Frequently Asked Questions

Will Talmud Torah (TT) be too religious for my family?/Is TT not sufficiently religious for my family?

  • TT provides a pluralistic Jewish education serving the needs of Jewish families of all denominations and styles of Jewish expression.
  • The integrated curriculum at TT exposes children to many components of Jewish tradition throughout the day, including Hebrew language, prayer, culture, art, history, and geography.
  • TT is part of the Edmonton Public School Board and uses the current Alberta Education curriculum for the secular program.

What is the financial viability of TT?

  • Talmud Torah School is backed by the Talmud Torah Society. The Society raised funds in 1997 to buy the land and build the current school building all without a mortgage.
  • Through strong fundraising and skillful financial guidance, the Society has accumulated a building fund. This fund is to be used for future needs and serves as a guarantor of short-term financial issues.
  • Talmud Torah is an annual recipient of the largest support from the Jewish Federation of Edmonton.
  • Talmud Torah receives financing from Alberta Education through the Edmonton Public School Board.
  • Talmud Torah has 12 restricted scholarship funds that were donated by families that deeply cared about the perpetual viability of the school. The funds are all directed with specific educational goals in mind.
  • Once every two years, the Talmud Torah Society has the right to conduct a casino through the auspices of Alberta Gaming.

In addition to tuition, how much more will I be expected to contribute as a parent at TT?

  • We ask for your assistance to volunteer for activities like the casino and participation in board activities.
  • There are school activities like “Club Moo” and Pizza lunches that provide your children with fun food alternatives. There are extra charges for these activities, which are not part of the annual tuition.
  • There are occasional extra-curricular activities that cost minor amounts of money for participation. They are designed to be break-even.
  • Some classes raise money for trips such as the Grade 6 Shabbaton generally held in Vancouver or the Grade 9 Israel trip. These trips are primarily self funded with some subsidies.
  • We hope that all parents participate either financially or with time on these events.

Is TT too small?

  • Small class size is a great academic advantage for students. Over time we strive to achieve an optimum class size of about 20-25, which will help to broaden the social opportunities for our students and strengthen the school financially.

Is there a sufficient balance between boys and girls at TT?

  • Currently, there are 64 girls (49%) and 67 boys (51%) at TT (based on 2016-17 enrollment).
  • More important than the balance of boys and girls is whether any group/gender is being left out of certain activities. At TT, we work hard to make sure all our students feel included in the group.
  • The small size of the school ensures that every student gets multiple opportunities to participate. There is also a good deal of interaction between different grades/classes, which increases exposure to boys and girls.

What are the differences between TT and other private schools? Public schools?

  • TT shares many of the same characteristics of top private schools, such as talented educators and administrators and specialized staff. Starting at the kindergarten level, our students benefit from small class sizes and a personalized education.
  • The primary difference between TT and other private and public schools is that in addition to a “secular” curriculum, we provide a pluralistic Jewish education serving the needs of Jewish families of all denominations and styles of Jewish expression.
  • Another unique feature of TT is our integrated curriculum, which exposes children to many components of Jewish tradition throughout the day including the Hebrew language, prayer, culture, art, history, and geography.
  • We have a well respected parent-run pre-School program and an optional Kinder Arts program to extend our Kindergarten teaching time.

Is there enough emphasis on “secular” education (i.e., will my child learn to read in kindergarten)?

  • The results of recent Alberta standardized tests consistently show that TT students rank in the top 5 percentiles out of all schools provincially. We are very pleased with these rankings, as they show that our students are obtaining a fine “secular” education.
  • At TT, our students are not shackled to age guidelines. Most children learn to read between the ages of four and seven, but we recognize that all children learn at different paces and respect our students’ individual growth.
  • The language arts program in kindergarten includes a variety of activities that promote reading, writing, speaking, and listening—in both Hebrew and English.
  • At TT, reading and writing skills are introduced early in the kindergarten year using the guided reading program. For those of our students who started in the Talmud Torah pre-school, this is will be an easy transition for both languages. For those who didn’t, our program is sensitive to their needs and they will be given special attention.
  • Our own 100+ year experience and research results from Jewish day schools throughout North America have shown that the addition of Judaic courses and Hebrew language enhance—as oppose to hinder—the academic results of our students in the secular studies.

How will my child adjust to a new school in Grade 10? Especially a much larger one.

  • Students who have graduated from TT have excelled in a number of different schools, and in fact they are much competed for by area high schools. They bring to their new schools the confidence they developed at TT and the ability to function in a second language. They generally are trained to interact with teachers more than the public system does. The smaller TT class sizes prove to be a big head start for our graduates not only in High School but also in post-secondary. Our students have consistently achieved well above average in their academic careers.

Is the School secure? Will my child be safe?

  • The Talmud Torah School has a very vigilant security policy involving locked doors, a sophisticated multi-camera security system and well-trained staff. We review security on a regular basis with the Edmonton Police Service, the RCMP and private contractors. We have a coordinated security program with these organizations.
  • Our safety record on our school property is among the highest of the more than 200 Edmonton Public School Board schools.

Why a Jewish day school?

  • In our modern, liberal, multi-ethnic Canadian society, is there still a need for a Jewish day school? Can’t our children learn as much as they need without Talmud Torah? We can emphatically say that only a Jewish day school can provide Jewish children with enough focus on their own culture and religion for them to truly learn about the Jewish values, history, Hebrew language, religious practice, holidays, literature and the Jewish world.
  • Only at Talmud Torah will the children learn about the centrality and importance of Israel to Jewish communities around the world. Our children will gain “pen pals” in Israeli schools.
  • Through Talmud Torah, the students will meet other Jewish students in other western Canadian Jewish day schools and learn how much they have in common.
  • Only at a Jewish day school can a Jewish student feel completely secure learning about Judaic studies taught by a knowledgeable and sensitive staff.
  • Studies have shown that children who attend a Jewish day school throughout their formative years have a higher likelihood of remaining active in the Jewish community throughout their lives. Most, if not all, of the leaders of Jewish communities across North America have had formal Jewish day school educations.
  • The majority of graduates of Jewish day schools want to pass on to their own children the same traditions they were taught.
  • Jewish day school education is listed in research studies as being one of the top factors to avoid assimilation in future generations. If you wish your family to live in a Jewish manner in a growing secular world, then Jewish day school is an indispensable opportunity.
  • Previous generations raised in societies that did not allow Jewish day schools knew that if they had the opportunity to send their children to a Jewish day school, they would preserve their own culture. In Edmonton today, we have this right and privilege.