- Language Arts
- Outdoor Play
- Physical Education
- Social Studies
Kindergartners attend weekly lessons in the art studio for the first time. The children develop an understanding of art as a means to express their personal world, ideas, and emotions. The emphasis is on exploration and exposure to a new visual language, perceptions, materials, and the world of art and artists. Students are encouraged to see themselves as individually unique creative people.
Kindergarten uses a balanced reading and writing program involving: reading, writing, speaking, observing, illustrating, experiencing, doing, and creating. Shared reading, customized guided reading instruction, independent reading, and Orton-Gillingham method of phonics instruction make up the different components of the program. The writing program includes Writing Workshop, journal writing, the Daily News, and Handwriting Without Tears.
Reading instruction is an opportunity for teachers to support small groups of students in learning, applying, and practicing directly taught and effective reading strategies while they read from an appropriately leveled book. Guided reading allows teachers to meet the individual reading and skill needs of each student.
The phonics program, based on the Orton-Gillingham method, uses a multi-sensory approach for directly teaching individual phonetic concepts as well as instruction on high-frequency non-phonetic words. Students are then guided to apply these skills to decode and encode text. Students are taught to correctly form and write the letters that represent those sounds. Word sorts, word dictation, and sentence dictation help to reinforce the phonetic concepts that are taught.
Kindergarten students are formally exposed to the Lucy Calkins Writing Workshop curriculum. The curriculum emphasizes writing as an ongoing process in which students follow a given set of procedures for planning, drafting, editing, and publishing their writing. Collaboration with peers and conferencing with teachers is inherent, and student choice is viewed as highly important. Children are encouraged to focus their writing on topics they want to communicate to others.
The kindergarten mathematics program develops in children their emerging abilities to count, match, sort, order, compare, begin simple addition and subtraction, see patterns, and understand space and time. We use Singapore Math, which emphasizes a logical progression of mathematical concepts from the concrete through the pictorial phase, and finally, to an abstract understanding of each concept. These experiences lay the foundation for symbolic understanding, as well as help children to develop strong number sense and confidence in their mathematical abilities.
Music is an integral part of the kindergarten day and teaches teamwork, discipline, creativity, and self-esteem skills that transfer to all aspects of life. Kindergarten music is key to acquiring language as well as refining gross and fine motor skills. Through singing, moving to music, creating music, and the opportunity to participate in several performances throughout the year, children acquire musical skills and knowledge by doing.
The integration of music in all subject areas is an important part of the Orff Schulwerk method during the early childhood years and prepares the students for formal instruction with a music teacher beginning in first grade.
Students attend physical education classes in our school gymnasium. The physical education teacher guides students through gross motor activities, proper throwing mechanics, good sportsmanship, and listening and following directions. As the children become more aware of movement in space, games of gradually increasing complexity of organization are added.
Children are introduced to the love of God as revealed through their families, through Creation, through Jesus, through their senses, and through the Christian community. They develop a sense of prayer and celebration. The class begins each day with a morning prayer, and grace is said before lunch. In addition, kindergarten students begin formal instruction with a religion teacher weekly. These lessons are designed to enhance these objectives with integrated lessons involving art, literacy, movement, and music. Students also attend Mass regularly with the rest of the school.
The kindergarten science program grows out of and builds on the children's innate desire to find out about their world. Using our FOSS (Full Option Science System) Animals Two by Two unit, children naturally use their senses to explore and experiment by manipulating physical objects and organisms. Teachers guide children in the development of their powers of observation and the analytical skills needed to make sense of their observations.
In kindergarten, children learn the crucial social skills of how to relate to one another, to share and play cooperatively, and to respect individual differences. They are given many opportunities to interact with each other: to lead and to follow, to communicate respectfully, to practice making choices, and to begin to resolve their own conflicts. Our students learn to see themselves as part of a class, part of the school community, and part of the larger community in which they live. They begin to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to become good citizens, and to participate in, and contribute to, their class, their school, and their neighborhoods. Units and lessons emphasizing the above skills are custom designed and integrated throughout all areas of the curriculum on a daily basis.