A Kindergarten Program that Develops a Love of Learning
Our coed preK-6 kindergarten program is academically based and includes opportunities for play. The kindergarten curriculum is rich with academics, physical education classes, and sessions of music, drama, dance, computer, art, and time in the library combine for a full week of activities.
The young child’s excitement about “real school” is channeled in group activities in the fall and more independent work by spring. In our exploration-rich kindergarten program, the children are encouraged to investigate and discover.
Oak Knoll’s Private Kindergarten Program Experience
Our kindergarten program exposes the class to special Elementary School traditions for the first time, and also introduces events unique to the kindergarten class. Some of the special events included in our Kindergaren Program are:
- The traditional Elementary School (Lower School) Assembly falls every Friday at 2:15 p.m. Parents and siblings are invited to attend. During an Assembly in September, our kindergarten class is introduced, one-by-one, to the Elementary School (Lower School) community; this introduction is made complete with a handshake with the division head.
- The Kindergarten Christmas pageant.
- Kindergarteners celebrate a beautiful graduation prayer service to mark the end of this special year and entry into first grade.
Religion class meets throughout the six-day cycle. The “Be My Disciples” text in the RCL Benziger series helps children build an understanding of God so that His lessons can be reinforced throughout the school day. The Pflaum Gospel Weeklies Faith Formation Program is also used. These weekly lessons are based on the Sunday Gospels.
Language arts and reading are taught every day using the Scott Foresman Reading Street program that incorporates phonics, sight words, vocabulary, listening comprehension and writing skills. Creative writing is done during Writers’ Workshop and handwriting instruction is taught using the Handwriting Without Tears program.
Math skills are taught using manipulatives and workbooks, and include problem-solving, mastery of concepts and calendar math using enVision Math 2.0 by Pearson Education.
Students start off investigating science by studying organisms, moving objects and the weather on Earth. Students observe patterns and cause and effect relationships for what plants and animals need to survive; where we find life and how organisms change the earth; pushes and pulls on objects, bumping objects and inventing a moving machine; and an introduction to weather, how it changes, what warms the Earth and why there are storms. The Pearson Interactive Science program is used.
Social studies lessons are taught as they relate to the reading series.
In kindergarten, physical education focuses on movement exploration experiences and health-related fitness activities. Movement challenges are success-oriented and encourage students to think critically, cooperate with others, and enjoy using their bodies in a variety of experiences. The program includes age-appropriate fitness activities, fine and gross motor skills, and games of low organization that are consistent with the National Physical Education Standards.
In the visual arts, the children are given a variety of experiences in many different media to strengthen their skills and abilities. As the child’s confidence and skills grow, new materials and challenges are introduced. The curriculum goes from a formalist approach in the lower primaries to cross-discipline integration in the intermediate grades. Aesthetics and art appreciation are also extremely important in the total development of the student’s creative process.
Lower School students participate in a general music class of active music making, and in an age-appropriate chorus. Classroom music uses the Orff Schulwerk approach, in which children sing, move, play pitched and unpitched percussion instruments, and recorders, as well as listen, analyze, improvise, and compose. Aspects of theory and music literacy are part of the instruction. The music curriculum for all grades includes hands on support of classroom iPads for reinforcement of music skills and creativity in composition.
In creative drama classes, the children explore, enjoy, and share new ways of self-expression through movement, pantomime, storytelling, puppetry, improvisation, and small and large group performances. The folklore of many countries provides the core curriculum for the kindergarten program. All grades participate in creative dramatics throughout the year, and are involved in the creation of their own videotaped commercial that is self-developed, written, directed, and produced! In the winter and spring, the students celebrate their talents in both our Christmas and spring concerts.
In dance, the children are encouraged to develop basic movement skills and body awareness through artistic expression. Introducing the children to ballet, modern, jazz, and choreography techniques, they appreciate different forms of dance and music. Students are shown how dance can also be a sport. Developing theatre skills and etiquette, social skills, good health, cultural awareness, and a sense of history complete the dance experience. Through in-class exercises and performance opportunities, the children develop a positive sense of self and interest in the field of dance beyond the dancers on stage.
World language begins in kindergarten with the study of Spanish. The student will then continue in the same program through sixth grade. Students will be introduced and encouraged to speak in the target language through simple activities, songs and games.
To meet the wants of the age, Oak Knoll introduces students to instructional technology in the I.D.E.A.S. Lab beginning in kindergarten. They are introduced to sight words for robotics using Codepillar and Blue Bots (Bluetooth-enabled robots), along with iPads for sight word reading for proper use and handling of equipment. Kindergarten students begin using applications aimed at developing hand-eye coordination and motor skills while practicing memory, reading and math skills. Students are introduced to the design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems. Applications used are Swift Playground, Tickle Kodable, Scratch Jr., Tynker and Crayola Paint. Students are also introduced to LittleBits electronic circuits and Design Squad Challenges. They begin with Go app for Wonder Workshop, and by the end of the year, they complete Dot & Dash driving school to prepare for first grade robotics. Student use of technology also occurs across curriculum areas in their classroom, where 1:1 iPads are available for their use throughout the school day.
The Bonaventura Library program focuses on two main objectives: the development of information literacy skills necessary for learning in the 21st century and a lifelong love of reading. Children in kindergarten to grade 6 attend regularly scheduled library classes and visit the library for class projects, for group or independent research, or to check out books at any time during the school day.
Responsibility and independence at the library start in kindergarten. Children are introduced to the concept of library arrangement (“where books live”), the proper care of books, and library checkout and return procedures. They begin to view the library as a resource center and often pop in to check the spelling of a word or to get a needed book or picture for a class activity.