Our Kindergarten curriculum takes into consideration those goals and outcomes set forth by the State of Illinois and the Archdiocese of Chicago. Developmentally appropriate practices are utilized when planning lessons. We use units, themes, and centers to foster development in all domains, especially cognitive, social-emotional, and linguistic. This makes learning new concepts very enjoyable and challenging for each individual student.
As a major part of our curriculum, the Kindergarten classes are using the We Believe, God Made the World religion series by Sadlier. Many chapters are easily integrated into our ongoing themes. This series also provides a technology component, which can be implemented in addition to the students’ workbooks. Children are provided with a basic understanding of who Jesus is, that God created our wonderful world, what it means to be a member of the faith community, and the importance of prayer in our daily lives. Kindergarteners are paired with 5th grade buddies, and we attend weekly mass with those buddies.
The Language Arts program follows common core standards, and we heavily emphasize each child’s phonemic awareness skills. We use Phonemic Awareness Training Program by Michael Haggerty, the Reading Street reading series published by Scott Foresman, and incorporate many literature stories throughout the year to help enhance our students’ love of reading.
We focus on one letter each week to master the letter name and sound. We also use a handwriting workbook to help each student understand how to form each letter correctly when writing in everyday life.
The Kindergarten math program is currently using Math in Focus – Singapore Math, a program that is fully aligned with the common core state standards. Math in Focus uses model drawings to help children visualize and solve problems through mathematical reasoning and critical thinking. It also helps to build a solid conceptual understanding with a focus on problem solving.
Our Science curriculum follows: Science – A Closer Look by McGraw-Hill, which incorporates both small and large group learning opportunities. The children learn about life science, physical science, and Earth and Space. In each lesson, the children are encouraged and challenged to observe, compare, classify, predict, and investigate; all of which will provide a firm foundation for the child’s continued learning in science.
Our Social Studies curriculum follows Harcourt Social Studies – Our World Now and Long Ago. This program expands the child’s knowledge and understanding of space, time, and casual knowledge of their own world and moves outward to help him/her learn about other people, places, and times.
Technology is a very important part of our Kindergarten curriculum. Each of our classrooms is equipped with a SMART board, as well as tablets and desktop computers. These resources allow us to bring many of our themes to life in a whole new way for the students. In addition to these devices, our students attend a technology class in our computer lab each week.
Lastly, in addition to our weekly technology class, we also have other “specials” the students attend once a week. Our students attend music class, physical education class, and art class taught by our specials teachers. The students are learning Mandarin Chinese from a Language Stars teacher that comes to our room each week.
Religion- helps the students learn about God’s Love for us. We learn about God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We study the Church year and seasons of Advent and Lent. The children also learn about being followers of Jesus and serving others.
Reading- The series consists of five hardcover reading books, leveled readers and workbooks. Phonics, spelling, and English are integrated into the reading series. The themes of each book are:
Animals, Tame and Wild Communities
The stories are a mix of non-fiction and children’s literature selections. The series has a strong science and social studies base.
English- First graders are introduced to capitalization, punctuation, and grammar. We learn to identify and use the parts of speech correctly. Our main focus is on sentence writing. Students are introduced to declarative, interrogative, command, and exclamatory sentences. We also incorporate creative expression using the six traits of writing as our guide.
Spelling/Phonics- Our spelling program helps students identify and spell short vowel words, long vowel words, and high-frequency(sight) words. They also learn to spell words with digraphs, dipthongs, blends, prefixes, and suffixes. We also study compound words and contractions.
Mathematics- It is a comprehensive program targeting the standards identified by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). These standards are:
Number and Operations
Algebra Geometry Measurement
Problem Solving Reasoning and Proof Communication
Connections Representation Data Analysis and Probability
Science- curriculum covers the following strands:
Life Science Earth Science Physical Science
Our program is a mixture of hands-on activities, discussion, and reading.
Social Studies- curriculum focuses on people and places, communities, celebrating freedom, It covers these strands:
History Geography Economics Government
Citizenship Culture Science, Technology, and Society