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.
As students’ skills expand over 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.