Kindergarten students learn in a workshop approach where they begin to see themselves as readers and writers while practicing skills at their own level. Reading workshop includes guided and shared reading experiences, songs and poems, and other vocabulary building activities. Students also work independently and collaboratively to develop decoding, fluency, and comprehension strategies. Word study occurs through whole class and small group instruction, games, and activities guided by the Words Their Way curriculum. Young, emerging writers hone their skills during writing workshop, which encourages students to enjoy writing and making books. Handwriting, using Handwriting Without Tears, is taught through fine motor activities and games designed to build stamina and teach correct letter formation and hand position when writing.
In kindergarten, students experience math as part of their everyday work and play through activities, games, routines and focused instruction. Our curriculum builds a strong mathematical foundation while instilling an attitude that math is exciting. Students continue to develop skills in counting, estimating, comparing, addition, and subtraction, as well as analyzing data when measuring, graphing, and sorting. Topics are presented and revisited frequently to encourage retention and mastery of the skills that provide the foundation to our Everyday Mathematics curriculum.
In kindergarten, we nurture the beginning of a lifelong love of science and exploration. Kindergarten starts the year with a project-based unit on bats. Through investigation, experimentation, and discovery, students develop a deeper familiarity and greater sense of wonder for the natural world. The annual wildflower stomp is an exciting time for kindergarten students, too, as they anxiously wait to see their flowers grow. Deep units on natural materials and motion from the FOSS Next Generation science curriculum encourage an emergent understanding of our interdependence with nature and spark students' ability to think critically and to reason scientifically. These units also offer students opportunities to develop skills as writers and illustrators through the introduction of student-driven science journals. Kindergarten students end the year learning about the season of Spring and helping with the St. John's donation garden.
The kindergarten social studies program begins with identifying ways to be kind. Discussion and activities about how to care, share, and be aware help build students' relationships with their friends, family, and community. Social studies continues with a study of Christmas in Mexico, an integrated Spanish unit in which students read complementary literature, create crafts, and participate in cooking demonstrations. This is followed by a study of historical figures who have been champions of fairness by initiating meaningful, long-lasting change to help protect and improve the lives of others. Discussions about the differences between fairness and equality are particularly enlightening throughout this complex, yet compelling, unit. Our interdisciplinary social studies curriculum often includes art, cooking, dramatic play, and field trips.
Kindergarten Spanish leverages students’ interest and confidence through repetitive practice speaking and listening to Spanish. Basic communication in Spanish is an ongoing part of classroom activities. Students repeat the 10 initial vocabulary sets introduced in pre-k, with an emphasis on responding in complete sentences. By answering warm-up questions, listening to stories, playing games, singing songs, responding to listening activities, and performing skits, students interact with the teacher and each other using the target language to communicate. Students continue to be introduced to holidays and traditions from Spanish-speaking countries, and they dive deeply into Christmas traditions, legends, and food through project-based learning.