The kindergarten reading curriculum immerses children in the world of literature and encourages a love of books from many different genres. Instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, and other critical literacy skills supports each student’s development as a reader. Comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, fluency and critical thinking skills are emphasized throughout the curriculum. Kindergarteners develop at different times and at their own pace. Our curriculum recognizes and addresses the unique beginning literacy development of each student. The reading instructional time is divided between direct instruction and a workshop model where students work in small groups with the teacher. Independent reading time allows students to interact with books and apply newly acquired reading skills.
The kindergarten writing curriculum encourages students to experience writing through their own development as a writer. Children are encouraged to express their thoughts through pictures, attempts at words, and full sentence writing, depending on where they are developmentally. Students explore narrative writing as well as develop their skills in academic writing. Through explicit teaching, practice applying strategies, studying mentor texts, and sharing writing, students engage in deep and thoughtful writing experiences. Students produce numerous pieces of formal writing that involve the full writing/revision process. Additionally, in each unit students apply their new writing skills to respond independently to a writing prompt under a given time constraint. The Units of Study program by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project serves as the core resource. The Kindergarten Curriculum includes the following units:
- Launching the Writing Workshop: This unit introduces students to the framework of a writing workshop, acknowledging that children will be at various stages in the writing process. Students write stories about themselves and their experiences, learning to revise and edit as they make their stories the best they can be.
- Writing for Readers: Children write true stories with the focus being on making their writing as readable as possible. They are presented with various strategies and tools to do this including using letter sounds and sight words. At the end of the unit, students take a single piece of writing to publication.
- How-To Books: Writing to Teach Others: Students write “how-to” texts on a procedure that is familiar to them. They study the writing of published authors (mentors), trying out simple techniques they notice in these texts to improve their own writing.
- Persuasive Writing of All Kinds: In this last unit, students craft persuasive letters to rally people to address problems in the classroom, the school, or the world.
District 27’s math curriculum emphasizes deep mathematical understanding and reasoning through real world problem situations. In addition to learning and practicing important math skills and concepts, students invent, question, model, represent, and explore math strategies to solve problems. The mathematical concepts, skills, and strategies connect and build across the grade levels. In grades K-5 students will explore math topics through Math Expressions by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. The kindergarten curriculum emphasizes two key areas: (1) working with whole numbers and (2) describing shapes and space. The curriculum contains the following units:
- Understanding Numbers 1-10: Using objects and making drawings, students represent numbers and develop their counting skills. Children learn to write the numbers 1-10. Addition and subtraction within 5 is introduced, and numbers through 10 are compared. Children identify circles, squares, and rectangles and use attributes to sort and compare these two-dimensional shapes.
- 5-Groups in Numbers 6-10: Children continue their study of numbers from 1 through 10 and simple shapes. They explore number order, the +1 and -1 relationships, grouping into 5, and partners for the numbers 1-10. Children learn and use the attributes of triangles and hexagons.
- Teen Numbers as Tens and Ones: Children develop counting and cardinality skills for numbers 11-20 and learn to show teen numbers as ten ones and some more ones. They deepen their understanding of addition and subtraction, tell and solve addition and subtraction story problems, and show expressions that represent the problems. Children compose new shapes with two-dimensional shapes.
- Partners, Problem Drawings, and Tens: Children continue to develop skills with addition and subtraction, including telling story problems and representing them with drawings, expressions, and equations. Children identify, describe, and name three-dimensional shapes including cubes, cones, cylinders, and spheres as well as describe relative positions of shapes.
- Consolidation of Concepts: Children deepen their understanding of addition and subtraction story problems by analyzing problems and solutions. Children are introduced to and compare the measurable attributes of length, height, weight, and capacity.
District 27’s elementary science curriculum emphasizes scientific processes/skills and builds students’ conceptual knowledge in biology, physics, chemistry, and earth science. The science program deliberately attends to students’ existing scientific ideas, provides authentic science experiences, encourages science exploration, and develops students’ science literacy. The kindergarten curriculum includes the following units:
- Senses: Through observation and experimentation students explore the five senses. They learn to use their senses to gather information, explore their environment, and describe items and experiences. The unit culminates in a Senses Fair.
- Wood and Paper: Students are introduced to a wide variety of woods and papers. They observe the properties of these materials and discover what happens when they are subjected to a number of tests and interactions with other materials. The experiments include floating different types of wood in water, determining which type of paper is best for writing, and testing the absorption rates of different types of paper. Students learn that wood and paper can be recycled to create new forms of paper or wood that have new properties. The concept of trees as a natural resource is introduced.
- Pushes and Pulls: In this unit, students take on the role of pinball engineers as they explore the effects of forces on the motion of an object. They conduct tests on their own prototypes of a pinball machine. Through class discussion, exploration, and reading, students expand their understanding of ideas related to force and motion as well as their ability to use language to describe these fundamental ideas. Throughout the unit, students learn about how engineers design and test solutions to problems.
The elementary social studies curriculum addresses five key themes of social studies: Geography, history, government, economics, and culture. Certain themes are addressed in more detail at certain grade levels. Social Studies Alive by TCI serves as the core resource. In kindergarten, students explore the concepts of school, friendship, and working together. This foundational learning helps students understand how we learn from each other, solve problems, and function as a community. During the first half of the year, significant emphasis is placed on social-emotional learning to build a common language and understanding around how to function in a school/classroom, have empathy for others, manage emotions, and problem-solve. Throughout the year students study common holidays. The curriculum includes the following units:
- Who am I?
- Work Now and Long Ago
- How Can I Be a Good Helper at School?
- Who Helps Us at School?
- Why Is It Important to Learn from Each Other?
- Where am I in the World?