings, such as a new classroom, teacher, routines and for our new students, a new school or their first school experience.

 Here's what we did to help with that process:

1) Two weeks before the school year began, we sent out to each family a package with two social stories. Social stories tell a story about what will happen and what the expectations are. The stories we sent home were about getting ready in the morning and going to preschool.

2) We held a parent orientation so parents would be familiar with the routines and expectations that we have at JPA.

3) Families were invited to a fun day at school on the Sunday before school began. We had an exciting petting zoo with a goat, horse, chickens, and a sheep. Families were able to spend time together while the children played on the bounce house, colored pictures and enjoyed an animal themed water table. 

4) On Monday, children were assigned an hour time slot to come with their parents to drop off their supplies and spend time in their classroom with only one or two other children present.  

5) On Tuesday, new students had half a day and left before nap time.  

In another blog post, we'll talk about the routines and procedures that we have at drop off and throughout the day to provide predictability and a secure environment. 

Back to school BBQ!



It is back to school and STA elementary celebrated with our 6th annual Welcome Back BBQ. This year, we took it up a level with a hillarious parent and child game. Parents and children were asked questions like what is your mom's favorite snack? or what is your child's favorite school lunch? to see how well they know each other. This event was coordinated by Morah Lina Warshawski and Gittel Nemes along with the STA elementary admin team. The BBQ was deliciously prepared by Alex Casabat. Thank you to everyone volunteered and helped with the set up.

7 Days of Creation at JPA Camp


This summer, STA and JPA ran an array of camps that were engaging and provided entertainment for our students during the weeks that school was closed. Our STA elementary students enjoyed a STEM camp where they built catapults, their very own working bubble machine and so much more. JPA students ages 3-5 enjoyed a mini camp run by our very own JPA teachers during the week that Camp Gan Israel was not open. For the entirety of the summer, our 0-2 year olds had a blast with water play, gymnastics, music class and a curriculum that took them on a journey discovering the incredible world Hashem created. Each week took them on a journey to learn about things like light, birds, flowers and animals through art, sensory play, songs and stories. 

End of Year Celebration and Pre-k graduation


The pre-k graduation was adorable and moving. Watching the proud grads march down the red carpet and flawlessly sing away brought joy to all who attended. The most moving part was a ceremony by the Kindergarten class who passed on the torch of STA elementary to the JPA graduates. Ms. Katherine Bickford presented each of her students with their diplomas and a colored cord representing a unique award based on their personalities. 

The theme for the preschool celebration was Our School Family. It started off with the song "My school family" and continued with Judaic and academic songs as well as connection songs that we start our day with and contribute to the love and caring foundation in our classrooms. 

The elementary students presented on the theme of Hakhel, gathering Jewish people together as they did during the times of the Beit Hamikdash thousands of years ago. For example, the 3rd-4th grade each shared about the Jewish community in countries from around the world. They recited poetry for their general studies presentations, including My Robot by Shel Silverstein and original poems by the middle schoolers titled "A Day at STA". 

Jewish Preschool of the Arts Art Show


This year's theme of our JPA art show was some of our favorite books. At Jewish preschool of the arts, art plays a significant role in the education process. We believe that by giving children opportunities for self expression in an open ended way, we are giving them the confidence to reveal their potential and build their identity. These skills play an important role in the learning they do to prepare for Kindergarten, elementary and beyond. 

Some of the interesting pieces this year were a spray painted negative space Shabbat Candle painting by the Robins class based on their favorite book: "Is it Shabbos yet?" as well as clay sculptures that were unique in design. Ms. Janet Dake, our art teacher worked alongside the JPA teachers to create art invitations that were open ended and allowed the children's creativity to shine. 


Thank you to all our parents who participated in the art auction. The funds collected will go towards our new clay enrichment program for the 2023-2024 school year!


Class of 2023


We ended off our 30 year since the establishment of Torah Academy, more recently known as STA (Slater Torah Academy) with our 8th grade graduation. Graduates Moshe Mayer, Hadassah Schechter and Mojo Voskovsky echoed their gratitude for their teachers and administration throughout the years who ensured a quality Jewish and general education in New Orleans possible, as well as for their parents who supported their education at our school. The over 80 people in attendance were enamored by the maturity and perspective of our graduates. Addressing the crowd was also Morah Mushka Cohen, representing the teachers who spoke about the individuality and qualities each of the graduates portray, Richard Mayer who spoke from the parent's perspective about the growth of the school from when Moshe started there at Chabad Center, and Rabbi Chesney our Administrator who reminded the graduates to remain humble as they embark on the next part of their journeys. The MC for the evening was Mrs. Naomi Smith, our academic director; diplomas were presented by Morah Malkie Rivkin, Judaic principal. A special thank you to Morah Lina Warshawski for organizing the graduation and leading the 8th grade activities this year. The refreshments were lovingly prepared by Orit Naghi. 

Trip to the Bee Farm


 Elementary students participated in a unique field trip before Rosh Hashana to Saul and Raquel Hakim's bee farm. They learned about how honey is made and the bee lifecycle and community structure. They were fascinated to see all the tools of the trade such as the beekeeper suit, the smoker, and the honeycomb frames. They tasted and were able to take home samples of the fresh local honeycomb and honey that is harvested at this farm. JPA students participated in a similar demonstration when the Hakims visited school along with much of their paraphernalia. 

Shofar Blowing


  Each morning during the month of Elul, leading up to the Jewish New Year it is customary to blow the Shofar to wake up the innermost part of our soul and remind it to reconnect with G-d. We were fortunate to have an excellent Shofar blower, parent Berry Silver, come each morning to start our day with Shofar blowing. 

Farm to Table- Parent Partnerships


 Education is a partnership between home and school. A big thank you to our amazing teachers Ms. Joy and Ms. Jada for coordinating a unique lesson on growing vegetables with parents Mr. and Mrs. Borowski. Our Chickadees learned how a pepper grows, that vegetables are delicious and planted the seeds of the peppers they ate. Can't wait to see the fruits of our labor as our plants and children blossom. Parents contributing their talents and time is what makes our great school amazing!


PTO Project- New Bottle Fillers

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The Parent Teacher Organization has fundraised for an outdoor water fountain. This project was completed this past month when the old water fountains were placed with a dual water fountain and bottle filler system. This will allow the students to use reuseable water bottles that are environmentally friendly and bring their water outside. Thank you to past PTO leaders, Orit Naghi and Lina Warshawski as well as all parents who volunteered for participating in this project. 

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