A few questions and answers about our kindergarten program, the curriculum, behavior expectations, and other things that I hope you find helpful.
What makes a good Kindergarten Program?
♥ ♥ ♥ A good program:
♥ Expands a child's ability to learn about the world, organize information and problem solve.
♥ Increases feelings of self-worth, confidence, the ability to work with others and an interest in challenging tasks.
♥ Allows children to express themselves through blocks, paint, clay and other creative materials.
♥ Allows a child to participate in formal and informal activities and projects.
♥ Exposes children to the written word through meaningful print around the room-books, posters, and charts, their own names.
♥ ♥ ♥ What to look for:
♥ Active, hands-on learning.
♥ A wide variety of materials accessible to children including art, dramatic play, blocks, science, writing and drawing materials, library books, and an environment set up for independence-room for small and large group activity.
What if my child is very bright.... or maybe has some learning difficulties?
All children can learn - but not all children learn the same way. Visual, auditory, kinesthetic learners are the most basic learning styles but there's a lot more beyond that! I don't just teach the kindergarten curriculum, I teach ~children~ and I do it however best meets each individual child's needs. I love working one on one with children who need extra attention and I love challenging gifted learners with exciting new things. Whatever your child might benefit from, it is my goal to provide it. The reward of seeing a child with learning problems make growth is sheer bliss for a teacher. We also provide additional services for children in need through a variety of well-researched programs. Bright children need lots of attention as well - I have two gifted children of my own so I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve! Pretty much every lesson is enhanced to extend higher level thinking. I motivated my higher learners to stretch themselves well-beyond our basic work and we also have individual and small group projects for students who are ready. In kindergarten, students are able to shine through not just in reading, writing, and math, but also through music, art, "theater", or whatever talent they possess. Every child has strengths and we celebrate each one!
What will my child learn about?
♥ ♥ ♥ So many things that it's daunting to think of listing even a fraction of them! Here are the basics:
♥ Language Arts - Children will learn letters, sounds, blending, handwriting, sight words, reading strategies, writing sentences, and., of course, how to read!
♥ Math - Children will understand numbers through measuring, graphing, comparing, writing and matching quantities, and to solve meaningful problems using manipulatives. We will also work on patterns, comparisons, time, money and a variety of other math concepts. Students will add and subtract.
♥ Science - Children will learn to apply thinking skills such as hypothesizing, observing, experimenting, and verifying. A variety of topics will be studied including seasons, weather, volcanoes, life cycles, animals, etc.
♥ Social Studies - Children will explore values, learn rules of social living, and respect for individual differences.
♥ Specialists - Children will benefit from the curriculum of weekly Art, PE, Music, Library and Computers.
♥ Socialization - Children will learn how to positively interact with others.
Will my child learn to read and to write in kindergarten?
"Do not make a bed out of volcanoes if the scientists say that it is going to explode." ~ Sage advice from Za!
♥ ♥ ♥ Yes! All of the children will learn to read and write! Some children, however, may not be able to read or write at the level set by the Arizona State Standards - but not meeting one of the State Standards does not necessarily mean your child will need an extra year of kindergarten. I will be in touch with you if your child is having difficulties and you will already be aware of any problems through observing your child on homework activities.
♥ ♥ A good number of the children learn to read and write well-above grade level. I work with them one on one or in small groups to challenge them on further. Students are provided a near-endless supply of books right at their reading level and there are plenty of choices of types of literature. Some of the kids love writing wonderful stories, letters to family - or anyone, others prefer to write every fact they know about dinosaurs or other things.
♥ The children will read daily in a literacy-rich environment using the SmartBoard, "big books", class books, take-home books, poems, charts, etc.
♥ The children will learn Letters, Sound Relationships, Phonics Skills, Word Recognition, Reading Strategies, Handwriting, and Writing Conventions (spacing, periods, etc).
♥ The children will write daily to express and to communicate ideas by incorporating invented spelling, (using letters to represent a word in their own way), labeling, word walls, etc.
♥ ♥ ♥ Celebrate everything your child reads! ♥ ♥ ♥
What is the best way to keep in touch and how can I support my child at school?
♥ Contact me for ANYTHING! Email is the easiest for me, but feel free to call or stop by before or after school - or write me a note! The only times I can't chat with you is when there are children in the room with me and when I have a meeting.
~~~ Room 11 ~~~ ~~~ 520 696 6531 ~~~ ~~~ firstname.lastname@example.org ~~~The best way for you to support your child in his or her education is to set up a daily homework time where your child gets your help and you can read the bizillion letters and flyers that get sent home. This way you know what is going on I the classroom and you can see which areas your child is excelling in and which areas may need extra practice at home. Sincere praise is one of your most effective way of ensuring your child's educational success. Life is 99.9% attitude. You can also use that time to ooh and ahh over the class work that your child brings home. The Friday homework includes tons of parent information. The office sends home most of the important notices - including The Howling Good News - on Thursdays. If you are able to volunteer in the room I would be delighted to put you to work! Set up a regular day of the week to help or just drop by when you can!
Will my child be given work to do at home?
♥ ♥ ♥ Homework will be sent home every Friday and will be due back the following Friday. The district goal for kindergarten is 15 minutes of homework time every day. The reason for homework is not only for reinforcement and practice, but to teach routine and responsibility. Establish a routine time and place to complete the homework. Set aside a short amount of time each day. Model how to organize the work and workspace. If your child can accomplish the work in less than 15 minutes a day, we ask that you provide additional activities for your child (feel free to ask for ideas!) In addition, please read with your child every day. Please be sure to sign your child's homework after you have had a chance to read the information and the work is done. Handwriting is a focus of our homework during the first quarter in particular. We work on it in class but watching 20 or so kids with 6 or so letters in each name is no small task! PLEASE watch and help your child write his or her name.
How will conflicts between children be handled? What are the classroom rules and management??
♥ ♥ ♥ We are active participants in Ben's Bells Kind Kids.
♥ Our Kind Kid Pledge:
I am a Kind Kid. I pledge to be: Respectful, Responsible, Kind, Cooperative, and Proud. I promise to treat others as I would like to be treated and speak to others as I would like to be spoken to.
♥ ♥ ♥ It is important for children to learn responsibility for their own behavior. Our practices include:
♥ Setting clear limits for positive behaviors.
♥ Redirecting children to an acceptable activity.
♥ Conferencing with child.
♥ Time out.
♥ ♥ ♥ A few positive and simple rules:
♥ Follow directions.
♥ Quiet hands, feet and voices.
♥ Keep your hands and/feet to yourself.
♥ Be safe and nice!
♥ ♥ ♥ I use a proven, effective behavior program that begins with a list of expectations which are generated by and discussed with the children. When a child does something kind, s/he moves up a color on the classroom chart. If a child breaks one of the rules, the child moves down a color. Each child begins the day on Green - Ready to Learn or higher if the child moved up the day before.
Our Behavior Chart:
- Gold ~ Role Model ~ The child did so many kind and wonderful things, s/he is a role model for everyone.
- Purple ~ Outstanding ~ The child did several kind and wonderful things and is an outstanding student.
- Blue ~ Great ~ The child did something particularly kind and is a great kiddo.
- Green ~ Ready to Learn ~ The child had good behavior all day. Everyone starts the day here or above!
- Yellow ~ Needs to Think ~ The child broke a rule and received a warning.
- Orange ~ Needs to Make Better Choices ~ The child broke another rule (or did something fairly serious) and sat out for five minutes of recess.
- Red ~ Needs Time Away ~ The child either had a third incident or committed a serious offense and was sent to the Responsibility Room for 15 minutes.
♥ ♥ ♥ A record is kept of behavior problems and, if necessary, recorded on the report card. Children with consistently good behavior earn "first choice" with various things and are celebrated. Please contact me if a change in your home is upsetting to your child and I will contact you if I see a change in your child's behavior.
What is the basis of the curriculum?
♥ ♥ ♥ We follow the Arizona State Standards and Amphitheater District Curriculum to ensure that the students meet the minimum competencies in all areas. We often integrate subjects. Our goal is to exceed the state standards in every area with every child. We work to achieve this goal using fun and engaging activities and without ";pushing"; children. Our primary goal is for children to love school and love learning. We work to develop life-long learners.
Our language arts, math, science, social studies, and other programs have been heavily researched. We chose these programs with great care and we invite you to take a closer look at them either by coming into class or by looking them up on the internet.
♥ Language Arts - Reading Street by Scott Foresman
♥ Math - My Math by McGraw-Hill
♥ Science - Engineering is Elementary by the Museum of Science, Boston
♥ Social Studies - Studies Weekly and Scholastic's Let's Find Out
♥ ♥ ♥ Our curriculum, as you will see if you check out the AZ State Standards website, is quite extensive and we keep very busy in class! The children gobble it all up and ask for more!