Kindergarten is a special year of growth and development! Students learn beginning literacy skills, become inquisitive mathematicians, curious scientists, and caring friends. The Kindergarten classroom acknowledges differences in developmental levels and appreciates varying degrees of readiness, yet is designed specifically to guide students toward academic excellence.
Reading Workshop begins in Kindergarten and is key to fostering a lifelong love of reading! During Reading Workshop, children gather for a reading minilesson, listen to read alouds, participate in shared reading, learn the habits of strong readers, and learn about phonics patterns. Throughout the year, reading units of study focus on a developing reading identity, reading “super powers,” reading bigger books with bigger reading “muscles,” becoming an avid read, and character studies. Children grow as readers through small group work, partner reading, acting out stories, and sharing stories with their parents at home. Vocabulary is taught and studied within the context of read alouds and other shared literature. Teachers routinely confer with students and, together, goals for ongoing reading growth are set. Kindergarteners are excited to begin reading!
During Writing Workshop, Kindergarteners begin to see themselves as writers with many ideas to share. They learn how to start stories, often first through a picture, and keep them going with words. Kindergarten writers begin to develop an understanding of the writing process and gain an appreciation for writing with purpose. Writing units of study include learning the routines of a Writing Workshop, writing for an audience, pattern books, how-to books, all about books, and narratives. Writing Workshop begins with teacher-led minilessons, in which students learn skills and traits that support strong writing and participate in shared writing. Students spend their writing time planning, practicing skills, conferring with the teacher or peers, revising, editing, and publishing. Throughout the year, students share published pieces in various meaningful celebrations. Spelling is taught within the context of writing and through differentiated word studies.
Kindergarten mathematicians explore numeration, mathematical operations, place value, measurement, and geometry. Students are encouraged to take risks, learn from mistakes, ask questions, connect ideas, and solve math problems with reason, based on everyday situations. A few key Kindergarten math skills include knowing number names, counting in sequence, counting objects, comparing numbers, understanding addition as putting together and subtraction as taking apart, and developing a sense of place value. Math manipulatives and math games play an important role in Kindergarten, as students begin to grow their understanding from concrete to abstract.
Social studies is an integral part of reading and writing in the Kindergarten classroom. Literature is used to teach the children about school rules and routines, the characteristics of being a good friend and a hardworking student, holidays, families, communities, how to care for the environment, and basic health and safety guidelines. Geography and map skills are woven into many units of study.
Students explore the strands of science (life, earth/space and physical) through three science units of study: the needs of plants and animals, light and sound, and sunlight and weather. Throughout each unit, students take on the role of a scientist, who is tasked to solve a problem - such as why there are no monarch caterpillars in a community garden, how to use light and sound to design shadow scenery and sound effects for a puppet theater, and why one side of a school playground is warmer than the other. Students create models, carry out investigations, analyze data, travel to a local farm, and enjoy a shadow puppet show. Kindergarten science is lively and filled with hands-on learning experiences!