In Kindergarten, children are developing the foundation of their social/emotional life. That is why we make it a point to teach student to their individual strengths, with specially curated curriculum that helps build a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning, discovery and joy.
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Literacy instruction encompasses reading, writing, listening, and speaking. At the simplest level, reading is getting meaning from print and pictures while writing is conveying meaning with print and pictures. Children acquire language skills differently and at varying rates. Children will read, write, listen, and speak/communicate by being immersed in these activities daily through a Reading and Writing Workshop model. They will read “real” books, poetry, and magazines, engage in authentic writing, and learn to converse in meaningful ways. Your child will solidify alphabet knowledge and letter formation through the Fundations Language program and necessary skills (such as phonics, phonemic awareness, print concepts, and high frequency words) are taught in context within a balanced approach.
The foundation of this practice is:
- Reading to children, Reading with children, and Reading by children
- Writing to children, Writing with children, and Writing by children
Within this context is a balance of whole group, small group, and individualized instruction as well as a mixture of direct teaching, reinforcement, and independent practice. Experiences include children’s literature studies and discussions, reading buddies, shared reading/writing, guided reading/writing, and skills based literacy centers.
Math concepts and lessons are integrated throughout daily activities such as calendar and circle times as well as during specific math times. We use “Earlybird Kindergarten Mathematics” based on principles of the Singapore Math approach to help Kindergarten students build a strong foundation using hands-on lessons and activities. The children encounter math in meaningful ways through concrete activities before progressing to pictorial and then abstract representations.
The program encourages mastery of the material on a deeper level through its reliance on solid number sense, conceptual understanding, and problem solving. Furthermore, the program emphasizes metacognition and encourages children to think about why the math works and to explore multiple strategies.
The children learn to think more mathematically and improve their organizational, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. Units of exploration include the following: Number Sense, patterns, problem solving, sorting and classifying, graphing, beginning addition/ subtraction, place value, geometry, and measurement
The prevailing theme in our Kindergarten program is Growing and Changing. Throughout the year, Kindergarteners observe and discuss the growth and changes that occur around them, in nature, in their school environment, and in themselves. Units include the following: Seasons, Weather, Recycling and Trees, Me and My Family, Diversity, Manners, Health and Nutrition, Five Senses, Shelter/Building, Living Things and Life Cycles.
STEAM is the integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math which provides a framework for planning and implementing daily lessons. STEAM activities emerge from collaborative planning and take place in cocurricular classes, during our weekly designated STEAM/Science lab time as well as within the classroom on a daily basis. These lessons promote creative thinking, problem solving, collaborating, making connections, and inspiring innovation. STEAM is a vital thread in our curriculum.
In addition to weekly classes with the art teacher, Kindergarteners engage in art experiences daily within the classroom. In the early years when children may not be able to adequately express themselves through written or verbal means, art enables them to creatively express their individuality, feelings, and ideas. Art experiences provide an engaging, nonjudgmental scaffold within which the classroom teacher can effectively incorporate literacy, science, math, and social studies as well as physical, social/emotional, and creative goals.
In Primary School, Spanish is an extension and an expansion of the fundamental concepts started in early childhood education. Children will expand upon their basic knowledge of the Spanish language, reviewing such topics as basic greetings, weather, colors and numbers. Students will additionally learn forms of transportation, body parts, clothing and parts of the house. Spanish is incorporated in an interactive way, through song, dance, art and games, incorporating Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) and Responsive Classroom. As with other grades, particular emphasis will be on the repetition of vocabulary and commands.
Affective Education at The Country School includes social and emotional development, outdoor education, and the Elmore initiative.
Social/Emotional development: We use components of the The Responsive Classroom approach that foster strong learning environments through an emphasis on social and emotional development. The following Kindergarten classroom practices are examples of how Responsive Classroom principles help to create an atmosphere of respect for each other and for learning:
- Morning Meeting - gathering as a whole class each morning to greet one another, share news, and warm up for the day ahead.
- Rule Creation - helping students create meaningful and appropriate classroom rules
- Interactive Modeling - teaching children to notice and internalize expected behavior through modeling
- Positive Teacher Language - using words and tone to promote children’s active learning and self-discipline
- Logical Consequences - responding to misbehavior in a way that respects children, guides them to recognize the effects of their actions, and helps them develop internal controls
- Guided Discovery - introducing materials using a format that encourages creativity and responsibility
- Academic Choice - increasing student motivation and learning by providing students with teacher-structured choices in their work
- Classroom Organization - setting up the physical room in ways that encourage independence, cooperation, and productivity
- Collaborative Problem Solving - using conferencing, role-playing, and other strategies to resolve problems with students