Our Kindergarten program is offered to 5-year-olds and young 6-year-olds. Our Full Day Kindergarten program is taught by a state-certified teacher with a BS in ECE/El Ed. The class size is limited to 15 children with a teacher and an instructional aide. The curriculum in the Full Day Kindergarten program will lay a thorough foundation for the academic demands of first grade. Our academic program will provide instruction in writing, phonics, phonemic awareness, reading, math, science and social studies.
During this year of instruction, the children will still use manipulatives and experiment through observation; however, they will begin to use connecting-level skills that will prepare them for the more abstract skills required in first grade and beyond. Children will be guided through individual conferences, guided reading instruction and small group and whole group instruction using an integrated thematic teaching approach. They will also have art, physical education, music, and instruction in computers and foreign language.
Additional enrichment programs for the Full Day Kindergarten program include a continuation of our Intergenerational and Conflict Resolution Programs, responsibility for maintaining our shared garden and participation in our Mini Court Program. Our Atelier (central studio) provides the children with a place to create and showcase their artwork and projects utilizing the Reggio Emilia philosophy. Our Full Day Kindergarten program arouses the curiosity and excitement of learning while providing them a solid foundation for a lifetime of learning.
In Language Arts our main goal will be to build each child’s phonological awareness and letter-sound association skills so that our students will begin to decode words. Rhyming skills will be expanded and alphabet skills will be further enhanced with more of an emphasis on beginning, ending and short vowel sounds. Phonics instruction will build as the year progresses, and it will center on blending the consonants with the short and long vowel sounds. The children will know all of the letters of the alphabet and their sounds. They will also be introduced to some blends. A sight word vocabulary of “have to” words will be firmly developed as well.
Through read aloud, shared reading, guided reading and independent reading, our students will be reading everyday in Full Day Kindergarten. They will develop predicting strategies, context and picture clue strategies as well as reading for meaning strategies. In Full Day Kindergarten, comprehension skills will be enhanced through retelling skill development. They will learn to identify the setting, characters and main idea of a story. Their concepts of print skills will be further developed through shared reading experiences. Our students will be reading poetry, songs, and fiction and nonfiction materials. They will be able to answer questions about text they read and will retell and dramatize stories. By the end of Full Day Kindergarten, our students will be reading text.
In our Full Day Kindergarten, the students will be guided through a writing program that will take them through 8 stages of writing development. They will learn the 6+1 Traits of Writing in a developmentally appropriate program that will be tailored to meet each child’s individual needs. Automaticity in writing lowercase letters and correct spacing will be fostered as well as appropriate handwriting strokes.
The children will be able to write stories with more of a storyline by using phonetically spelled words and sight words. Our students will begin to self-correct their own work with the use of a developmentally appropriate rubric. By the end of Full Day Kindergarten, the children will be confidently writing their thoughts on paper.
In Full Day Kindergarten, our students will be working from the concrete to a connecting level with more of an emphasis on numbers. They will be able to write numbers to 50 and they will be reading numbers to 100. The 100 number grid will be used to help them see patterns in numbers and for instruction of counting skills. Our students will be able to understand one-to-one correspondence, recognize shapes (including two and three-dimensional shapes), gain a sense of number, count to 100 in a variety of ways, write and identify numbers and use estimation as a tool for prediction. Students will now extend their patterns to two or three-part patterns, collect data by graphing and learn about measurement. By the end of Full Day Kindergarten, our children will be able to tell time to the hour and ½ hour.
They will identify coins of different values. In addition, they will build upon their skills of sorting and classifying by looking for differing and common attributes. Problem solving skills will be enhanced as children learn to apply basic concepts of probability and a variety of strategies to solve real life problems. Our students will also be creating number stories to illustrate number equations. By creating representations of numbers, our students will learn how numbers can be broken apart to how they make new numbers. Addition and subtraction number facts to 10 will be taught through differentiation in a developmentally appropriate way. Whole group instruction, small group and individual instruction will be given ensuring that all skill levels are taught with a differentiated approach that meets each child’s academic needs. Our Full Day Kindergarten children will be fully prepared for the academic challenge of first grade math in any school’s first grade program.
In science, students will build their skills of observation. They will record observations of animals, plant growth and daily weather occurrences. They will identify the five senses and the uses of them. Then they will use their senses to observe and investigate matter. Through our study of animals, children will identify basic needs of organisms, observe that animals are made up of different and necessary parts, compare the diversity of animals and recognize that some animals are extinct. Students will learn what scientists do and what tools they use. They will study plants and observe and identify attributes of living and non living things. Our students will learn that systems are made up of different parts, and that they have specific functions. The children will learn about the interdependency of systems in the world that we live in.
One vital skill that will be developed is an awareness of the environment and human responsibility for its care. Our Full Day Kindergarten children will be responsible for setting up and maintaining our Children’s Garden.
In social studies, the main focus will be on building a community and on using those skills to work together with classmates, family members and our neighborhood community members. These skills will be reinforced daily with our responsive classroom activities. They will learn that people have roles and responsibilities, people work together to fulfill needs and the influence that community members have on their lives. Our students will learn about different customs and cultures and be able to recognize the various national holidays. They will also learn to recognize various American symbols and famous Americans. Their skills in learning to read a map will be introduced and they will learn to recognize the United States on a globe.
Our Intergenerational program will afford our students the opportunity to learn from, build respect for and work with older adults. This program teaches the importance of respecting and valuing people of all ages. Another exciting enrichment for our Full Day Kindergarten children will be Mini-Court. Our students will learn the basic precepts of our legal system, as well as the importance of being kind, truthful and doing the right thing. At Whitehouse Prep it is true that all we really need to know we are taught in kindergarten!
In Full Day Kindergarten, our students will continue to study Mandarin and begin the study of Spanish. They will build and develop their speaking.
In computer class, the students will use a variety of programs to reinforce mouse use, keyboarding, literacy and math skills. They will read along with stories on the computer independently and as a whole class with our smart boards. They will also be able to interact with the smart boards to build their handwriting skills. They will use computer programs to build math skills, practice matching letters, to recognize sight words and to build phonics skills.
In our Full Day Kindergarten program, our students will perform different rhythmic patterns with various instruments. They will study various composers and the families of the orchestra. Through our music and movement classes, the students will learn how to respond to music through movement. They will be exposed to various forms of music and be encouraged to respond to the music genre being heard. The children will be singing many songs instilling an appreciation for music in a playful and developmentally appropriate way.
Our students will continue to study the works of famous artists and their techniques. They will also begin to work on skills of identifying primary and secondary colors, give order to arrangements in a piece, identify variations in darkness and light, arrange objects in formal and informal balance, create texture in form, understand repetition in works of art and give expressions to the faces of people they draw. Our Atelier will provide the space for our children to explore and develop their artistic and creative skills.
In physical education, our Full Day Kindergarten children will continue to enhance the development of spatial awareness, gross motor, loco-motor, creative movement and listening skills. As their skills in community building increase, they will be introduced to cooperative games. Eye-hand coordination skills will be fostered as well as flexibility. The students will also use our outdoor Fitness Trail to build their gross motor skills.