The Village School Kindergarten Curriculum
Morning meeting provides a friendly and enjoyable daily routine, giving children opportunities for song, movement, the sharing of news, ideas, and theme related objects.
Themes last a typical ten week cycle. They often reflect the changing seasons, and tie in as closely as possible with the children’s immediate experience. Examples of themes include: Gardens and Vegetables, Birds, Earth and Rocks, Olden Times, and Spring.
Story: Weekly stories are chosen to support the theme. Stories are used in a variety of ways including telling, retelling, journaling, and acting out. These stories are taken from the Brothers Grimm, other popular folktales, and picture books.
Reading: Children enter Kindergarten at different developmental stages and we support them from where they are. We gradually introduce a levelled reading program to Kindergarteners along with a comprehensive phonics program which guides them along the path of emergent reading. By the end of Kindergarten each child will be familiar with their reading level and will be taking home ‘just right’ books that will move them towards fluent reading.
Writing: In kindergarten children begin writing in journals, and in a variety of book making activities. Writing is often based around our themes. Styles include personal experiences, ‘How to…’ books, story writing, and poetry.
Handwriting: The class follows the Handwriting Without Tears program which provides multi-sensory instruction including chalk boards, play dough, ‘Etch-a-Sketch’ boards, and writing books.
Phonics and Word Study: To begin the year we follow the Orton-Gillingham program Recipe For Reading, which methodically builds children’s early reading skills. Half way through the year we use the Fountas-Pinnell program Phonics Lessons.
Reading Partners: Students are partnered with older reading partners from the upper grades for the year. This is a great way to encourage joint learning and cement friendships across the school. These visits take place on Tuesday mornings and are highly anticipated.
Quiet Reading: Children arrive in the classroom at 1:30 pm after lunch recess and find a quiet place to curl up with a book or just rest. This time also provides excellent opportunities for the teacher to engage in one-on-one reading with students.
Choice time activities take place daily. They cover a variety of subjects including reading, writing, theme, art and craft activities, and creative play. Choice time also includes opportunities for teacher-pupil one-on-one sessions.
Kindergarten follow the Investigations math curriculum. This curriculum allows the children to build math skills, learn number sense and participate in activities through practical, hands on investigations. It builds confidence and the enjoyment of math activities. A variety of teaching methods are used, including whole class, partner, and individual activities. There are math areas in the classroom with activities for the children to explore during choice time.
Science and Nature
The Kindergarten class has weekly science lessons, nature hikes, and field trips throughout the year. Katrina Walton, one of our science teachers, plans and teaches these lessons alongside Martin. The main focus for science is on exploring and observing the natural world. Areas in the classroom often provide a place to display items brought back for appreciation and study. Journals are used by the class to record sightings and experiences.
The Friday session of phys. ed. provides an opportunity for children to engage in a longer session of activity such as hiking. Where appropriate, the children participate in activities with the upper grades. Through the week there are also numerous phys. ed. opportunities such as outdoor recess and indoor activities such as stretching and balancing. Loren leads a yoga class on Friday mornings.
Children begin the year singing seasonal songs, songs about growing, and favorite well-known songs in Spanish and English. Throughout the year, movement, dances, and rhythm instruments such as drums, maracas, and rain sticks accompany many of the songs.
Spanish is taught through movement, stories, games and songs, and is based on the TPR (Total Physical Response) system. Students practice basic greetings and phrases, learn to respond to common classroom instructions, and work together to act out short stories in Spanish.
Arts and Crafts
Art takes place in the classroom daily. We have a weekly art session with our art teacher. In the once a week special class, a project is introduced through a brief song or story. Then comes the fun part… we all sit down and paint, draw or sculpt with clay or do an open ended art activity tied to the Kindergarten theme. The goal of these art projects is to have the children feel successful with new experiences and materials, to have fun, and to spark creativity in a non-verbal way. Art hour includes watercolor, clay, and collage.
In keeping with the Village school ethos, the importance of recess is emphasised as a time of great learning – physical, emotional, and social. Since most of the school day is structured, recess gives the children a blank canvas for imaginative and physical play together. Teachers are present and encourage children to find solutions together when differences arise.