Our 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. Unlike teaching isolated skills, themes enable students to build on prior knowledge and make the learning of new concepts both challenging and enjoyable.
The Language Arts program in Kindergarten is multi-faceted with a heavy emphasis on the development of each child’s phonemic awareness skills. Development of these skills is one of the most important processes influencing a child’s ability to read. The curriculum draws on a variety of resources used to enhance a number of priority skills, which contribute to the potential development of young readers. Some of these skills include rhyming, sentence structure, recognizing elements of a story, identifying fiction and non-fiction, predicting, retelling, sequencing of events, identifying literary genres and activating prior knowledge.
We usually study one letter per week, which we try to tie into a regular calendar of events such as Hh for Halloween. Some of the resources we use in our program include: Phonemic Awareness Training Program (The skills They Need to Help Them Succeed) written by Michael Heggerty, Ed.D. We also use a series of alphabet books called Alphatales, when beginning the study of a new letter. We also read several high quality authentic children’s literature stories in a variety of genres, as they relate to our themes throughout the year.
The Kindergarten Math program embraces the ten standards put forth by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. It is a hands-on program that integrates experiences with manipulatives, paper and pencil practice and technology. In addition, appropriate thematic activities are included throughout the year. Topics include qualitative and quantitative concepts, sorting and classifying, graphing, patterns, number identification, numbers to 100, concepts of counting, measurement and time, addition and subtraction.
In Social Studies and Science, we do not use a formal curriculum. We have found that these subjects occur as a natural part of our themes and also in our Religion classes. For example, when studying God’s gifts of land and water, we were able to learn about various land forms and the many uses of water in our day-to-day living. Scholastic’s Let’s Read and Find Out booklets are also utilized.
In Religion the program realizes that young children have a readiness to learn about God. The program integrates both Scripture and doctrine in an understandable way. A strong emphasis is placed on God’s love and goodness, throughout the chapters. Each chapter has a “centering,” “sharing,” and ”acting” component.
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