With small class sizes, we are able to focus on a student’s individual and unique skill sets. Students work collaboratively to complete projects as part of a team, bringing the projects to life and allowing the children to make sense of all they are learning.
Pre-Kindergarten students begin writing the first weeks of school. Using the Handwriting Without Tears program and small pencils, they learn proper pencil grip and proper formation of uppercase and lowercase letters. They also form letters using a variety of materials like clay, sandpaper and buttons.
Students participate in small and large group learning with a focus on the alphabet and letter sounds through games, songs, rhymes, and movement. We utilize the Zoo Phonics program, which associates each letter sound with an animal character, movement and rhyme. This allows children with different learning styles to understand phonics.
Number sense and concrete math skills are introduced with hands-on manipulatives and games. Patterns, number recognition, counting and sorting are emphasized in each school day. Teachers continually monitor and assess children to make sure that they are learning at their academic level.
Students participate in a variety of activities to help them build their reading and writing skills, including letter sounds, rhyming words, syllables, and learning to break words into individual sounds. During reading groups, students are placed in a group with other children at the same reading level. We use the B.O.B. book series and Raz-Kids guided reading series.
The JK students focus on handwriting skills in their daily sign-in book. Using the Handwriting Without Tears program, they master writing their first and last names and move on to other words and sentence structure, based on each student’s individual development. They also keep a journal where they dictate stories, sounding out words with assistance or writing on their own using developmental spelling.
Each morning, students help read and write a morning letter. To help them read and write, students use and practice the Zoo Phonics program, which associates individual letter sounds with both an animal and an action. They complete charts about the date and the weather. Children actively learn the days of the week, months of the year, and number recognition. Following the scope and sequence of Math Expressions, students use manipulatives to learn about geometric shapes, sorting, patterns, numbers, measurement, and addition and subtraction. The class works together to gather information to complete pictographs.
Small group time allows teachers to focus on each child’s developmental level. Guided groups of four to six children work on language arts, math, journals, fine motor/art and are heterogeneous so the children are able to work with others at mixed levels. Guided reading groups are formed and assessed throughout the year so the children can work with other children at similar reading levels.
The overall goal of our reading program in Kindergarten is for students to become confident, proficient readers who LOVE books! Kindergarten students are surrounded by literature in the classroom. Books are read daily and through teacher-led activities, students learn and review story elements (author, illustrator, genre, characters, setting). During our literacy block, students work independently, with partners, and in small groups to complete assigned activities and to receive phonics instruction. Guided reading is conducted in partnerships or small groups to ensure that each child receives what s/he needs to be successful.
Writer’s Workshop incorporates mini-lessons, examples of various writing genres, an opportunity to express thoughts, an editing process, and a share time. Students are guided through the writing process and are encouraged to tell their thoughts and ideas daily. Every child is given the opportunity to share his or her work in the author’s chair. Remember, writing is just “telling on paper!” Every Kindergarten student starts the year as a writer and works to strengthen his/her writing confidence. Manuscript handwriting is taught and practiced in Kindergarten using the Handwriting Without Tears program. The manuscript handwriting style is the letter style that is most often used in early elementary reading books as well. The proper writing techniques are accompanied with catchy verbal prompts that help the writer when forming letters (i.e. “e” is ‘hit the ball and run the bases’).
Math and Science
Roycemore uses the Houghton Mifflin Math Expressions program to encourage natural exploration of numbers, patterns, addition, subtraction, probability, measurement, graphing, time, money, and estimation. Through the children’s involvement in small and whole group activities, a firm understanding of mathematical concepts is developed. The Math Expressions program uses many hands-on games that can be differentiated for all learners, and the program provides a solid foundation for elementary mathematics. Each child receives math instruction in both small groups and partnerships multiple times per week.
Science is integrated into the curriculum through independent discovery as well as small and whole group activities. Students are provided with opportunities for learning in physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy. Activities and displays in the room help students develop a sense of awareness, develop observation and discrimination skills, develop concepts through first-hand experience, develop respect for environment, and learn to care for their own bodies as well as plants and animals.