DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES AND TRANSITIONS
Children in kindergarten learn best through exploration of concrete materials, like manipulatives, paint, arts and crafts, acting out stories, and field trips. Typically some children may confuse letter and number formations in that some may be reversed. They may test the limits although they like a routine in the classroom. The children benefit from structure and routine through a predictable schedule, which follows Goal V-Personal Growth. Kindergarten children are very social and are interested in playing and learning with one another.
The kindergarten curriculum involves a variety of projects based upon holidays and seasonal themes. Some examples include a field trip to the Apple Orchard, a Thanksgiving Feast with Native Americans, penguins, whales, spiders, and the lifecycle of a plant using our vegetable garden. Our Apostolic Works aligns with Goal III-Social Awareness.
Moncure-Sound Box Books
Phonics Tales- Scholastic
Fountas and Pinnell
The kindergarten language arts program consists of a well-balanced literacy program. Some of the components of this program are big books (rhyming, punctuation, capitalization, and use of expression), class books, guided reading (vocabulary, comprehension, main idea, beginning, middle and end, punctuation, oral and shared reading), phonemic awareness (word families, making and breaking words, analyzing words, word blends, vowels, letter-sound relationships, sight words), journaling (inventive spelling, sentences and stories), handwriting (lines, correct letter formation, pencil grip).
Mathland- Journeys Through Mathematics
Our kindergarten mathematics program is designed to develop our children in becoming good problem solvers as well as having good computation skills. Activities involve hands-on learning opportunities, mathematical reasoning and strategies, problem solving, and concept review. One goal is to prepare the children to be able to explain the steps they use to analyze a problem and explain how they reach the result achieved. Another goal is to develop the students’ mathematical proficiency and to help them understand the usefulness of mathematics in everyday life. Our mathematics curriculum includes experiences in Counting, Cardinality, Algebraic Thinking, Number and Operation in Base Ten, Measurement and Data, and Geometry. The students count and compare numbers, add and subtract, gain foundations for place value, estimate, measure, compare, contrast, classify, graph, pattern, and explore money and time. Kindergarten students gain knowledge and experience in whole group lessons and through center stations where students work to obtain a level of mastery. Students are engaged in developing mathematics skills through calendar activities, games, collaborative work, projects, robotics, and cross-curricular exploration using math throughout the day.
Sadlier We Believe
Apostolic Works: St. Louis Crisis Nursery
We have four themes in our religion program: God gives us many gifts, God is our creator, Jesus shows us God’s love, and Jesus wants us to share God’s love. In addition, we celebrate many of the feasts days of the Saints. Our curriculum also centers on building an active faith in God. Students grow in faith with daily prayer and their connection to the Gospel message through their weekly Promise Magazines. The students actively participate in the Apostolic Works program.
The topics in science include themes that are related to the seasons. Kindergarten children bring a natural curiosity, enthusiasm and willingness to share and please. Science incorporates different types of learning styles that enhance the children’s ability to process and apply new knowledge and make connections with previously learned concepts. We focus on life cycles of plants using our garden and apple-picking, as well as the life cycles of animals and insects. Live web cams and the nature trail enhance the student’s knowledge.
Critical language and thinking skills along with communication skills are developed through our children’s active involvement in drama, art, cooking, writing, reading, speaking and listening experiences related to the themes in Science.
Our Social Studies program is centered on themes that are related to the seasons and holidays. Kindergarten children share information about themselves and listen to stories to develop language and listening skills. Social Studies incorporates different types of learning styles that enhance the children’s abilities to process and apply new knowledge and make connections with previously learned concepts through projects, books, magazines, and personal experiences. Our Scholastic News comes in magazine form, as well as online so that they can experience interaction with a topic via the SMART board.
The kindergarten art curriculum introduces students to the elements of line, shape, form and color. Through various projects, students learn to associate art and literature. Artists studied include Mondrian, Van Gogh, Matisse and Gehry. Students explore the folk tales and art of Ghana, Africa. The techniques of collage, wax-resist, printmaking, weaving, the media of oil-pastel, modeling clay, and watercolor are added to their art making experience. Students participate in art room procedures and safety practices while learning to use centers for further learning after projects are completed.
Discovering France: Dianna J. Sullivan
Joyeux Noël: Judy Mahoney
Symtalk Systems flashcards
French class for kindergarten students is a fun and engaging time for learning French. Songs and stories reinforce and build on their vocabulary for animals, foods, numbers, and everyday objects. Students also work on identifying body parts, following simple directions, and begin using verbs in complete sentences. Games are another fun way we practice our vocabulary words. Kindergarten students also learn the sign of the cross and to recite a simple prayer in French just like St. Rose Philippine and St. Madeleine Sophie, who founded the Society of the Sacred Heart.
All students in kindergarten will begin to pitch through the Kodaly system from Do up through La. Students will demonstrate the concept of beat and imitate basic rhythm patterns. Through play parties the students dance in duple and triple meters. Instrumentally the students learn to improvise on simple melodies, and play in duple time. Performances include a Christmas program and an end of the year Kindergarten Review.
Kindergarten students learn to follow rules and directions and to play simple games while working on improving the skills they have worked on in JK3 and JK4 to develop them to a proficient level. Some examples of this include hopping, skipping, and more complex loco-motor skills such as the hop-jump maneuver and the crisscross maneuver. The students also work on kicking, throwing, using manipulatives, throwing at targets, loco-motor and dance. Kindergarten students work on their teamwork in a fun parachute unit and in many other lead-up games to some of the sports they will be learning to play in first grade. We also begin to develop a deeper sense of sportsmanship and why it is important to play by the rules. Dance and rhythmic structure are also taught. Manipulatives such as scarves, bean bags, and tambourines are incorporated. Stunts, tumbling and balance beam activities are perfected.
A variety of strategies are used in kindergarten to reach a variety of learners. We use whole group instruction to introduce a skill or lesson. Small group instruction is used to work on a specific skill that needs to be developed or reinforced for some children. We also use one-on-one instruction for individual student needs. During Center time in the morning, we may use literacy games and projects to expand upon a book or theme. During Math Centers, we use games to establish specific skills.
Many informal assessments are used in kindergarten, including classroom participation, checklists, and running records. Formal assessments incorporate worksheets pertaining to the theme, literacy activity, or math concept as well as a child’s daily writing journal. We will discuss student progress during Parent-Teacher Conferences in October and March. Student grade reports reflect the following assessment levels: AS- Area of Strength, ME- Meets Expectations, and DV- Developing.
Kindergarten students are exposed to technology in a variety of ways including the use of robotics in the tech center. Classrooms are equipped with SMART boards to engage students in reading, writing, and math skills. Skills and concepts learned in the classroom are reinforced with iPads. We also write, illustrate, and tell stories using Photo Story 3 making student words come to life.
The children will begin to bring home a Daily Reading Log with a book that provides reading enjoyment and practice at their individual reading level. We will also send home an optional homework packet that contains activity pages to reinforce what we have been learning in the classroom. Parents are encouraged to read with their children each night, whether it be read to their children or have their children read to them.
Kindergarten children are quick to become familiar with the morning arrival routine that includes a morning recess and lining up on the steps before coming in and starting their day. Each day begins with Calendar Activities and Daily Centers. The children will learn our daily schedule as it pertains to Specialty Classes, as well as going to the Villa Building for lunch and weekly Mass. Our behavior management routine of the use of frog sticks has been very successful. The students start out with three sticks each day. If they have all of their sticks at the end of the day, they get a sticker. When they have five stickers, they get to obtain a prize from the Treasure Box. A student loses a stick by repeatedly not following classroom rules after several reminders, but the student can always earn their stick back throughout the day.
As teachers, our main communication with the parents is through email and our blogs located on the Villa Duchesne and Oak Hill website. Parents are invited to contact their child’s teacher regarding their child’s school experiences, questions, or concerns either by e-mail or a phone call. Likewise, you will be contacted if a need or concern arises to work together toward the betterment of your child. The Nuts and Bolts newsletter that is sent home through email provides information to keep current with school activities.