Kindergarten Curriculum Overview
Kindergarten at Hilldale School is a year of rich introductions to the fascinating academic world. It is a full-day program in which students progress quickly through the usual introductory Kindergarten curriculum and mostly through material normally covered in First Grade.
Incoming Kindergarten students must have a long enough attention span to handle an extensive but fun program without nap times by the time they enter school in the fall. They should have adequate social, motor, and language skills to allow them to take part in classroom activities. Academically, they should know most or all of the following: the alphabet and the corresponding letter sounds; how to write their first and last names; be able to draw a picture of a person; know numbers to 20; understand the basic concepts of one to one correspondence, shapes and sizes, and number grouping; and have an above-average vocabulary for children of their age. Those children who are still developing in some of these basic concepts are given special summer assignments.
In Kindergarten, a language-rich environment is created where the children have an opportunity to participate in oral communication, develop listening skills, be exposed to many forms of literature, and to express themselves through their drawings and words. Poetry, rhymes, and common sayings are introduced as a means to strengthen vocabulary and encourage imagination. Scott Foresman Reading Street program helps students understand and apply phonics, vocabulary, spelling, reading comprehension, and the components of a story. Faster students are encouraged to use and increase their reading skills. Handwriting techniques and the basic rules of spelling are introduced from the start. By January most children are able to read simple stories and to make use of their reading and writing skills in other subject areas. By the end of the year, most are fluent and independent readers.
Kindergarteners enjoy a hands-on approach combined with direct instruction in the development of mathematical concepts. Students begin by studying number bonds and the concept of base-10 through our exploration of Singapore Math. Concepts which are explored include number sense, patterns, classification, space, measurements and tools of measurement, basic geometrical figures, graphing, comparisons, critical thinking, and basic addition and subtraction. Students also learn the process of counting by 2's, 5's, and 10's to 100, the basic concepts of place value, time to the half hour and quarter hour, graph interpretation, sorting, estimation, geometry concepts, measurement, and problem solving. Singapore math stresses creativity and the many right ways to get to the right answer.
Life science concepts covered in Kindergarten include learning about living and nonliving things, how plants and animals grow, why plants and animals need one another, and what types of life are found in different habitats and places in the world. Earth science concepts include the weather, seasons, and air (movement and temperature). Physical science concepts explore sound and light. Students are encouraged to observe, measure, and predict through experiments, thematic units, and reading materials.
Each year the class joins together to do a group science project for the annual Science Fair, helping them to learn the important concepts of observation, prediction, gathering information, and recording results.
The study of geography begins in Kindergarten with the themes of home, school, communities, our country, the world continents, and environmental change. The importance of history is stressed through the study of families, communities, native American peoples, the early exploration and settlement of America, the most famous presidents, and the reason for various holidays and traditions. Students learn about good citizenship, responsibility, social behavior, and the value of community living, whether in school, at home, or in our country. An appreciation for these topics is encouraged through literature and art.
International studies focuses on Antarctica, Australia, and New Zealand. Students will explore the history, geography, weather, animals, music, art, people, and customs of these regions, as they prepare for their dramatic presentation at the International Fair in June.
Spanish classes emphasize an enjoyable introduction to the language. Through puppets, songs, art, drama, and movement, students learn greetings, farewells, commands, colors, days of the week, numbers, letters, and other basic vocabulary. They also make use of the language to reinforce what they are learning in Mathematics, Language Arts, and Social Studies classes. Spanish is taught two times a week.
Kindergarten students work with various materials as they experiment and challenge themselves through different art projects. They learn about the basic elements of art including color theory, lines and shapes, patterns and textures, and types and uses of art. Students have art class once a week with an art specialist and participate in many art activities across the curriculum.
Through participation vocally and instrumentally, Kindergarteners are introduced to the world of formal music education, and they learn a great deal of music vocabulary in the process. In addition, Kindergarteners learn how to identify quarter notes, quarter rests, and the treble clef sign; how to discern tempo changes, pitch differences, and dynamics changes; and how to show this knowledge through vocalization and use of the glockenspiel. Additionally, they learn to how to sign in unison, call and response, and using hand signals. Students will learn how to identify percussion instruments and describe how sound is made. Students will learn basic dance movements. Kindergarteners explore The Surprise Symphony, Stars and Stripes Forever, and The Carnival of the Animals to develop appreciation and understanding of music. Students enhance their performance skills through participation in the all-school Winter Fest and the Spring showcases. Students have music once a week.
Our Physical Education curriculum teaches students the basic skills of throwing and catching a ball and moving a ball with the hand or foot. They develop gross motor skills and agility through tumbling movements such as forward rolls, backward rolls and basic cartwheels. Students also begin learning basic game fundamentals and cooperation. They have Physical Education two times a week.
Kindergarten students learn basic tech skills on the ipad. Students learn how to turn the device on and off properly, how to log in and out of various apps, and more. Students also use ixl.com for supplemental math instruction and KidsA-Z.com for supplemental, individualized reading instruction. Kindergarten students enjoy creating projects using Storyboard that and more.
Kindergarten students study the Seven Habits of Happy Kids as they learn how to "think win-win" and remember that "teamwork is best." Additionally, they learn about friendship, sharing, understanding emotions, how to respect personal space, how to apologize, and how to make eye contact. They will also study the Hilldale Virtues of the Month, our monthly villains, the Kindergarten heroes, and study what makes up our Hilldale Habits: Respect, Leadership, and Independent Lifelong Learning. All students participate in Service Learning projects which help students understand their relationship and responsibility to the world at a young age. Students participate in the Peace First curriculum designed to teach hands-on, social-emotional skills and nurture friendships. This year the focus is on identifying all the ways that each child is special and important.