Kindergarten Course Descriptions 

Language Arts

The comprehensive language arts program in kindergarten is multifaceted. We use the Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory approach of reading instruction, which is a phonetically based method of teaching that incorporates visual, auditory, and kinesthetic activities. Our Junior Great Books curriculum provides opportunities for children to exercise the whole range of language and critical thinking skills needed to become good readers, as they learn to ask questions and share answers about the meaning of stories and poems. We also teach cursive handwriting, with the focus on lower-case letter formation and proper pencil grip. Key areas of reading readiness skills:

  • Letter-naming fluency

  • Initial-sound fluency

  • Phonics instruction

  • Cursive handwriting

Mathematics

The Math in Focus (the U.S. version of Singapore Math) Kindergarten program consists of classroom learning experiences structured around the IntroduceDiscover – Explore – Apply format:

  • Introduce invites children to sing, clap, rhyme, and discuss colorful, playful scenes presented in the Big Book while the teacher systematically elicits related math talk.

  • Discover provide hands-on work in small groups or pairs to allow children to act out or engage actively with the new math idea.

  • Explore reinforces and enhances concepts as children go one step further with the concept.

  • Apply provides children the opportunity to work independently with paper and pencil to practice the new concept or skill.

Social Studies

Kindergarten social studies focuses on systems, showing how all the individual parts work together to make something function properly.  The year-long curriculum moves from the child’s immediate locality gradually to the world beyond where they live.  Studying selected topics in world culture and geography fosters curiosity and the beginnings of understanding about the larger world. Units of study include:

  • Local community: my home, school, town

  • North Carolina and the USA, including the arrival of Pilgrims to the New World

  • The seven continents: cultures, celebrations, geography, famous landmarks

  • The solar system and space travel

Science

Kindergarten science focuses on systems, showing how all the individual parts work together to make something function properly.  The science program in kindergarten is a combination of hands-on experiments as well as direct instruction.  The science units are woven into the study of the seven continents to show the connection between where people/animals live and how they live. Units of study:

  • Climates and weather

  • Biomes / habitats for animals and people

  • Space

Spanish

Spanish continues in Kindergarten, with a total of 60-minutes of lively Spanish classes each rotating week, divided into three 20-minute sessions of complete immersion. Our program focuses on listening and familiarizing students with the sounds, common phrases, basic vocabulary, and culture of the diverse Spanish speaking countries around the globe, keeping the focus on communication. Total Physical Response, or TPR, is the main method used to teach Spanish, using visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (VAK) activities aimed towards engaging students’ different learning styles.  We create a class atmosphere that is lively, fun and safe, as we incorporate songs, art projects, role playing, realia, and a myriad of games. Cultural activities are also introduced to promote curiosity, awareness, respect, and perspective. Sample units of study:

  • Greetings

  • Basic commands

  • Courtesy expressions

  • Commonly used phrases

  • Numbers 1-10

  • Colors, shapes and patterns

  • Stating likes and dislikes

  • Selected action verbs

Art

Two and three-dimensional art forms such as drawing, painting, and sculpture give voice to each child’s imagination and individuality. Children progress at their own pace, and process is much more important than finished product. Students have a chance to really explore their unique creativity while working on fine motor skills.  The Elements of Art are explored this year- line, shape, color, texture, form, and space.  Projects are often integrated with students’ academic classroom topics. Sample areas of focus:

  • Introduce the vocabulary of art and design

  • Observe, interpret and discuss works of art

  • Learn to control and manipulate scissors, paintbrushes, glue, and clay tools

  • Cooperate by sharing tools and art materials with tablemates

Music

The kindergarten music experience creates an active space for the whole child’s creative potential. Meeting twice a week for 30-minute sessions, the program focuses on introducing rhythm, melody, and notation while engaging the whole body in creative movement. Performance opportunities broaden the singer’s vocal literature and offer skills in public presentations. Sample units of study:

  • Holt’s “The Planets”

  • American music

  • Orff instrumental introduction

Physical Education

The primary focus of physical education in kindergarten is gross motor skills. We will

introduce and work on different locomotor skills in a fun and active way. Games and

activities are structured to be inclusive, highly active, and fun for all students; academic

and wellness concepts will be integrated. Kindergarten students come to PE twice a

week, and they have a movement class every Wednesday. Components of our program

include:

  • Locomotor skills: running, skipping, galloping, side slides, and jogging

  • Jump rope and rhythmic movement, which culminates with our annual lower school family dance

  • Gross motor skills: kicking, striking, throwing and catching

  • Cooperation and sportsmanship

  • Balance and coordination

  • Gymnastics: Jumping, tumbling, balance, arm strength

Library

The lower school library supports the Carolina Day School curriculum, encourages reading, and promotes research. More than 20,000 titles are available to students and parents via the web-based catalogue, along with a variety of electronic databases, print periodicals, DVDs, and audio resources. The library program is designed to foster a love of reading and to teach skills in locating and evaluating information. A primary focus is on providing appropriate and enticing materials for diverse reading interests and wide ranging reading abilities, so all students can find materials to support their learning and joy of reading. Lower school students are welcome to independently visit the library throughout the school day with their teacher’s permission.  Weekly library visits include:

  • Introduction to a variety of authors and genres intentionally selected to foster early literacy skills

  • Reading from the North Carolina Children’s Book Award nominees

  • Active listening, practice of early literacy skills, and contributing to class discussions

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