Kindergarten employs the Balanced Literacy approach to reading instruction in order for all students to be able to read orally and silently, enjoy a variety of literature (biographies, fiction, nonfiction, topical and reference books), and develop their thinking and comprehension skills. In Reader’s Workshop, students learn how to decode, comprehend, infer, and predict within a differentiated curriculum through buddy reading, listening to reading, and guided reading. Each child reads a small set of books at his or her independent reading level. The Reader’s Workshop model affords each child the benefit of having a reader’s skill taught to the whole class, with the opportunity to try that skill with a partner. The children also read independently while teachers confer with individual students to assess unique skills and points for growth. Students learn strategies for decoding, and develop a collection of “sight words.”
Students are provided with an assortment of writing experiences in Writer’s Workshop. They are exposed to different kinds of writing, like pattern books, friendly letters, reading response journals, and nonfiction and fiction books. Regular writing conferences assess progress with writing skills, from brainstorming to drafting to writing mechanics. Students create a series of works in various genres. Students produce numerous fiction and nonfiction books complete with title pages, tables of contents, diagrams, illustrations, dedications, “about the author” sections, instructions, and other features. Students practice handwriting skills for proper letter formation, using appropriate pencil grip. The primary objective of the reading and writing program is to help children become avid readers and develop critical reading, writing, and research skills.
In Kindergarten students build a strong foundation in number relationships and develop their mathematical vocabulary. Students learn through actively doing, using manipulative materials to respond to direct instruction as well as enjoy open-ended exploration. Students practice strategies to help them master addition and subtraction facts up to 10. They learn to tell time to the hour and half hour, read a calendar, and count money. The students also practice finding and creating patterns, classifying, tallying, reading a graph, understanding odd and even numbers, estimating and measuring. Students learn to define three-dimensional shapes, distinguish lines of symmetry, and identify basic fractions. They also begin geometry and learn about place value. Students are instructed in a variety of ways, including whole class, small group, and individual settings. Children practice the concepts in the classroom through direct instruction, math stations, games, oral activities, drawing and diagramming, and physical movement. Throughout the curriculum there are opportunities for problem solving.
The Science program promotes intellectual curiosity by involving students in hands-on, experiential learning. The program centers on the implementation of the scientific method. Students study the basic concepts of life, earth, and physical sciences through classroom activities and field trips, in order to discover, observe, predict, and formulate hypotheses. Students learn to record and analyze data, to collaborate in teams, and to discuss scientific phenomena using technical vocabulary. In life science, students study the five senses, living and non-living things, animal groups, our bodies’ health, plants, and habitats. They also learn about the interdependency of all living things and people’s responsibility to the planet. Earth science focuses on the study of weather, the water cycle, and the seasons. In the unit on matter and energy, the children learn about physical science by observing the properties of solids, liquids, and gases. Science topics are taught by assessing prior knowledge, and by forming hypotheses, investigating, experimenting, and drawing conclusions. Students also introduced to basic coding. The overall goal for students is to develop intrinsic interest in the universe around them, to develop analytical skills, to expand scientific thinking and to strengthen their framework of scientific knowledge.
The Kindergarten Social Studies program centers on the social institutions most familiar to our youngest students: self, family, school, and neighborhood. The program encompasses three tiers: social responsibility, world geography, and cultural and historical awareness. Students participate in class discussions, individual and group projects, and hands-on activities. In Kindergarten, students go on a journey of self and community discovery and responsibility in which each classroom serves as the microcosm of the world at large. Students are encouraged to respect and celebrate each other’s similarities and differences. As students progress, they begin to grasp larger concepts of rights and responsibilities of people in the contemporary world. Students explore and practice making choices and decisions with respect for individuality, and take personal responsibility for our actions. Students learn to interpret the world around them and to understand the relationships most central in their lives. Students consider what it means to be a member of a community. Their relationships with classmates and teachers provide opportunities for social-emotional learning in a safe environment. Children learn how to negotiate conflicts with others who have different needs, ideas, or preferences. Students learn to problem solve and to generate creative solutions. Geography is introduced by identifying different landmasses and oceans. Students progress into studies of map components, including north, south, east and west.