FAQs

Chalav u'Dvash – Everything Kids Love. In Hebrew

is the only program that brings
Everyday Hebrew to every child
Engaging every sense
Experiencing everyday Israel
Learning everything in Hebrew
With professional support every step of the way.

Q: Who is the program for?
A: Chalav u'Dvash is intended for three to six year olds who are taking their first steps in Hebrew. Using a variety of developmentally appropriate activities and materials, teaching aids the program creates a fascinating and inviting learning environment which engages all the senses, stimulates the child’s imagination and fosters a love of the Hebrew language.

Q: Is Chalav u' Dvash a Hebrew immersion program?
A: No. The amount of hours required for immersion far exceeds the recommended number of hours for Chalav u'Dvash. In a Chalav u’Dvash classroom, Hebrew is taught only in Hebrew - Ivrit be Ivrit, however, it is not a daily block of hours taught in Hebrew. Research shows that children's success in reading and writing (a mother tongue or second language) is based on well developed and rich conversational language. Therefore, the program focuses on oral language through systematic, spiral instruction and is based on approximately one and half hours of Hebrew a week - usually, but not always - taught in several 25-30 minute sessions. More time spent on Hebrew each week will enable the children to advance at a more rapid pace.

Q: Does the program teach reading and writing in Hebrew?
A: No. Formal instruction of reading and writing is not part of Chalav u'Dvash.
A solid foundation is laid for reading and writing Hebrew in the future through:

  • games that use right to left direction (Hebrew is written from right to left)
  • systematic exposure to the written words in Hebrew on the illustrated cards,

  • flash cards and books included in the program kit

  • story books and activities that focus on listening comprehension

  • games, songs and rhymes which emphasize the phonology (sound) and morphology (form) of the Hebrew language

Q: How many times a week do you have to teach the program?
A: The program was designed around the provision of one and half hours of Hebrew a week taught in several 25-30 minute sessions. More time spent on Hebrew each week enables the children to advance at a more rapid pace. There is no question that several times a week allows the children to remember what has been learned more easily and provides more opportunities to use Hebrew. However, we have been surprised that children retain some Hebrew even if they are exposed to it once a week. Over the last few years we have learned from the field about different models for using the program including parents and children together for an hour a week with material to use at home and Chalav u'Dvash day camp where Hebrew is part of every day. We even have one school that teaches Chalav u'Dvash for half an hour a week (because that is all the time the school can allot to the program) and the teacher puts all kinds of activities on the school's intranet so that the children can practice with their families at home.

Q: Who is the Chalav u'Dvash teacher - the children's regular teacher or a specialist?
A: Different schools find different solutions depending on the availability of a Hebrew speaking teacher. In most of the schools where the children's regular teacher speaks Hebrew she teaches the program to her class. The advantage of this is that Hebrew can be more easily integrated into the rest of the school day and connected to other things the children are learning. In other schools, one teacher is trained and she teaches Hebrew to all of the classes. We even have a few schools in the same geographical area who have hired a specialist teacher together and she teaches at all the schools. 

Q: What are the contents of the program?
A: One of the most unique aspects of Chalav u'Dvash is that it focuses on conversational Hebrew, teaching the language by using it in everyday situations rather than teaching topics or themes. The contents of the program derive from the children’s everyday life and are therefore more likely to become part of the child’s everyday vocabulary. This is how children naturally acquire language. Because the festivals and Bible stories are so rich in possibilities for conversations with young children, we recommend that the Judaic studies be taught in the children's first language. This allows the teacher to progress according to the children's pace and not be concerned with covering a certain amount of material by the time a particular holiday comes around. Instructions are provided on how to incorporate holiday vocabulary into Chalav u'Davsh sessions, so that the holiday will also be present in the Hebrew language component of the curriculum.

Q: What is included in the kit?
A: The kit includes many of the materials the teacher needs to implement the program. We encourage both teachers and children to create their own materials as well.
Kit contents:

  • Bentzi the Hebrew speaking turtle puppet from Israel.
  • A User's Guide and five Teacher's Guides that provide detailed instructions for every lesson and activity suggested.
  • CDs with original music, rhythmic activities and practice songs set to familiar melodies.
  • Story books that accompany the material in each guide (provided in two sizes for whole group and individual use).
  • Illustrated cards used for a variety of games and activities (provided in two sizes).
  • Additional materials including posters and games that promote learning in an active and playful manner and facilitate review of what has already been learned.
  • A CD containing the graphic images used in the program to enable the creation of new materials.

 

Q: What principles guide the program?
A: 1. A focus on the child
The entire program and all of the activities have been designed with the child in mind. The program is informed by research on language acquisition at this age and developmentally appropriate practice. The Hebrew sessions are structured so that the children are speaking, dancing, playing and singing 80% of the time (20% for the teacher!). Our aim is for the child to love Hebrew and use the language in an authentic communicative manner.
2. Ivrit B'Ivrit - Hebrew in Hebrew
Our ears are naturally attuned to our first language. The children’s attentive ability in Hebrew is inferior to their attentive ability in their first language. If Hebrew lessons are a combination of Hebrew and the child's first language, the children will not make the effort that listening in Hebrew requires and will understand Hebrew through the first language. They will also perceive the language as a collection of individual words rather than as an organic whole. In order for children to view Hebrew as a language in which they too can communicate, it must be used for communication by the teacher AND the children. Hebrew in Hebrew instruction also lays the foundation  for the development of thinking processes in Hebrew in the future.
3. Systematic language instruction
Chalav u'Dvash focuses on the linguistic patterns that are the foundation of the language. Through the patterns, the children learn the rules of behavior of the Hebrew language. An example of this is the feminine and masculine endings in the plural - im and ot. Once the child has learned this pattern, he/she will be able to apply it no matter what the object is. While there are exceptions to this rule, we do not include them in the program.
The term “linguistic progression” refers to the way the program progresses from familiar to unfamiliar, simple to complex, common to rare, from male to female, and from singular to plural. The logic of sequencing in language learning is similar to the logic that underlies sequencing in the teaching of mathematics or the study of musical notation. The learning of the basics in a sequenced, structured and systematic way is what makes virtuosity possible later on. One of the ways we facilitate progressive learning is through the inclusion of vocabulary familiar to the children from their first language. This creates a sense of basic knowledge and confidence in Hebrew. The study units at the beginning of the program include cognates - words that are pronounced similarly or identically in Hebrew and other languages, for example chocolate and shokolad or telephone, which is exactly the same in Hebrew. This enables the child to speak Hebrew from the very first sessions. Also, we only use the present tense. The use of present tense enables immediate communication, which is the program’s primary goal. The child’s mental world focuses mainly on the present, and at this age children are still in the process of acquiring grammatical past and future tense forms in their first language. The content words that are included in the program are among those used most frequently by Hebrew-speakers generally, and by young children in particular.
4. Spiral instruction
Children learn to use language through repeated encounters with the same pattern in different contexts. Each study unit builds on those that precede it and includes the previously learned vocabulary and patterns. In this way, each study unit lays the groundwork for those following it and ensures constant practice of what has been learned. This gives the children confidence and fosters their ability to create new language combinations. For these reasons, Chalav u'Dvash  should be taught in the order recommended in the teacher's guides.
5. Israel Education
The Hebrew language can serve as a living bridge connecting children and their families to Israel. The program includes a variety of activities and teaching aids which, in addition to their role in Hebrew language instruction, serve as a window on the landscapes and children of Israel for the young child in the Diaspora.
6.  Family Inclusion
Chalav u’Dvash extends the learning experience beyond the classroom, through activities involving the children’s families at home and by inviting parents to take an active role in their child's Hebrew experience.

Q: How is the program constructed and what is covered?
A: The program includes a User's Guide which provides an overview and rationale, guidelines for working with the program and instructions on how to incorporate holiday vocabulary into the units of study. There are also five teacher's guides with enough material for three or more years of instruction. Each guide is comprised of 35 study units (lessons). The format of each unit is the same – a brief instructional segment and then a variety of activities for review and practice. Teachers choose from among many suggestions those that are appropriate for their particular group of children. Every lesson uses a variety of teaching strategies and teaching aids. Sample lessons can be viewed on the website.

Q: Does the teacher have to speak Hebrew?
A: The teacher has to be able to speak, read and write Hebrew. The material for the teacher is written in Hebrew and the training is also in Hebrew. This does not necessarily mean that the teacher has to be a native Hebrew speaker. Many Chalav u'Dvash teachers learned to speak Hebrew in the Diaspora.

Q: How are training and support delivered?
A: • The Chalav u'Dvash program has an extensive training and support system.Delivering the kit is only the beginning of our relationship with our teachers. Annual training seminars take place in Israel, North America and other countries as well. Individual training sessions are available for teachers visiting Israel. Information about training is posted on the website several months prior to the training dates.Wherever the program is taught we are there offering:
• A helpful hotline • Email, video and teleconferencing • A password protected “Teachers Only” section on our website offering new ideas and materials as well as instructional video clips

Q: Can the program be used without training?
A: The Chalav u'Dvash teacher's guides provide detailed directions for instruction and our support system is available to give intensive assistance to teachers who have not attended a training seminar. If followed exactly, the program can be taught without training. HOWEVER, the training provides teachers with:
• A better understanding of the Chalav u'Dvash philosophy • Real time demonstration of and hands-on engagement with the program components
• Guidance on the creation and implementation of additional resources • A network of other teachers who have shared the training experience

Q: How much does the program cost and how is it delivered?
A: For information on the cost of the program please contact us at eliner@wzo.org.il.  Prices vary according to geographical location in the world. The price includes shipping from Israel, ongoing support and access to the teacher's area of the website.

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