This is the second in a three-part series on Kindergarten readiness.
You’ve determined that your child is ready for Kindergarten, but what will she learn when she gets there? Kindergarten is a crucial year for building the foundation of learning by developing literacy, math, and social skills. Therefore, it’s critical to choose the right program that celebrates learning while teaching valuable foundational skills that will prep your child for first grade.
The first step is to evaluate the curriculum. You want a program that teaches the essential skills for reading, handwriting, writing, math. Here is what students will learn in Rippowam Cisqua School’s Kindergarten program, which you can use as a tool to evaluate other programs.
The literacy curriculum should focus on developing each student’s ability to read, write, listen, and speak effectively. At Rippowam Cisqua School, significant time is devoted to shared reading, read-aloud, and word study. Students focus on a least two letters per week, which allows students to apply what they know about letters and sounds to the “real world.” Handwriting is also taught for each letter introduced. By the end of their Kindergarten year, students should be able to:
- Write in upper and lower case using lined paper
- Identify letters in the alphabet and their sounds
- Identify beginning, middle, and ending sounds; segment and blend sounds
- Build on the components of a calendar (days, weeks, months, and basic time)
- Identify if a book is fiction or nonfiction and participate in class conversations
- Identify the characters, setting, problem, and solution of a story
- Write a personal narrative with a beginning, middle, and end
- Understand the steps for researching and writing a nonfiction book
Number sense expands throughout Kindergarten. Students develop their understanding of addition and subtraction by having many opportunities to count, visualize, model, solve, and discuss different types of problems. By the end of the year, children can recognize numbers up to 100, count to 100, and perform basic single-digit addition and subtraction.
In Kindergarten, students are introduced to the scientific method and approach investigations as a scientist would. The discovery method is used to teach students how to find the answers themselves rather than being given the correct solution to the problem. This process of following clear steps to come to the desired outcome supports their executive functioning skills within the natural framework of their own curiosity.
Spanish as a second language
Introducing students to a second language at an early age has many advantages. Bilingual students develop better executive functioning and critical thinking skills and achieve higher academic performance. At Rippowam Cisqua School, students take Spanish from Kindergarten through Grade 4. In fifth grade, they can choose to continue Spanish or learn French or Latin. Our Kindergarten Spanish program introduces students to the sounds and culture of Spanish speaking countries. It is primarily an oral program with much emphasis placed on games, songs, and Spanish culture.
Technology and coding
Kindergartners have computer classes as well as access to iPads in the classrooms. The curriculum emphasizes technology as a tool, not a toy. Mouse control, keyboard awareness, and the proper selection of tools for drawing, designing, and typing are reinforced in every class. Throughout the year, students learn to code using hands-on Bee-Bots and online resources such as Kodable, which can be accessed from school or home
The social-emotional development of your child is central to their academic success. Smaller class sizes enable teachers to spend more time getting to know their students and help students develop strong bonds with their teachers and classmates. Through each interaction at school, students learn valuable social skills that including sharing, taking turns, problem-solving, and helping themselves. They learn to communicate their feelings using words, begin to empathize, and to consider their peers’ feelings. Making eye contact and public speaking are also core to the curriculum.
Through the curriculum and our community, students learn about different families, cultures, and the neighborhoods in which they live. They become young philanthropists, early role models, and understand the power of doing good and being responsible citizens. At Rippowam Cisqua School, the culminating performance for Kindergarten is focused on a unit about community helpers. Each student chooses a member of the larger community, whether it’s the Fire Chief or the local baker, to highlight and personify before family and friends in their performance. Through this project, students understand and respect the world around them while also practicing public speaking.
Next in the series, How to Choose the Best Kindergarten Program for Your Child?
Did you miss the last post in this three-part series? Read Is my child ready for Kindergarten?