Reading and Writing
The dedicated afternoon program for reading and writing is designed to instill a lifelong love of reading and writing in students while building their skills and confidence. The program is supported by mentor texts, which are high-quality examples of literature that serve as models for students to learn from. In the program, students explore various genres of writing, including opinion writing, informational texts, and personal narratives. They learn about story structure, character traits, the writing process, and reading strategies. Students are encouraged to become reading detectives, actively engaging with the text to infer, predict, clarify, and build conclusions. They also explore story structure, genres, and informational texts, building their understanding of different types of writing and their features. It is student-centered, allowing students to express their own ideas, thoughts, and opinions through their writing. By providing a supportive and engaging environment, the program fosters a love for quality children's literature and helps students become accomplished readers and writers.
Supported Reading is one of the stations in the small group rotations, where students work with on-level texts and receive direct teacher support. This allows teachers to provide targeted instruction based on students' reading abilities and needs. The listening library station provides students with opportunities to listen to stories and build their listening and comprehension skills. The writing workshop station is student-centered, where students engage in the writing process, applying the skills and strategies they have learned during mini-lessons and through mentor texts.
Overall, our Readers and Writers Workshop is designed to provide students with a comprehensive and engaging reading and writing experience, with a focus on building important skills, strategies, and a lifelong appreciation for literature.
Explicit Phonics Instruction, Heart Words, and Writing
Explicit phonics instruction is a key component of the kindergarten curriculum, aimed at building foundational skills for early literacy development. Phonics is the systematic relationship between letters and sounds, and explicit phonics instruction involves directly teaching students the skills needed to decode and recognize words.
In kindergarten, this begins with phonemic awareness, which includes activities such as rhyming, identifying, segmenting, and blending sounds in words. Students learn to recognize and manipulate individual sounds, or phonemes, in spoken words, which helps them develop their phonological awareness, or the ability to hear and identify sounds in words. Letter recognition and recall, as well as letter formation, are also important aspects of explicit phonics instruction in kindergarten. Students learn to identify and recall the names and shapes of letters, as well as how to write them correctly. This helps them establish a strong foundation for understanding the relationship between letters and sounds.
Phonics also covers a variety of skills, including letter sounds, short and long vowels, word families, magic e, tricky y, digraphs, and blends. Students learn the sounds that individual letters or groups of letters represent, as well as how those sounds can be combined to form words. They also learn about common spelling patterns and rules, such as the silent e that changes the sound of a vowel, or the "magic y" that sometimes acts as a vowel in words.
In addition to phonics skills, kindergarten students also learn about concepts of print, such as understanding that print moves from left to right and top to bottom, and that there is a one-to-one correspondence between spoken words and written words. We support our efforts as writers and readers with continued use of a popular SWS curriculum HWT. As we enter into Kindergarten our exploration deepens with further use of lower case letter work. Current SWS friends will be familiar with the language and approaches in this program. With handwriting we are forming comfortable and authentic habits for a strong foundation in writers and learners.
They also learn to recognize and read high-frequency words, often referred to as "heart words" or sight words, which are commonly used words that may not follow regular phonics patterns and need to be memorized. Explicit phonics instruction in kindergarten is typically delivered through a combination of whole-group instruction, small-group instruction, and individual practice. Teachers use a variety of instructional strategies, such as direct instruction, modeling, guided practice, and feedback, to help students build their phonics skills. This is often integrated with other literacy activities, such as reading and writing, to provide students with meaningful opportunities to apply their phonics skills in context.
In a kindergarten logical-mathematical curriculum, students are exposed to a wide range of concepts that lay the foundation for their understanding of numbers, operations, shapes, and more. These concepts are typically introduced through hands-on activities and experiences to make learning engaging and meaningful for young learners.
Counting is one of the first concepts taught in kindergarten math. Students learn to count from 1 to 10 initially, and then gradually progress to higher numbers. They learn to recognize and name numerals, as well as understand the concept of one-to-one correspondence, which involves matching one object with one number. Counting is often reinforced through various manipulatives, such as counting objects, using number lines, and engaging in interactive counting games.
Shapes are another important concept in kindergarten math. Students learn to identify and describe basic shapes, such as circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, and more. They also learn about positional words, such as first, last, above, below, and between, which help them understand the spatial relationships between objects.
Ordinal numbers, which represent the order of objects or events, are also introduced in kindergarten. Students learn to identify and use words such as first, second, third, and so on, to describe the position of objects or events in a sequence.
Tracing and writing numbers is an essential skill that students develop in kindergarten. They learn to form numerals correctly and practice writing them using various techniques, such as tracing, copying, and independent writing. This helps students develop their fine motor skills and reinforce their understanding of number symbols.
Basic operations, such as addition and subtraction, are introduced in kindergarten. Students learn to understand the concept of adding objects to make a bigger group, and subtracting objects to make a smaller group. They use manipulatives, number lines, and other visual aids to build a solid foundation in these basic operations.
Number lines, bar graphs, and place value are also introduced in kindergarten. Number lines help students understand the relationship between numbers and their positions on a line, and they can use them to solve simple addition and subtraction problems. Bar graphs are used to represent data visually and help students understand how to read and interpret graphs. Place value introduces the concept that the position of a digit in a number determines its value, and students begin to understand the concept of tens and ones.
Money and time concepts are introduced in kindergarten math as well. Students learn to identify and recognize coins, and understand their values. They also learn to tell time using analog clocks, understand basic units of time, such as hours and minutes, and practice sequencing events in chronological order.
Skip counting is another skill that students develop in kindergarten, which involves counting by twos, fives, and tens. This helps build their understanding of multiplication and prepares them for more advanced math concepts in higher grades.
In a workshop model, teachers use a variety of instructional strategies to introduce, review, and reinforce these concepts. Mini-lessons are used to provide direct instruction on specific skills or concepts, and teachers use concept modeling to demonstrate how to solve problems or perform tasks. Hands-on activities, games, and manipulatives are used in workshops to provide opportunities for students to practice skills in a collaborative and differentiated manner. Teachers provide support and guidance during workshops, and students have the opportunity to work at their own pace and level of readiness.
Overall, a kindergarten logical-mathematical curriculum focuses on building a strong foundation in essential math concepts through hands-on activities, manipulatives, and engaging workshops. By providing students with opportunities to explore, practice, and apply math skills in a meaningful context, kindergarten math sets the stage for further math learning in higher grades.
Our rotating specials fold in science, art, or social emotional lessons. In many schools these sessions are called enrichment because they enrich your child’s basic learning experience. In our early learning settings, we mark social emotional regulation as the most important Kindergarten readiness piece and this is an area that we continue to support growth. Children are naturally curious and creative and directed science and art experiences prompt creativity, investigation, mastery, and more. While these elements are infused across the day we appreciate the time to spotlight these learning domains.
Please note we do make use of technology such as short video clips, songs, or read alouds as part of this program.
8 rotations are provided each morning some example categories could include:
1. Word work (heart word exploration new and review, cvc words)
2. Puzzle/Write the Room
3. Phonics (letter sounds, onset and rime, blends, segmenting)
4. Listening library (Epic! Audiobooks, Big Books exploration, mini-books, just right reading)
5. Writing (Nellie Edge writing prompts, authentic sight word use)
6. Workstation (art, book unit theme)
7. Handwriting/printwork HWT
8. Parts of language, phonics, etc.
8 rotations are provided daily, some example categories could include:
1. Science (light table, small world, unit table)
2. Blocks, building (logical, mathematical construction)
3. Math (hands on concepts)
4. Puzzle or games
5. Math (number sense, Counting Collections)
6. Teacher table, Horizons workbook
7. Table Choice
Rotating across the week specials center on art, science, and social emotional learning—you will note that all learning domains of course intersect across the day. Some specials have included:
Science: Study of leaves, pumpkins, or other seasonal elements. Weather, migration, overall scientific theory, STEM moments like bridge building or simple machines.
SEL: The group plan, our feelings and words, families and communities, zones of regulation, mindfulness.
Art: Culture inspirations, famous artists, color theory, exploration of mediums and tools, and more!