Kindergarten at Albany Academy for Girls addresses four major areas of a child’s development: cognitive, social, emotional and physical.
Kindergarten is where children:
• Gain a greater sense of autonomy and independence
• Learn to work and play cooperatively with others
• Develop a positive attitude toward school
• Are encouraged to see themselves as competent learners
• Participate in formal instructional activities
Social Readiness/Social Studies:
Kindergarten frequently represents a child’s first formal group situation. Through a variety of whole class and small group activities, children will develop an understanding of themselves and others in the classroom and school. As students begin to develop an understanding of different customs and traditions, they also become aware of their role as members of a community by learning about roles and responsibilities in the classroom. Social studies units will include learning about ourselves, friendships, feelings, and holidays/celebrations. We also focus on classroom manners, working cooperatively, sustaining 15-minute attention spans, demonstrating self-control and a sense of responsibility, recognizing rights of peers and playing interactively. Our goal is that children find security and thus take risks to learn.
Language Arts/Reading Program:
Many children in the Kindergarten classroom are in the process of becoming readers. Some are already readers. By the time the girls leave Kindergarten, they will be able to read something, whether it is environment print, basic sight/red words or a story book. Reading is an individual process. Just like one learns to crawl at different ages one learns to read at different times. The reading curriculum incorporates:
- Upper and Lower case letter recognition
- Letter sound association
- Phonemic awareness
- Sight word recognition
- Vocabulary development
- Develop growth in oral language
- Listening and speaking skills
- Letter writing/handwriting
- Journal/story writing
- Punctuation and sentence structure
- Listening and oral presentation skills
- Comprehension skills
- Dictations of CVC words and red words
Taking Students to a Higher Level of Thinking
After reading and being read to, children are taken to a higher level of thinking by:
- Class discussions
- Comprehending, interpreting and responding to literature
- Making Connections between personal experiences and stories
- Inferring the meaning of unfamiliar words
- Making predictions
- Drawing Conclusions
- Retelling the story
- Forming and expressing opinions
- Recognizing and discussing similarities/differences in several versions of a story
The classroom is organized into “learning centers.” A learning center can be defined as a place where a child or small group of children go to engage actively in some activity, such as, retelling a story, reading a big book, solving a problem, building with blocks, listening to a story, or painting a picture. Learning centers provide children with opportunities for hands-on learning, cooperative learning, social interaction and real life problem solving. The teacher facilitates learning during large and small group learning times, but at centers, children practice their skills, invent, create and explore. Centers present opportunities for personal growth at one’s individual pace.
The curriculum we use for math is Singapore Math. Singapore Math is a comprehensive, activity-based program that uses the pedagogical principles of the Singapore Math approach to help kindergarten students build a strong foundation in mathematics through fun-filled lessons and activities.
Here are the topics we cover in kindergarten:
- Numbers, number order, comparing numbers, number bonds
- Measurement (length and size)
- Weight and capacity
In Kindergarten, students will arrive at a variety of developmental stages. Some may be at the scribbling stage, some draw a few pictures, some write symbols that represent letters, and others have begun to write random letters. Still others may be writing some initial consonants to represent words. And finally, there are students who are writing sentences using traditional spelling. We have two jobs when it comes to writing. One is create an environment that fosters further development and secondly, help to move a child forward from where they are upon entrance. Like reading, while we provide the best possible environment, growth cannot be forced. It only occurs when the child is ready.
Growth in writing occurs as a result of writing. Modeling story writing and encouraging “sound” or “inventive spelling” allows children to feel confident and take risks. We have many opportunities to write throughout the school day. From journal writing to shared writing opportunities, such as, authoring a class book, the Kindergarten writing program exposes the girls to many open-ended writing activities and the growth is always impressive!