Last Thursday, the Prep School English department held its annual Summer Reading Symposium for 11th and 12th grade students.
Enter a kindergarten classroom at CGPS and you’ll notice how many different learning activities are happening concurrently. Through joyful engagement, our kindergarten students develop lifelong capacities for creative thinking, self-confidence, awareness of others and enthusiasm for academic learning.
A love for reading and numeracy is cultivated in kindergarten. Students also emerge as writers as they hone their storytelling skills. Students learn through choice, exploration and collaboration. Through differentiated instruction, the academic and social emotional programs in kindergarten are tailored so that all students can learn. Small group and individual experiences allow for specialized attention. Extending their understanding of community to include our school, kindergarten students learn about the different roles people play in their immediate surroundings. Beyond the classroom, our kindergarten learners experience different specialized classes in physical education, music, art, Spanish, chess, swim, yoga and mindfulness, library and dance.
Kindergartners at CGPS explore the school community and the neighborhood by venturing on many field trips throughout the year. Students visit museums, zoos, farms, markets and more all year round. Kindergarten students explore the engineering process during the kindergarten fairytale unit. The students work collaboratively to build a house to protect their pigs from the big bad wolf and learn about teamwork and perseverance. Through the fairytale unit, the students learn about elements of a fairytale, compare and contrast many fairytales and create their own. Each child is unique and we believe that it is our responsibility at CGPS to meet the individual physical, social, intellectual and emotional needs of each child. Students in our kindergarten program experience a tremendous period of intense growth with a low student-to-teacher ratio in each classroom.
- Language Arts K
- Math K
- Spanish K
- Art K
- Music K
- Library K
- Physical Education K
- Music & Movement K
- Chess K
Our kindergarten language arts program provides a strong foundation for lifelong literacy learning. Kindergarten students arrive with varying reading readiness skills. Small group instruction, four days a week, with classroom teachers and reading specialists helps meet the needs of each individual child. Kindergarten classes use Fundations, a multi-sensory, research-based, explicit and systematic approach to reading and spelling with phonics. At the beginning of the school year, children work on increasing phonological awareness, reviewing letter identification and practicing letter sounds. As the year progresses, they move on to blending the sounds into words, and are then introduced to aspects of word and sentence structure. Students also learn a variety of decoding strategies and build sight word knowledge, to be able to read basic texts. This instruction is combined with the reading of rich literature and group discussions to support students in learning to identify important story elements. Using a workshop model and writing prompts, kindergarteners also engage in a variety of writing experiences. They write list books and letters to family and friends, and develop their storytelling skills by writing about personal experiences. Students practice lowercase letter formation in their writing, using the program Handwriting Without Tears.
The Grammar School mathematics program develops mathematical thinkers who can compute, communicate, collaborate, draw connections and use a variety of strategies. Thinking flexibly and persevering through investigations builds growth mindsets needed for problem solving. Skills build from grade to grade in each of the six strands of the math program: number sense, operations and computations, measurement and geometry, patterns and relationships, mathematical reasoning and data analysis. Concepts are taught from concrete to abstract levels with manipulative materials, paper and pencil work, games, performance tasks and literature. Our team of math specialists supports differentiated instruction and enrichment by collaborating with teachers on curriculum development and working with small groups of students.
Through continuous practice of counting, sorting and grouping various items, kindergarten students develop their understanding of one-to-one correspondence. Number sense is grown through estimation and skip counting, as well as through learning even and odd numbers and practicing concepts such as "before," "after," and "between." Students also learn to write numerals and arrange manipulatives for easier grouping. Exploring number patterns in 100s charts and 10s frames support numeracy understanding. Combinations of numbers that add up to 10 are emphasized. Measurement, geometry, addition, subtraction, money and problem solving are also studied throughout the year.
In Spanish, kindergarten students begin the year by learning greetings, colors, and numbers, followed by a unit about feelings. The students explore different ways to express their feelings through the popular song “Cinco calabazas” (“Five Little Pumpkins”). The children explore common weather expressions and clothing items by dressing a weather frog named Señor Sapo (Mr. Toad). The children read fairy tales, including “Tres cerditos” (“The Three Little Pigs”). Within this unit, they sequence events in the fairytales and sort objects by size. The children also complete units about community workers and farm animals. Throughout the year, kindergartners sing, chant, play games, create art projects and listen to stories in Spanish to reinforce vocabulary acquisition.
Kindergarten students spend their first year in the art studios exploring with art materials. They are introduced to the fundamentals of color, line and shape through drawing, painting, collage, printmaking and sculpture. The children artists are encouraged to engage in a variety of processes and techniques. By the second semester students begin working three dimensionally and continue to develop their ability to communicate visually.
The art studios provide children a valuable opportunity to express their feelings, thoughts and ideas in a safe and nurturing environment.
In kindergarten, students continue to access the natural joy of making music through movement, singing, playing instruments and listening to many kinds of music. While becoming familiar with the basic elements of music, students create songs and improvise instrumental pieces. Through active participation, partner songs, and games, students develop the elements of music as they prepare for music literacy in their future study of music. Students explore and interact with picture books, poetry and images as they connect the concepts from music to language, social studies, math and beyond.
During the kindergarten year, students form a deeper connection to both visual and linguistic literacy. We read stories that involve longer and more complex story lines, including non-fiction titles and easy readers. Kindergarten students alternate between Library and Reading Buddies classes each cycle. During Library, the librarians share a story, often engaging in conversation about questions or ideas the story might inspire. Afterwards, the children have the opportunity to choose a library book to take home. Students often come to Library with a topic or type of book that they are particularly interested in, and are able to make age-appropriate choices for themselves when selecting a book to take home. The librarians also help guide them towards books or topics that they might be interested in. This engenders a sense of responsibility and pride, and makes a positive connection to both books and to the library. In Reading Buddies, kindergarten students are paired with a Grammar School student in an older grade, who will remain their buddy throughout the full school year, forming a unique bond with one another. In a typical Reading Buddies class, the students will listen to a story, and either engage in an activity related to the book, or spend time reading books together. Kindergartners also attend author and illustrator visits throughout the year.
The kindergarten physical education curriculum consists of various individual, partner and group activities that focus on traveling movements, creative play, body awareness and control. Activities are also structured to introduce fundamental sports skills while giving children the opportunity to continue developing their individual performance and strengthening interpersonal relationships with their classmates.
Kindergarten dancers combine music and movement to create dance through storytelling and creative motion. Students incorporate gross motor movements such as skipping, galloping, jumping, leaping, bending, rolling and turning as well as concepts such as slow, fast, forward, backward, sideways, under and over into solo, partner and group dances. This fosters spatial and body awareness, self-expression, body and emotional regulation, and instills a love and appreciation of dance.
Kindergartners are encouraged to ask questions and keep their thinking flexible, while looking for clues and exploring ideas. Instructional model games and guided play help improve essential visualization skills. Learning engaging words to describe deeper concepts and ideas helps recollection, build verbalization skills, and increase their understanding of chess. Tactile learning using larger pieces and an extra-large board complements verbal and visual methods. Social abilities and language skills are also encouraged through our chess team activities and group discussions.