In our kindergarten program the children learn through exploration and discovery of the world around them. By the time they arrive at our door, most students have spent two or more years in a preschool program. They are now ready to begin a more formal approach to the basic subjects and are poised to begin a period of incredible cognitive, social and emotional growth. Our curriculum is based on the standards established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The language arts program is a comprehension literacy plan. Teachers model for students, guide their practice, and provide time for independent practice, too.
The first organized reading activities consist of shared reading experiences in which the children will enjoy stories read aloud to them that are rich in language. Daily the teacher models reading and engages the students using a book with large text. Children will enjoy easy books with simple vocabulary in small groups guided by the teacher. Children will recognize words, echo repetitive patterns, and use picture cues to retell a favorite story. Children will take home “just right” books to share with their families. Time and patience are the keys to future reading success.These activities help students develop a variety of strategies and skills that allow them to become independent, confident readers by being able to construct, critically examine, and apply meaning. They provide direct, systematic instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics so that students can develop a repertoire of effective word-recognition strategies. Teachers also offer direct instruction in guided reading groups to help students learn essential comprehension and decoding skills and strategies.
Writing:We use “Kid Writing” in our classrooms. Our program develops the skills of the emergent writer. The children write in their journals every day and the teacher and students follow these same basic steps: First, a child draws a picture and tells a story about it to the teacher. Second, the child writes the story, receiving help to sound out words. Third, the adult praises the child’s accurate spelling and underwrites the rest of the child’s story in conventional spelling. Finally, the teacher teaches many mini-lessons to the class based on areas of need that appeared in the students’ writing. The teacher also uses “word walls” to introduce high-frequency words. Other words are added based on the students’ writing needs.The focus during kindergarten is for students to feel confident about their developing abilities. It often surprises parents to learn that many children will learn to write before they learn to read. Writing is the process through which children make sense of our printed language. Early in the school year, the children will write simple stories. Although these first attempts may be quite primitive, perhaps consisting of random words or a picture with a dictated caption, they are the foundation for both fluency and fluidity in written expression. Stories become more complex and sophisticated as the year progresses. Soon the youngest children will be recording their original thoughts on paper. Given a blank piece of paper, a child is limited only by his/her imagination and determination. Children progress at their own pace; their risk-taking in writing is praised and celebrated daily.Perhaps you have heard the phrase “phonemic awareness”. This simply means that young children need to develop an awareness that words are made up of smaller units of sound. Once they are able to discriminate the sounds, they are ready to begin associating sounds with the letters that represent them. Your child will be involved in many activities throughout the year to establish phonemic awareness, phonics, and a sense of word structure. Research shows that these are the most important factors in both learning to read and write.