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FOR FAMILIES: Kindergarten Curriculum

The Kindergarten Information website is currently under review and being updated for the 2017-2018 School Year.

Kindergarten curriculum is designed to address all areas of development (social, emotional, physical and intellectual) and to meet needs of a diverse group of learners. Children are active learners: touching, trying, moving, talking, writing, drawing, questioning. Throughout the kindergarten day, children have opportunities to explore, investigate, and predict. Kindergarten teachers promote self-discovery and self-awareness. They foster independence and help children to use skills necessary for working in large groups, small group and how to use tools to help themselves as a learner. Each child is encouraged to move beyond his/her current level of understanding through scaffolding from teachers.

The kindergarten classroom is a safe, supportive and welcoming environment. It provides children with a variety of opportunities to try out new ideas and be challenged with new experiences that engage budding readers, writers, scientists, mathematicians and artists. Teachers help children to be empowered, to feel valued, to be listened to, to be competent and successful in school.

Arlington kindergarten classroom are part of the Tools of the Mind program. Tools of the Mind is a research based early childhood program that builds strong foundations for school success by promoting intentional and self- regulated learning. The instructional philosophy is inspired by Lev Vygotsky and his students. For more information, check out the Tools of the Mind website at toolsofthemind.org.

Please select from the below topics or CLICK HERE to Expand/Contract all topics.

  • •ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS
    • The development of language and literacy skills is critical to children’s development and success. Kindergarten students are provided multiple opportunities throughout the day to practice language and literacy skills through listening, talking and interacting with each through dramatic play. Teachers help guide their literacy development through games, songs and read alouds. The ELA curriculum is delivered through the following:

      LITERACY
      Kindergarten children are immersed in communication, reading, and writing throughout the school day. Children participate in literacy activities in whole group and small group as well as individual work. Each classroom accesses literacy through the Tools of the Mind curriculum. A Tools classroom concentrates on children’s development in two areas: underlying cognitive skills and specific literacy skills. The kindergarten literacy program meets the system wide mandate of providing a minimum of one 90-minute literacy block each day. For the first two months of school, centers revolve around dramatic play of folk and fairy tales and later The Magic Tree House series. Later, the centers transition to be literacy based. These centers are interdisciplinary and the activities often have a literature connection or theme.

      In January, students begin reading instruction during Buddy Reading2. In pairs, teachers help children to apply the knowledge they have gained from writing and literacy games (initial sounds, word families etc.) to start decoding text. These leveled books come from a number of sources and include fiction and nonfiction. As students’ reading strengthens, teachers start to meet with them individually. Students who need additional support in reading are provided further instruction through the Reading Intervention Program.

      WRITING
      n a Tools classroom, there is a strong relationship between writing and oral speech. Children practice their writing at two different times of day, Write Along (whole group writing) and Scaffolded Writing (individual writing). In scaffolded writing, children recall different facts from read alouds and illustrate what they write. Initially in the Tools classroom, children do not use lined paper; they draw a picture, orally say their message and draw a line to represent each word. Children are at different stages of writing development: some have learned voice to line match while others have learned word patterns. As the children develop phonemic awareness, they start to add more sounds to represent words. Later in the year, the children transition away from using “lines” to represent words and use traditional lined paper.

      PHONEMIC AWARENESS
      Kindergarten children learn how to break words into sounds, isolate sounds and identify them in the order in which they appear in words. In a Tools classroom, children first identify sounds and work on phonemic awareness during writing; they first represent sounds in the words of their own written message. Phonemic awareness is further developed through small group literacy games which help children segment out consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words and learn alphabetic principles.

  • •MATH
    • A child's first mathematical understanding is formed through concrete experiences with the real world and with common materials. When learning new concepts students are given hands-on experience with external mediators. Children then transition to creating symbolic models to represent their thinking. The math curriculum provides students opportunities to develop foundational mathematical understandings and skills that progress at individual rates. Through Assessing Math Concepts (AMC) and Tools of the Mind activities, teachers are able to uncover student knowledge of the foundational mathematical ideas that are necessary for successful learning. The AMC program identifies Critical Learning Phases, a continuum of mathematical understandings, through which students move over several years. Clear definition of these phases helps teachers understand how students build mathematical knowledge and develop skills. It also guides teachers in their response to student needs for intervention or for challenges. Based on results of initial assessments, the program suggests targeted activities to address students at the growing edge of their understanding. Their progress is tracked by reassessment with the same tool. The result is a record of student growth of mathematical understandings.

      The following topics will be covered throughout the school year:

      • Counting Objects
      • Changing Numbers
      • Number Arrangements
      • Number Recognition and Formation
      • More/Less
      • Time
      • Measurement
      • Two and Three Dimensional Shapes

  • •SCIENCE
    • Children in kindergarten enter school with inquiring minds and are natural scientists. Their curiosity and inclination to explore make them enthusiastic to learn about the natural and physical world. Kindergarteners learn to observe the world around them through the use of their five senses. They use language development skills to ask questions, make predictions, and observe.

      Some topics we learn about in Kindergarten include:

      • changing weather patterns
      • plants and animals
      • solids and liquids
      • force-pushing and pulling

      Some other topics may be related to curriculum themes, such as:

      • shadows
      • sinking, floating
      • plants

  • •SOCIAL STUDIES
    • Children start developing a sense of identity and a sense of their social and individual selves in their early educational years. The social studies curriculum, learning in history and social science, is built on children's experiences in their families, school, community, state, and country. In a Tools classroom, children are exposed many different cultures and countries through the Magic Tree House series. These topics are integrated throughout the kindergarten curriculum.

      National Holidays
      • Columbus Day
      • Thanksgiving
      • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
      • Presidents Day
      • Independence Day

      National Symbols
      • Pledge of Allegiance
      • American Flag
      • Current President
      • Patriotic Songs

      Community
      • Maps and basic geography
      • Community Helpers
      • Personal and social time

  • •OPEN CIRCLE
    • Open Circle is a comprehensive, grade-differentiated social and emotional learning program for grade K-5 children, their teachers, administrators, and families. The curriculum fosters the development of relationships that support safe, caring and respectful learning communities of children and adults. It also supports peer-mediated interactions, so children learn to solve problems with one another.

      Open Circle skills in the kindergarten program include:

      • Listening
      • Non-verbal Communication
      • Complimenting
      • Inclusion
      • Cooperating
      • Recognizing when to tell a Responsible Adult
      • Handling Annoying Behavior
      • Dealing with Teasing
      • Recognizing Differences
      • Speaking Up
      • Understanding and Recognizing Feelings
      • Being Calm
      • Problem Solving
      • Interviewing
      • Leadership
      • Expressing Anger Appropriately
      • Understanding and Recognizing Body Language
      • Positive Self-Talk

  • •HEALTH AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION
    • Comprehensive health education includes development of children's physical, mental, emotional, and social health. The kindergarten health curriculum is delivered through Great Body Shop activities. The Great Body Shop is a comprehensive health, substance abuse, and violence prevention program taught in grades K-6. It is integrated throughout the kindergarten curriculum, with some lessons taught by the school nurse and physical education teacher. Kindergarteners attend Physical Education classes two times each week.

      Great Body Shop units include the following:

      • Staying Safe
      • 5 Senses
      • Food/Nutrition
      • Family
      • Your Body
      • Dentist/Doctor Visits
      • Drug Awareness (No Drugs, No Way)
      • Staying Healthy
      • Physical Fitness

  • •ARTS
    • Teaching and learning in the arts serves several functions, including learning and mastering different art forms for their own sake, and using the arts across the curriculum to integrate and express information. Kindergarten students are provided opportunities to express themselves through drawings and other visual art activities, in acting out stories, singing songs, and through dramatic play activities. In addition to the integration of these activities throughout the kindergarten curriculum, kindergarten students are provided specialized content instruction in art and music during the week.

  • •ASSESSMENTS
    • In kindergarten, assessments drive instruction and show us where students may need extra support or practice. Children practicing a similar skill may be gathered together for small group work with the teacher to enhance their skill. Assessments are ongoing throughout the year as the students grow, develop and learn.

      Some formal assessments include:

      • Letter and Sound identification
      • Concepts about print
      • DRA 2
      • Phonemic Awareness
      • Writing Prompts
      • AMC Math

  • •PROGRESS REPORTS
    • There are two Progress Reports (report cards) in Kindergarten- one in the fall and one at the end of the year. Kindergarteners are given grades of “C” Consistent, “D” Developing, or “N” Not yet acquired. Topics include Social Emotional Development, Literacy Skills, Math Skills, Science and Social Studies, and a participation grade in special subjects- Art, Music, and Physical Education.


REFERENCES:

  1. Curriculum,. Retrieved February 6, 2014, www.toolsofthemind.org

  2. Leong, Bodrova and Hensen. Tools of the Mind: Kindergarten Manual
    Introduction, Background and Theory 6th Edition 2011
 
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Arlington Public Schools 869 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02476 | 781-316-3000

Last Update: 08/25/17 | C. Bertoli