Kindergarten

Ourselves, Our Community, Our World

Core Curriculum

The Kindergarten curriculum goes hand in hand with children’s natural curiosity and interest to learn. Social growth and cognitive skills are encouraged in creative, playful ways that surround the process of learning with enjoyment.

Our year long core study of Ourselves, Our Community and Our World prepares Kindergarteners to embrace their individual strengths and understand how as individuals they contribute to our classroom community, our school community, and our larger global community.  The progression from learning and sharing about themselves, to understanding and embracing their contributions to our classroom community and then to the broader world provides a way for young children to make sense of their experiences, understanding their uniqueness but also the things that unite us as people. This expanding world view serves as a catalyst for a broad range of learning experiences. Topics that help develop an understanding of ourselves and our immediate environment are explored in great depth and help promote further exploration and discovery. 

Literacy

Through an immersive phonics, handwriting, writing and reading program, students In Kindergarten develop foundational skills that will support them throughout their school experiences. Utilizing a systematic approach to develop phonemic awareness, reading and writing skills, the children integrate and meaningfully practice literacy concepts, skills and strategies. In addition, children are immersed in a variety of guided literacy experiences that serve to foster listening skills and to develop strong expressive language. Through daily exposure to rich class discussions, fiction and non-fiction books and group discussions, as each child is encouraged to express their ideas, thoughts and opinions, to ask and answer questions or to reflect on activities.

Math

Math is woven into the fabric of the entire Kindergarten curriculum as well as taught explicitly through the Bridges Math Curriculum for Kindergarten. The combination of organic, daily math learning experiences and Bridges allows the children to develop a broad understanding of mathematical concepts and exposure to a variety of ways to think and talk about math ideas. Carefully designed math experiences allow students to have hands on practice with sorting, counting, one-to-one correspondence, making comparisons, estimating, patterning, measuring, and deriving logical conclusions. In addition to these hands on experiences, Kindergarteners gain experience and practice documenting their math knowledge, accurately recording mathematical concepts and moving toward more abstract representation of math ideas.

Science

In Kindergarten we continue to build on our observation skills. In addition to discussions, the students also make drawings of their observations. The themes of seeds, fruits and vegetables, flowers, shapes in nature, simple machines, and penguins and polar bears are done with more attention to details, such as the parts of a flower and adaptations of penguins to their environment.

French

French class follows as closely as possible the process by which children acquire their first language. The children are immersed in a language-rich environment made comprehensible through the use of body language, visual aids and abundant repetition in a variety of contexts. The teacher uses mainly story-based activities to bring the language to life. Through careful scaffolding of new and recycled words the children acquire a foundation of basic vocabulary, and simple useful phrases. To engage the students and make the learning memorable, the instruction is based on the children’s immediate environment and fantasy world. The class relies on basic vocabulary and simple language structures which the children become familiar with over time. A typical lesson may include puppets, movement, imaginative play, games, music, drawing, and storytelling.

Library

Kindergarteners continue to look closely at a book’s illustrations to enhance their understanding of a story and their empathy for the characters in the story. They dive more deeply into non-fiction, beginning to identify some of the text features that are unique to informational books. They begin to engage in genre studies, looking for patterns and commonalities in genres such as poetry, tales, and adventures.  Their understanding of the library’s organizational system continues to develop as they are guided in how to use a book’s spine label as a source of information about genre and content.

Performing Arts

Music: Our music goals in Kindergarten are: to inspire appropriate and imaginative responses to music using the voice and the body, and to lay groundwork for music literacy through guided critical listening. Materials include American folk songs and games, Far Brook songs, songs and games from around the world in their original foreign language, and formal repertoire of the classical canon, with a focus on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Children learn to access their head voices and to aurally recognize basic elements of music, such as beat and rhythm, high and low, marching and swaying, forte and piano (loud and soft), smooth sounds and bouncy sounds (legato and staccato), walking notes and running notes (quarter and eighth notes), or tutti and solo.

Dance: Dance at the Kindergarten level builds upon the experience gained during the Nursery year, working with a developed movement vocabulary and building towards performance work. During the fall semester, dance classes reinforce classroom learning about insects — butterflies, ants, grasshoppers — to develop performance work for sharing. The students understand how to create dance with the movement qualities of each insect and collaborate with each other and the dance teaching artists to create dances. In the spring, students share dances connected to themes they explore later in the year.

Fine Arts

Art: Kindergarten students build on their skill development and expand their options with tools and materials. Their understanding of the formal aspects of art are the basis for visual expression. Learning about shapes in their classroom provides an excellent opportunity to support the creation of a painting which includes two versions of one original shape that is combined together. This project is influenced by the work of artist Frank Stella who introduced the concept of an irregular edge on the painting perimeter and included sculptural elements which extended beyond the perimeter of his flat surface paintings. A paper sculpture of penguin families highlights their study of penguin species and introduces another opportunity to experiment with a three dimensional format. Direct observations of natural phenomenon continues to be an important method of understanding the visual world.

Woodshop: The Kindergarten curriculum continues to build upon the skills introduced in the Nursery. With a few more advanced projects completed in the beginning of the year, the students gain experience and strength with the woodshop tools before exploring their creativity by free building sculptures.

Social and Emotional

Daily interaction among the Kindergarten students provides ongoing awareness and conversations centered on a wide range of social and emotional topics.  Exploration of these routine experiences through small and large group discussions and related literature further enhances students’ recognition and appreciation for individuality and diversity.  The topic of each child’s uniqueness and differing style and approach to life is explored and celebrated throughout the school year.

Sports

In Sports, cooperative games are played daily and students learn to interact with each other and understand their role in the group. Locomotor and visual motor skills are improved through games, drills, and free play with other students.  Students learn the importance of being physically active each day. Every month the students are introduced to a Sports Changemaker — an athlete who has made a difference in the world through improving social conditions and fighting for justice and fairness.

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