This video was produced by a middle schooler, with the help and participation of our Kindergarteners!
Inspiring development through traditions
In Kindergarten, teachers focus on the multiple aspects of student learning and growth. Yearly traditions and class routines provide opportunities for students to learn and grow cognitively and creatively. Each tradition and class routine addresses children’s growing independence and sense of responsibility, and teachers help each student refine their concentration and their ability to follow through on responsibilities.
Hands-on experiences are the heart of all learning. Green Acres’ Kindergartners enjoy regular opportunities for exploring and experimenting with a vast array of challenging materials, both indoors and outside.
Emerging readers and writers
In Kindergarten, students are put on a path to becoming lifelong open-minded, active, and strategic learners who love reading and writing. Teachers immerse students in rich literature and language throughout the day. In morning meeting, students read along with the schedule and post answers to questions on the sign-in and morning message. During Literacy times, students work in small groups on journals, handwriting, reading skills, and stories. During Large Group, the whole Kindergarten joins together to share songs, stories, and discussions based on the curricular theme. Finally, Homecorner closes the day with the teacher reading a book while students share a snack.
All children in Kindergarten at Green Acres regularly engage in the following literacy-building activities:
- Journal writing (invented spelling/independent work)
- Story writing (either independently or dictating to teacher)
- Author's Chair
- Director's Chair
Read-alouds with reading comprehension discussion (components of discussion include recall, sequencing, making connections between text and child's experience, and answering questions about character, plot, setting, theme, and moral or meaning)
Shared reading themes mirror thematic units, including: friendship, trees, families, food/nutrition, diversity, peace, birds, reptiles, poetry, and folk tales. The children enjoy listening to the stories, predicting possible outcomes, discussing the various characters' choices and consequences, and finally, acting the stories out in small groups.
Math happens everywhere
In Kindergarten, math is everywhere. Learning happens all day through planned lessons, as well as organically through student interactions. Mathematical development is worked on daily in the classroom by providing an environment that encourages explorations, questions, and observations as the children work to build mathematical reasoning. Throughout the day, children are engaged in mathematical problem solving, using a variety of manipulatives, as well as targeted math materials.
Some ways that teachers incorporate math include:
- Small group times focused solely on math
- Nametag groupings with a mathematical theme
- Morning meetings that incorporate: tracking the number of days children have been in school, exploring the calendar, skip counting patterns, multiples, odd and even numbers, and other math concepts
- Mental math problems during afternoon snack
- Challenging children with math-related questions on the morning “check-in” board
The “Kindergarten Store,” a planned, intentional learning experience, is an annual Green Acres tradition. The Store, operated by the Kindergarteners, presents the children with a meaningful way to reinforce such skills as: counting, adding, subtracting, estimating, predicting, strategizing, problem solving, and reflection. This activity is just one example of how children learn math concepts in an exciting, experiential, and meaningful way. Green Acres Kindergarteners know math is fun!
Kindergarten at Green Acres celebrates and challenges students through annual traditions. Some traditions are opportunities to integrate subjects and skills in one engaging activity (Kindergarten Store, world flags), while other traditions are opportunities to explore and engage with new materials and experiences (field trips, creek walks, woodworking). These traditions include:
- Celebrating 100’s Day
- Kindergarten Store
- Creek Walks
- Field Trips (zoo, theater, Audubon, Black Hill Regional Park)
- Wacky Wednesday
- Stuffed Animal Day
- Kindergarten Favorite Songs Concert