The Kindergarten Curriculum
The kindergarten language arts program features a balanced approach to reading using aspects of whole language along with an established phonics program. The goal is to give students the tools they need to read. To accomplish this goal, the program relies on systematic direct instruction in phonics skills combined with modeling and practice of reading strategies so that children move from phonics to literacy. Writers workshop is also a large component of the kindergarten. Children are encouraged to express their ideas on paper through inventive spelling and drawings.
In order for math to be meaningful for children, they must experience numbers as they occur in the read world. To that end, the kindergarten students count, compare, combine and take apart numbers using a variety of manipulatives. Their work with these concrete materials helps them discover mathematical relationships and build visual images. Students learn to solve simple addition and subtraction problems, estimate, construct geometric shapes, classify, make patterns and learn to recognize and use money. Students often put their mathematical experiences to use when they learn how to play various math games.
The kindergarten social studies curriculum stresses learning about self, families, school and community. The curriculum emphasizes an awareness of self and a relationship to the larger community, an ability to work with others, and an awareness of different cultures and traditions. Students learn how to work together in a cooperative manner and what it means to be a community helper. They learn what it means to be kind to other people. Additionally, students are exposed to different cultures and they develop respect and understanding for differences.
The kindergarten study skills program emphasizes an exposure to various forms of information, awareness and observation of surroundings, and an assumption of responsibility for their own work. Concepts covered include narrative and visual/graphic forms of information. Additionally, students are encouraged to use and understand graphs, chart stories, and maps. Furthermore, homework is introduced as an important part of each day.
The Kindergarten Rule: You hurt no one on the inside or the outside.
INTEGRATED THEMES: In kindergarten we design integrated units of study around many themes. Those units often include reading, writing, math and social studies, as well as field trips and special guests. Some of the themes this year include: Creating a Classroom Community Colors and Shapes All About Me The Body/Nutrition Celebrations Around the World/Holiday Celebrations Our Community/Community Helpers The Seasons Poetry
KINDNESS: Being kind to one another is stressed in kindergarten. We are focused on teaching our students about acceptance, inclusion and to value each others differences.
RESPONSIBILITY: The Kindergartners have many responsibilities. They must complete and return homework by the due date, return red folders daily, keep their indoor and outdoor cubbies neat and orderly, perform the duties of their classroom jobs, and assist in keeping the room clean.
PLAY/FREE ACTIVITY: The children learn many social/interactive skills through play. While our mornings are spent on academic pursuits, the afternoons are left open for self-expression, free choice and creativity. Our days end with an evaluation and open sharing and on Fridays we reflect on our week using the Talking Stick/Magic Microphone.
FIELD TRIPS: We will be taking many field trips this year. They include trips to Hidden Villa (Los Altos), San Jose Discovery Museum, Police Department, Fire Department, San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Ballet and Bonfonte Gardens.
SPECIAL EVENTS: In Kindergarten, celebrating special events is almost a weekly occurrence. Many of the celebrations are spontaneous, and are sparked by the interests of the children. Some of the scheduled events we celebrate include Rainbow Week, Brown Bear Assembly, Nutrition Month, Thanksgiving Feast, Holidays Around the World, Chinese New Year Parade, 100 Day and Kindergarten Graduation.
SHARING: Each week there is an assigned topic for sharing, with an occasional free sharing week as well. Children must bring their sharing in a bag with three clues. The class then makes three guesses that must be asked in question form, using a complete sentence.
CONTRACTS: Once per month we set aside two days for the students to complete a contract. The children are required to finish ten subject area tasks in an allotted time period. The contracts help children learn time management and assist the teachers in evaluating student strengths and weaknesses.
BUDDIES: This year KD has Ms. Donar’s fourth grade class as buddies, while KW is buddies with Ms. Harman’s fourth graders. We meet every cycle to play games, complete projects and to visit. This is a worthwhile experience for both groups of children, giving the younger children a role model, and the older children some responsibility as well as a chance to be a kindergartner for an afternoon.