Kindergarten Program Overview
In kindergarten, children are taking a critical step into the educational realm. Sierra School strives to instill a love of learning in each child. It is imperative for kindergarten students to build a strong foundation for learning that will establish a pattern for continued success in the future. We believe that our holistic program, which fosters the growth of the entire individual, can meet these goals. Children are challenged academically, learn to take on personal responsibilities, and are encouraged to show respect to self and others. We believe that every child has a right to learn in a safe and nurturing environment. Our small class sizes maximize individual attention and help bring out the best in all of our students.
Language Arts (includes reading, spelling and writing)
Language Arts in kindergarten is a literacy-rich program supported by a strong phonetic base with emphasis on the individual child’s reading continuum. Students are introduced to phonemic awareness, decoding, comprehension skills, oral language and writing. They develop their core knowledge of phonemic awareness and decoding by rhyming, learning initial and final consonants, and blending sounds and short words. Their comprehension skills are developed by comparison and contrast, inference and making predictions, story structure, and summarization of topics discussed in class. Oral language in the students is developed by encouraging the use of descriptive, position, action, and rhyming words. Writing skills are introduced to the student by keeping journals, making lists, writing stories, poems and letters. Children are exposed to a wide range of poems, plays, and literature, while simultaneously developing comprehension and critical thinking skills. Each story offers a new adventure with rich, colorful illustrations that make reading fun and exciting! Houghton Mifflin’s text is used for the reading program. The students attend Reading/Language Arts classes 45 minutes each day.
The kindergarten mathematics program emphasizes a process of exploration and discovery with extensive use of manipulative materials. Students are introduced to numbers, mathematic operations, geometry, measurement, data analysis and probability, algebra and mathematical processes through a multi-sensory approach of sorting, patterns, shapes, graphs, charts, counting and simple monetary transactions and calculations. They develop a positive attitude toward math by incorporating activities which introduce math concepts into their daily activities. Children are able to make broader connections to the outside world through math extension activities. Scott Foresman Addison Wesley’s text is used for the mathematics program. The students attend mathematics classes 45 minutes each day.
At the kindergarten level, the main emphasis of the social studies curriculum is on helping children understand themselves and others, and their world around them. Students are introduced to the concepts of history and culture through thematic literature, illustrated narratives, and activities. Students become familiar with important historical figures that have shaped American civilization. Furthermore, Sierra embraces diversity, so children learn about international holidays, cultures, and traditions that are celebrated around the globe. Kindergarten students also learn about personal health, safety, and our community, as well as other themes that are beneficial and of high interest to this age group. Periodic field trips are taken throughout the year that correspond to the monthly themes. Field trips provide active learning experiences and indelible memories for students of all ages. The students attend social studies classes 40 minutes twice a week.
Science is a comprehensive program based on the latest Scott Foresman series. Kindergarteners begin to develop their understanding of physical and life sciences through the use of visual resources, literature, and teacher directed experiments. The students develop an understanding of life sciences by exploring the need for plants and animals, the concept of development through growth and changes, the importance of land, water, and air, as well as weather and the seasons. They expand on their understanding of physical science by exploring matter, heat, light and movement. They explore space and technology by understanding the concepts of day and night, and the mechanics of machines. Workbooks, flip charts, and DVD clips are also used to enhance science instruction. This new science program allows students to actively explore and satisfy their curiosity about our world and beyond. The students attend science classes 45 minutes twice a week.
The purpose of music and drama in kindergarten is to introduce them to the joy and fun of musical expression. Children will sing songs both familiar and new to them to help develop their sense of pitch. Movement is also introduced to help children with coordination skills. Children are exposed to the concepts of music and terms through practice and encouraged to develop their listening skills by the continued exposure to important composers and their works. Composers such as Victor Herbert and Richard Rodgers are studied. They develop a positive attitude for music through singing, clapping rhythms, playing instruments, and listening to a wide range of music. Each semester students present a program for parents, friends and teachers. By presenting these programs students learn to be confident when speaking, singing, and acting in front of others. Students also love to participate in the Sierra choir. The children attend music classes 45 minutes twice a week.
Students are exposed to the basic artistic concepts along with a wide range of artists and works of art. They are introduced to the lines, shapes, forms, spaces, light, textures, and colors of artwork through observations, discussions and modeling. Artists such as Paul Gaugin, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse are introduced to the students. Painting, drawing, collage, and clay projects provide students with opportunities to express their ideas and emotions. The children participate in art classes 45 minutes twice a week.
Kindergarten students are at an optimal age to acquire a second language. Students develop a basic understanding of Spanish language and the Hispanic culture through speaking, grammar, writing, listening, reading, music, stories, and games. They begin to develop a vocabulary which consists of the Spanish alphabet, numbers through 50, colors, greetings, days of the week, months of the year, shapes, parts of the body, animals, family members, and Hispanic holidays. The children attend Spanish 45 minutes twice a week.
Students begin to develop an understanding of physical activity, team sports, and sportsmanship through a variety of individual and group activities, games, and organized sports. The students develop coordination, grace and control, along with a sense of fair play and cooperation. They are provided opportunities in planning, organizing, and leading sports activities. The students attend PE 45 minutes twice a week.
Students begin to develop their typing skills by utilizing the Disney Interactive Software, and reinforce their reading and math skills through the use of grade specific software. In addition, they develop an understanding of technology and it’s usefulness in the classroom through individual activities and programs.