At WCSS, we are committed to balancing a focus on learning through play and challenging children in the academic areas. Our workshop approach to teaching means that kindergarteners spend most of the day working partnerships, small groups, or independently and that instruction is differentiated. We spend considerable time developing strong classroom communities and work hard on social and emotional skill development. Choice time is a key component of the curriculum.
Reading & Writing – Students learn that reading is about making meaning, begin to grasp foundational skills, and progress at their own pace. By the end of kindergarten, children are expected to be able to read level B-C books. Examples of B books are The Tree House (Story Box); Have You Seen My Cat by Eric Carle; Climbing (PM Starters); examples of C books are Brown Bear Brown Bear by Bill Martin; The Farm Concert (Storybox) Writing is also a priority, beginning with pictures and progressing phonetic writing as the year goes on.
Phonics – We use the Orton Gillingham approach which is designed to help ALL readers. Orton– Gillingham teaches the connections between sounds and letters and it pioneered the “multisensory” approach to teaching reading.
Envisions 2.0 Math – In math, we are strongly committed to a concept-based, problem-solving, hands-on approach to mathematics. We believe children need to be involved in constructing meaning in math, deciding on which strategies to use as they solve complex problems. But, we also know that children need to learn and practice basic math facts so that they can calculate quickly and efficiently, and so we do that as well. We follow the rigorous Next Generation Learning Standards and use games and story problems to engage students in working with numbers to 100. Students also use Number Talks as a form of math conversation around purposefully crafted problems that are solved mentally.
Amplify Science – We will explore: Sunlight and Weather; Forces (pushes and pulls); and, Needs of Plants and Animals.
Social Studies – Throughout the year, in Social Studies, students are introduced to WCSS Respect Initiative. Students also study Family and Community. Shared studies include: All About Us and Things in Our World and a School Study. Students go on curriculum-related field trips a number of times throughout the year.
Other Activities – All Kindergarteners have STEAM, makerspace time, visual art, music, drama, physical education, computer time, dance and Enrichment Clusters. The day incorporates many opportunities for movement during transitions and daily recess.