In kindergarten, literacy is based in the science of reading and taught in small, differentiated learning centers using hands-on materials and manipulatives. Students master letter names and sounds (phonics), phonemic awareness, red words (high-frequency words), and small group reading instruction using decodable readers. In writing, students learn correct letter formation, the spelling of red words, how to write their names, creating detailed pictures, and writing labels and simple sentences in narrative and informational texts.
The kindergarten Spanish program uses a variety of approaches to differentiate and accelerate language acquisition for all learners. Using Comprehensible Input, present in both TPR/TPRS (Total Physical Response/Storytelling), kindergarteners are exposed to basic greetings, common and cognate animals, descriptive words, basic colors, numbers, simple body parts, and commonly used verbs through movement, stories, games, and multi-sensory activities. Instruction focuses on a specific word or structures and uses repetitive questioning that accentuates and repeats the structure. This form of instruction engages students and the structures quickly become comprehensible.
Kindergartners have Physical Education three times during each eight-day cycle. Students are encouraged to embrace challenges and learn from their experiences while developing skills of teamwork, communication, and a sense of fair play. Kindergarten students develop and practice hopping, galloping, running, sliding, skipping, and jumping skills. They learn how to form wide, narrow, curled, and twisted body shapes and contrast the actions of curling and stretching. An additional focus for this grade level is throwing, catching, volleying, striking, and dribbling a ball with hands and feet. Students also learn to execute a single jump with a self-turned rope.
The Lower School library curriculum encourages students to be information literate, to become independent learners, and to engage in social responsibility. They read; are read to; make connections between the class curriculum and library resources; share their stories; learn to be inclusive and open-minded through an array of literature; and find joy in reading. Kindergarteners learn about the library world (our school’s and local public library), what a “just-right book for me” means, and about books’ classification (that every book has an address).
In kindergarten social studies, students explore and celebrate similarities and differences in identity, focusing on family structure, race, culture, and gender. Students also expand their social world by establishing pen-pal relationships with another Oakland kindergarten class to make connections in the community. Through our A Life Like Mine project, we honor one student each week by learning all about their inner and outer worlds.
The Mandarin program at this early stage aims to spark students’ interest in learning a new language, Mandarin Chinese, through exposure to a variety of topics. This includes basic greetings, counting, basic body parts, and commonly used verbs through movement, stories, games, and multi-sensory activities.
In kindergarten, students work to develop their general ability for music through lessons that introduce and reinforce a wide range of musical concepts. Call-and-response and echo songs used to develop pitch matching, along with singing games from different cultures, provide opportunities for students to sing alone and with others. Kindergartners also learn rhythmic playing, movement, and listening skills.
In kindergarten, service learning focuses on understanding what resources students need to learn in a classroom setting. In addition to being Pen Pals with an Oakland Public School, we also work to survey, fundraise, collect, and deliver school supplies to another kindergarten classroom.
In kindergarten math, students explore math concepts in multi-sensory ways through differentiated small-group instruction and centers featuring the use of manipulatives. Students learn patterns, the calendar, measurement, estimation, addition, subtraction (up to 20), shapes, ordinal numbers, number facts, and develop number sense to 100.
In kindergarten, in DBi, students practice designing (intentionally planning) and building (putting things together to form something) to develop their inner creative and collaborative designer. Students explore form, function, and imagination. Students work in the DBi Lab ten times throughout the year.
In kindergarten, cooks and gardeners at Redwood Day learn that our food system is all connected. Students observe the life cycles of animals and plants and provide a habitat for them to grow and thrive. Beginning cooks learn knife skills and identify the five tastes while engaging in projects that connect with the core classroom.
In kindergarten, Equity and Inclusion groups focus on developing community agreements that support our kindergarten community. Students learn to speak from the "I" perspective and understand similarities and differences among their peers. They examine the difference between equality and equity and share experiences from their lives. Kindergarteners explore themes such as family, racial and gender identity, "inside" and "outside" me, and also become comfortable sharing and celebrating our pronouns.
Science in kindergarten focuses on life cycles, the five senses, animals, and the properties of materials. Activities include Kapla Block engineering and exploring fabric through weaving and sewing. Kindergarten scientists learn to ask questions based on observations to find more information about the natural and designed world(s).
Lower School art is where students explore and express their creativity through a variety of mediums and study artists from diverse backgrounds. Instruction is fluid and philosophically rooted in the idea that all children are artists and that growth comes from continuous practice, experimentation, and reflection. Projects in kindergarten include creating shadow puppets based on those of Southeast Asia, forming clay tiles with stick and leaf impressions, and artist studies of Eric Carle and Dyani White Hawk.
Kindergarten develops skills “driving” a mouse, following oral/written directions, and focusing on task completion. They learn to tackle problems independently, and seek support from peers before asking for teacher help. Much of the year, students work with Pixie with a brief foray into Hyperstudio, and go online in the spring.