Hebrew is one of the Semitic languages of the Afro-Asiatic language family. It is spoken by over 9 million persons in Israel and throughout the world. In Israel it is spoken by the majority of the population and along with Arabic, it is one of the two official languages. Although Hebrew is often associated with members of the Jewish faith, because Israel is a nation of immigrants, Hebrew is a second language for many of its speakers. Hebrew is also the mother tongue of Samaritans, though today only a few a thousand Samaritans remain.
Hebrew language education has had a long presence in Manitoba. The origins of the Jewish community has been traced back to 1878. Subsequently, other Jewish families arrived through the United States, with a significant number arriving from Russia as a result of violence and persecution of Jews in1882. Jews were also part of the migration from other parts of Europe, seeking a new beginning and the opportunity to own their own farms. By the early 1960s, Winnipeg had the third largest Jewish community in Canada.
Formal Hebrew language education began with the opening of the first Talmud Torah in 1902, when King Edward School opened its doors for the children of Jewish immigrants who had come to the new frontier of Winnipeg offering a school curriculum of Hebrew language, Talmud, Jewish literature and history. This was followed In 1907 by the Winnipeg Hebrew Free School – Talmud Torah. This was followed by opportunities for Yiddish language instruction with the establishment of the Peretz and Jewish Folk Schools in 1913.
In 1981, following the amendments to the Public School Act of 1979 that allowed languages other than French or English to be used for instruction in public schools, Hebrew-English bilingual programming was introduced in the Seven Oaks and Winnipeg School Divisions. Today, Alberta and Manitoba are only provinces that offer Hebrew bilingual programming in the public school system.
The term bilingual programming is used to describe a partial immersion program where both English and a second language (in this case, Hebrew) are languages of instruction. In Hebrew bilingual programming, language arts is taught using both languages of instruction. Other subjects are taught either in English or in Hebrew. Cultural knowledge, skills, and attitudes are often taught using an integrated approach.
The development of the Kindergarten to Grade 6 Hebrew Language Arts: Manitoba Curriculum Framework of Outcomes (2008) was facilitated by the collaborative work that was completed earlier with Alberta and Saskatchewan through the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Basic Education in developing the 1999, Common Curriculum Framework for Bilingual Programming in International Languages (Kindergarten to Grade 12).
The Kindergarten to Grade 6 Hebrew Language Arts: Manitoba Curriculum Framework of Outcomes contains
- an introduction describing the background, purpose, and development process
- a rationale and vision for Hebrew language arts education
- a definition and conceptual framework for Hebrew language arts in a bilingual school setting
- an orientation to the document
- a description of the organization of the document
- a description of the central concepts of the six General Learning Outcomes for Kindergarten to Grade 6
- Kindergarten to Grade 6 Specific Learning Outcomes
Curriculum for Hebrew as a language of study is available in hard-copy format only. For information on existing curriculum follow the contact information available on this page.
Development of a foundation for implementation document for Kindergarten to Grade 6 Hebrew Language Arts is expected to be launched in the 2008-2009 school year.
Links are provided where possible for the schools identified below. Mailing and telephone information for individual schools are available from Schools in Manitoba.Bilingual Programming
Hebrew-English Bilingual Programming is offered in two K-6 schools in the Winnipeg area. Links to the schools’ websites is provided below.
Hebrew is also offered in several Winnipeg area independent schools along with Judaic studies. Links to the schools’ websites or contact information is provided below.