Welcome to Kindergarten
Our kindergarten studies include social skills, literacy development, handwriting, mathematics, and thematic studies. Library skills, music, and physical education are taught by specialists outside the classroom. Children receive lessons in class from the guidance counselor and participate in a weekly math-technology lab.
The social curriculum is addressed using the philosophy and strategies of The Responsive Classroom. We work to create a caring community of learners through the development and strengthening of social skills. A Responsive Classroom is built around six central components that integrate teaching, learning, and caring in the daily program. The components are set in commonly shared values such as honesty, fairness, and respect.
Literacy development, or reading readiness, is addressed throughout all aspects of the curriculum. The children are assessed as to their level of phonemic awareness, or their knowledge of how language works. We do many activities including finger plays, rhymes, songs, chants, stories, and daily reading of our news and announcements chart, to improve this ability as we move on to phonics, or associating sounds to written symbols. Open Court is the formal literacy curriculum we follow. Journal writing is done weekly and may begin with simple dictation. Gradually, children begin using invented spelling. Children are encouraged to write and illustrate on a given topic, to use their knowledge of the alphabetic principle, to expand word usage, add descriptors, and to lengthen the number of sentences.
Books and reading are an integral part of our learning. We provide several opportunities for children to become involved with books both in the classroom and at home. We have a daily story, and books are often used for specific skill instruction and during theme studies. Additionally, informal small group reading occurs during transitions between activities. Students visit the library weekly and are also able to borrow books from the classroom. Book bag stories, which include a journal and character, go home on Fridays. Books may also be purchased through book clubs.
The handwriting program we use is D’Nealian. Our primary focus during the first half of the year is on upper case letters in various mediums. The latter part of the year is devoted to lower case paper and pencil practice.
Our math program is My Math which will address the Common Core Standards. There is an emphasis on Counting and Cardinality, Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Measurement and Data, and Geometry. Our math work involves a lot of language, manipulatives, and recording our work.
Thematic studies tend to follow the seasons. They also reflect the children’s interests. Units include, but are not limited to: apples, pumpkins, Native Americans, celebrations, penguins, fairy tales, homes, rain forest, eggs, planting, butterflies, and the farm. Each unit involves cross-curricular activities. The amount of time spent on a given topic is dependent upon the schedule and student interest.
Play is the natural vehicle through which children learn. We maintain a play-based approach to learning. During choice time, the children will be able to explore the various centers in the classroom.
Field trips are also an integral part of the program. Trips may include an orchard, a farm, the fire station, sugaring, theater productions, and a greenhouse. These trips may launch a unit of study, may be a culminating experience during a unit, or may be taken because it is fun! Families with special interests or opportunities to offer have also added to our field trip experiences.
Homework is usually simply for parents to discuss with their children what children are willing to share about their days in school. Book bag stories are sent home over the weekend and are meant to be a fun family activity. Classroom books are sent home once a week and should be read the night they come home. Library books may be read and reread for a whole week! Occasionally, especially as the year progresses, handwriting sheets may be sent home for additional reinforcement. You are your child’s first teacher. Reading is the single most important activity to ensure future success in school and beyond. Reading to your child every day is expected.