Our Kindergarten Program is a comprehensive full-day program aimed at the development of the whole child. We think that kindergarten should be a joyous time of playful learning. Within an atmosphere of active involvement with teachers and other children, our aim is to develop and increase:
- Cognitive competence through creativity and problem solving:
- Language facility including literacy development and effective communication skills
- Mathematical awareness, concepts, and skills
- Understanding of nature and science
- Familiarity with their own and other cultures, social skills and relationships
- Emotional competence including understanding our own feelings as well as those of others, manners and conflict resolution.
- Self-expression in and appreciation of art and music experiences.
- Large and small muscle skills
We have always believed in an eclectic approach in teaching reading that includes phonics as well as whole word instruction and techniques that ensure comprehension. The newest “buzz” word in our field is Balanced Literacy, which is essentially the same approach.
We added some new “readers” to our program a few years ago that are leveled according to a new national standard. More recently we’ve added additional “high interest” books that have a science and nature focus. These books develop a sense of the child as a reader from the very beginning instead of waiting for readiness to occur. It gives them an enjoyable, successful experience in reading for meaning and develops the abilities for independent reading.
As always children will be instructed in small guided reading groups of 4-6. These are composed of children at approximately the same reading level. Phonics and word attack skills are taught in the context of the book being used. In these groups Teachers may choose to use leveled readers, high-frequency word readers, a literature based reading series and/or a basal series with a controlled vocabulary. The groups will change over time as children progress.
In addition to leveled instruction, we will be:
- Reading aloud in larger groups to help children experience and contemplate literary work that they cannot yet read
- Participating in shared reading groups (9-11 children) with larger textbooks and poems that everyone can see. The Teacher may use a pointer and teach strategies that facilitate the learning of critical concepts of how print works, phonics etc.
- Calling attention to letters, letter sounds and words with learning centers, a word wall, practice sheets, software, etc.
- Providing time for independent reading.
- Working with poetry and rhymes.
Using the Kid Writing program, we’ll compose words, lists, sentences and stories together. In the beginning the Teacher acts as a scribe as the children dictate, later, they begin writing on their own. When we read back what the children have said, we facilitate the learning of sight words, as well as focus on the major skill areas of sentence writing such as punctuation at the end of the sentence, a capital at the beginning of the sentence as well as in proper nouns, etc.
We’ll encourage children to write their own labels, lists, speech balloons etc. Children will draw pictures and begin to label them with words then sentences. This will lead to story writing as they progress developmentally.
We’ll practice letter formation using the Handwriting Without Tears program materials.
Our goal is to help the children begin to develop concepts concerning their responsibility to and interactions with others, the heritage of the past, the environment, geography, current events, etc. See our thematic units for specific topics by months.
We learn about:
- Living together and relating to others in the group – sharing, cooperating, not hurting, talking to solve problems, and making decisions.
- How we are all alike and how we are different. By celebrating all of our holidays, we come to understand the ways we celebrate in similar ways and those that are different,
- The geography of the classroom, the neighborhood, beginning map skills, etc.
- Our families and personal history. Through photographs and discussions with family members, children begin to develop a sense of the past.
- People and celebrations of the past – Thanksgiving, Columbus Day, famous women, famous blacks, etc.
- Taking care of our world. Cleaning up our messes in the classroom and out is a valuable lesson in the maintenance of our planet.
- Current events. Circle time gives us the opportunity to discuss world problems in a developmentally appropriate way, and to think about solutions.
We’ll focus on everyday things and participate in a series of motivating, problem-solving investigations that encourage the children to use all of their senses. Children are guided to explore, observe, discover relationships and record, and communicate their observations about the world around them. We’ll write stories and poems, make graphs and tables, and draw our experiences.
New mandates in mathematics education begin with the premise that children can, and must, learn more mathematics than has been demanded of them in the past. In 2002 we began using the Everyday Mathematics program, developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project. It coincides with standards set by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics as well as Pennsylvania State Standards.
Some key features of the program include:
- Mathematics means more when it is rooted in real-life problems and situations. Children’s mathematical knowledge should grow from their experiences. Teachers thus help children to make connections between their own knowledge and experience, both in and out of school. Math is taught in a meaningful context that relies heavily on children’s experiences as well as problem solving with manipulative materials.
- Children can learn more than is usually expected because they know more than they are given credit for knowing. Experience gives children a rich store from which they can develop mathematical insight, reasoning and creativity.
- Technology including calculators and software programs are used to expand and enrich other experiences.
- Cooperative relationships with parents and family members help children find math in everyday situations in their world outside of school.
- As children are ready, there is much attention to computational and arithmetic skills.
- Problem solving is taught using materials and situations familiar to and of interest to children.
Below, please find a listing of skill goals for First Grade and Kindergarten. Each grade level consists of strands that include numeration, operations, patterns and functions, geometry, measurement and reference frames such as money, clocks, calendars, data and chance. Children will be exposed to concepts, but will achieve the skills according to their own level of maturational readiness. Many children will move into or finish the First Grade Ending Skill Level.
Mathematics Skill Goals
Kindergarten Level – Ending Skills
- Count forward to 115
- Count back from 20 to 1
- Skip count by 2’s to 20, 5’s to 50, and 10’s to 100
- Understand concept of zero
- Understand each teen number as 10 plus a digit
- Count with a calculator
- Count tally marks
- Count on, varying the starting point
- Estimate count
- Write the numbers from 0 to 20
- Read 3 digit numbers
- Find simple sums
- Recognize and understand 1/2, 1/4
- Estimate time on analog clocks using the hour hand
- Read and record amounts of pennies using the cent sign
- Know the value of a penny, nickel and dime
- Recognize a quarter
- Enjoy playing “What’s my rule” games
- Participate in telling change to more (Addition) number stories
- Participate in telling change to less (Subtraction) number stories
- Recognize triangle, square, rectangle, circle
- Recognize simple examples of symmetry
- Generate, continue and copy patterns
- Make and continue 3 part patterns
- Explore length, volume, weight, etc. using a variety of measuring tools
- Participate in graphing data and making a Venn diagram
- Participate with teacher in recording data
- Use dice for addition, discuss probability
First Grade Level – Ending Skills
- Identify numbers as odd or even
- Compare fractions Find equivalent fractions
- Tell time to nearest 5 minutes
- Understand and be able to write time in digital notation
- Estimate elapsed time
- Calculate value of various combinations of pennies nickels and dimes
- Exchange pennies for nickels and dimes
- Calculate amount of change from purchases less than $1.00
- Know addition facts
- Add and subtract two digit numbers
- Understand place value through hundreds
- Add and subtract on calculator
- Identify 3 dimensional shapes and polygons and know characteristics
- Identify and use patterns on the number grid
- Use standard units for measuring length
- Measure objects to nearest centimeter
- Read temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit
- Use weather map info. – find temperature differences
- Make a line plot of a set of data
- Find the mode and median in a set of data