Pre-Kindergarten 4 and Kindergarten Programs

The Pre-Kindergarten Four’s Program

This is a five-day program designed for a child who is a year away from entering kindergarten. Play, movement, hands-on experiences and literature remain at the heart of the program as emerging academic skills in mathematics and literacy begin to assume a greater proportion of the day.

The program is deeply rooted in developmentally appropriate practices even as students are continually challenged to stretch and grow. Core Knowledge units in social studies, science, and literature provide the basis of our units of study throughout the school year. Themes are developed across the curriculum so that children can explore them from multiple perspectives. Children have the opportunity to discover their unique strengths and challenges while appreciating and learning from those of others.

Jolly Phonics is the literacy program used to teach phonics. It is a multi-sensory method that is fun, motivating, and easily captivates young learners. Introduced in the three-year-old program, sounds become reinforced and blended in Pre-Kindergarten 4 as children become increasingly confident of the sound-symbol associations. A sound is introduced and practiced each week throughout the school year.

Mathematics is taught through the Building Blocks program. This curricular resource is designed particularly for early childhood students.  It is hands-on and moves students from concrete to more abstract concepts.  This provides a strong foundation for the use of Primary Mathematics in kindergarten.  

The program also incorporates Spanish, Art, Music and Movement, Motor and Movement, Intro. to Research Lab, Character Education, iPad Technology, Quiet Alone Time, Field Trips, and Book Buddies.


The Kindergarten Program

While kindergarten is appropriately placed in our Early Childhood program, it is the beginning of a carefully paced transition to the Lower School grade level classes. Play remains the fundamental way that students process and assimilate their learning. Subjects are taught through thematic units as they are in the rest of Early Childhood.  Core subjects are introduced through a multi-sensory, discovery approach using the Core Knowledge Curriculum as a resource for language arts, social studies and science units. 

As children draw closer to the age of six, they are more able to understand themselves and others as historical beings. Therefore in these subject areas kindergarten is the right time to introduce historical groups and individuals such as explorers, inventors, indigenous peoples and other important figures in history. It is also the appropriate time to develop a deepening sense of geography that moves beyond ones’ local environment to the wider world.

Jolly Phonics continues in kindergarten as the program we use to develop early reading skills.  All 42 sounds are introduced along with 75 Tricky Words (a.k.a Sight Words).  Blending sounds into words is regularly practiced.  While not all kindergarten students are independent readers by the end of the year, the basic skills of early reading are encouraged and supported. Beginning writing is an important way that phonetic skills are strengthened and complemented.  The Lucy Calkins writing program is introduced in kindergarten and continues through the Lower School grades.  Students write regularly using phonetic spelling as they become increasingly confident in their phonetic skills.

In kindergarten students move from the pre-kindergarten Building Blocks math program to the Primary Mathematics (a Singapore math program) used in the Lower School classes.  Skills are taught using hands-on materials and solidified through the use of pictorial and abstract approaches.  Students develop strong independence and thinking skills through this method.  This program is developmentally appropriate for young children even as it begins to introduce more abstract concepts.

It is a year of incredible growth and discovery for children. As students’ skills expand over the course of the year, our program is further enhanced by a drama unit in which all children help with props, set creation and engage in a variety of dramatic roles. Kindergarteners also participate in a literacy unit in which they hear a classic children’s chapter book and then engage in activities in class designed to complement and enrich the story experience. It is a year when the sky is the limit, when students begin to be aware of the incredible possibilities that are opening to them.

The program also incorporates Spanish, Art, Music and Movement, Motor and Movement, Intro. to Research Lab, Character Education, iPad Technology, Quiet Alone Time, Field Trips, and Book Buddies.

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