WE ARE A FAMILY OF LEARNERS
Kindergarten Teaching Team
This overview of the Kindergarten curriculum will help guide you through the instructional school year of your child.
Our classroom is designed for children to collaborate in study groups, while still having their own areas for working on individual projects. The room provides opportunities for choices, problem solving, and decision making. It enables the children to explore, experiment, engage in active learning and learn the appropriate ways to clean and care for the area.
Our classroom is both a stimulating and ordered environment. It is divided into various work areas, and the materials in each area are logically organized. This enables the children to act independently with as much control over the classroom as possible. Our environment provides an opportunity for choice in both academic and creative pursuits.
The emphasis in all curricular areas is on child-centered, active learning with hands-on materials, both teacher and student directed.
The students deserve to be a members of a safe, conflict-free classroom in which they will be happy to be themselves, as well as to hear, to be heard and to learn. Each child will work to his or her personal best in an atmosphere of mutual respect and tolerance for individual differences and abilities.
PBIS and LIFESKILLS/LIFELONG GUIDELINES
Highlands School supports a school-wide program based on the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework. Through PBIS, we will emphasize positive intervention and instruction of social behavior. We focus on: Be Safe. Be Respectful. Be Responsible.
The staff and students are continuing to model a brain compatible method of education (HET). As well as providing excitement in the academic areas, it serves as a school-wide code of behavior using “Lifeskills and Lifelong Guidelines.”
Highlands School instruction is based on the Common Core State Standards. Our assessments will reflect CCSS instruction in language arts and math. Report cards will be distributed three times a year. The first report to will be sent home in December. We will also schedule a parent-teacher conference in early December. Please make an effort to attend the conference.
The children will use a full range of manipulative materials, including pattern blocks, unifix cubes, geometric shapes, counters, and beans. The learning objectives center on concepts of patterning, counting to 30, sorting and classifying, problem solving, shapes, graphing, and number concepts. There will also be practice in beginning addition and subtraction. The School District math program is enVision Math. The children will work on the lessons at school and take home support materials, which will contain follow-up activities to do at home. (Please read the attached sheet for more information on enVision Math.)
Language Arts integrates four areas: reading, writing, listening and speaking. These skills are taught through a literature-based program that draws from a variety of reading materials. During this year, we will use the following materials: Benchmark Advance Reading series, Raz Kids, leveled books from our leveled book library, and curriculum-related trade books. We will also have a block of time where students will work on reading skills at their own level.
The students will develop a variety of decoding and comprehension skills. Phonics will be taught through direct instruction, as well as within reading and writing activities. The focus is on building letter recognition, building sounds and progressing in reading skills using seasonal and topical themes. There are many high interest paperback readers for the children, appropriate for group reading as well as for individualized reading for those children who are already at the beginning reader stage. Sight words/high frequency words will be taught and reinforced throughout the year. Finally, strategies using grammar and context will be studied as part of reading development.
Writing is an essential part of our Language Arts program. Students will write regularly for a variety of purposes. Initially, their writing will consist of pictures and/or inventive spelling. As their skills progress, we will work on the writing process and writing complete and multiple sentences.
Speaking and listening are a natural part of this curriculum as well as all the other subject areas studied throughout the day.
Local environment and seasonal items/realia will be explored under the year-long theme: “Discoveries.” We will make connections to the “real world” and give meaning to everything we do.
We will explore life under our feet, in the trees and in the water. The Lawrence Hall of Science Foss Kits will guide our curriculum. The FOSS Kits form the basis of science instruction, with three major topics this year being Trees, Paper and Wood, and Animals Two by Two.
In social studies we will begin to learn about the seasons, discuss many American traditions, compare the past to the present, and study the world around us and those living in other places. We will have many multi-cultural experiences. (If you have an expertise in any area and would like to share it with the students, please let your child’s teacher know.)
PMT (Physical Motor Training)
The children will participate in PMT regularly. It is very important that they wear tennis shoes to protect them from getting hurt. If your child is not in the appropriate shoes, your child may be asked to sit out for the day.
CLASSROOM ROUTINES AND PROCEDURES
HOMEWORK AND THURSDAY ENVELOPES
Homework folders will go home at the beginning of each month and should be returned completed at the end of that same month. Thursday envelopes will go home most Thursdays, except those weeks there are no PTA papers to send home. Please look through and read each item. Return the envelope, empty, on Friday morning.
A nightly Reading Folder will go home with charts and/or stories at your child’s reading level. Please practice each night with your child. Send the folder back to school each day. The teacher or a volunteer will have your child read one of the charts/stories. If he/she can fluently read the chart/story, then a new one will be assigned. (Due to busy schedules, sometimes the folder will not come home. That is okay. It will be kept at school and done the next day.)
SNACKS AND OTHER NECESSITIES
Provide breakfast at home and send a snack for your child.
We do have students at Highlands who have severe reactions to foods or food products (i.e. peanuts, tree nuts, soy, milk, eggs and dairy). It is important to stress to your child that we do not share food at school. Our birthday celebrations will be non-food activities. Some holiday parties may have food.
The children work up quite an appetite during the morning, and they really get hungry! As we only have 20 minutes to eat and play during our 10:00 a.m. snack break, a small snack works better than a large meal. If a child forgets to bring a snack, he/she will purchase a snack or get a snack from the teacher. Snacks can be purchased at school after establishing an account at myschoolbucks.com. If your child is not going home after school is let out, please make clear to your child which food is for snack and which food should be saved to eat for lunch.
Please LABEL all clothing and help your child choose the appropriate clothing for school. Also label backpacks and snack bags. Closed toed shoes are a must for safety.
We will be going to the library every week. Each child is allowed to take home one library book. This book must be returned by the following library visit. Please help your child to be responsible for his/her book each week. Lost books must be paid for before your child will be able to check out another book.
Several times throughout the year a book order form will be sent home from Scholastic Reading Club. This is an optional program whereby you may purchase quality books at reasonable prices. If ordering, please return the completed order form and a check made out to Scholastic by the date written on the form. You may also choose to order and pay online with our class code.
We celebrate student birthdays throughout the school year. Each kindergarten teacher has her own birthday routines and will be explaining them at BTSN. Please do not send in any snacks for the class on a birthday. Several students have allergies and we will not be passing out any food to the class.
Parent volunteers are a big part of our educational program at Highlands School. There are many ways to help. Some parents work in the classroom on a weekly basis and some when their schedule permits. Volunteers will either be working with groups of children or helping the teacher. Please check with your child’s teacher to find a suitable time to volunteer.
If your work outside or in your home does not permit classroom time, but you wish to be involved, taking home cut-and-paste or other items to help out is greatly appreciated. There will also be opportunities to chaperone field trips, as well as assist during classroom parties.
There are some minor things that really do make a difference for your child. As busy as those mornings are, arriving at school before the bell alleviates the breathless rush into class, and reduces stress for your child. A calm entrance helps with a calm day. Even children who are not morning people need an energy boost before their day of work and play begins. There is a lot that is expected of them mentally and physically at school. Eating breakfast or just a healthy snack before class, even if it is just a glass of juice, does wonders for their energy and attention.
Please NO TOYS at school. Only teacher invited sharing items will be allowed.
This year is a very exciting and challenging one for both the parents and children. We are excited to be your children’s teachers and introduce them to their first year at Highland School. By working together, we can make this a positive and productive experience for your child. We are looking forward to a FABULOUS year!
Your children are our “special treasures” and we will do our personal best to make this year a very special and memorable one!
Judy Davis (Room K1)
Joan Radsliff (Room K2)
Courtney Krueger (Room 1)
Please feel free to call or email if you have any questions or concerns.
The mornings and immediately after school are rather busy times and it is difficult to visit during that time.