Students in grades 1-5 grow to love learning in a caring, home-like atmosphere that’s just the right size and scale for young learners. The Primary School curriculum is supportive, rigorous, and developmentally appropriate and features core academic learning and skill building, as well as art, music, physical education, and development of social skills. Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, and Kindness are our community’s Life Rules. Project-based learning that captivate the imagination are hallmarks of the MDA educational experience. Our 1st grade students put on an annual Knowledge is Power event and our 3rd graders shine brightly during their Cultures Around the World event. Both are exhibitions where our students present what they’ve learned and develop public speaking skills, which prepare MDA students for success in Middle School and beyond. Fourth graders work hard during the year in conjunction with the Make-A-Wish program towards making a difference in the lives of children with critical illnesses. Students organize, manage, and complete fundraisers within and outside school such as car washes, bake sales, and even a theatre production.
As part of this program, students experience the joy of giving, develop school spirit, learn a lot of skills, and work toward a common goal of making a wish come true. Our annual Battle of Books competition for select 3rd, 4th and 5th graders allows the students who choose to participate, to read and study the assigned books and prepare to answer questions about the books in order to participate in a competition against other International schools in Panama. Our incredible teaching staff at Magen David Academy draw out each child’s strengths and help thoughtfully develop critical thinking skills.
At Magen David Academy students in Grades K-5 have adopted Balanced Literacy since 2018 as a major component of the Elementary Language Arts program. This reading program connects to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and supports reading, writing, and language development. It provides students with weekly routines to help develop a deep understanding and build higher-order thinking skills. The program provides teachers with an online platform to manage student data and reading assignments. Students, on a weekly basis, ask questions, practice phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, high-frequency words, comprehension, vocabulary, fluency, writing, and grammar. Balanced Literacy allows teachers to implement performance assessments to differentiate instruction day by day through teacher-led small groups, independent practice stations, and independent reading activities. There are literacy activities for students on all levels from beginner to advanced with a balance of both fiction and nonfiction titles.
We focus on developing the character of our students through our behavioral management approach “Responsive Classroom” including adding a new ideal related responsibility. During the 2018-2019 School Year we focused on the value of "kindness" through many activities including the establishment of a Kindness Committee among the students. Throughout the 2019-2020 school year we worked on the value of “respect” in different areas (for one's self and for others).
Our Elementary School is equipped with 60 ChromeBooks to implement the integration and use of Technology in different subjects. The students learn to work in digital learning platforms like Khan Academy, Raz- Kids, Zern and more. We continue with our STEAM programming on the basis of Project-Based Learning in subjects like Science, Social Studies and Judaic Studies.