Our Kindergarten is an exciting classroom where children engage in creative play to ignite their imaginations and create community, while building foundational skills to support them in becoming mathematicians, authors, and readers. We start each day with a Morning Meeting, which helps us to create a common repertoire of songs, games, and activities. Throughout the day, students are challenged to work cooperatively, with many hands-on group activities, and can often be found making use of our beautiful campus as we extend our classroom to the outdoors.
Our Language Arts curriculum is rich and exciting, as students are taking their first steps toward literacy. We explore a variety of literary genres through quality literature. Students learn recognition and reproduction of upper and lower case letters through the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. They develop phonemic awareness as they learn letter sounds and names, and gain an understanding of the conventions of print through daily games and lessons. Emergent literacy skills and strategies are developed through authentic reading and writing opportunities during our Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop and from engagement at our literacy centers. Our goal is for all of our students to enjoy the purpose and process of reading and writing, as well as view themselves as authors and readers.
Singapore Math, which is based on the understanding of how children learn, helps students to monitor their own thought processes and problem-solving strategies. In Kindergarten, students learn to match, sort, order, and identify shapes and patterns, experiment with length, weight, time, and money, compare and contrast, and begin to add and subtract numbers up to twenty.
Because Kindergarten and 1st Grade combine for Social Studies, we have an alternating curriculum: one year focusing on Community and the next on The Hudson Valley. Our Community curriculum explores various communities that we are a part of, beginning with our families, our classroom, our school, and finally spreading outward to our towns. We go on various field trips to learn about community helpers and institutions like the firehouses, farms, post offices, and local merchants. We also explore the natural community around us and learn about what animals and plants live in our community and how we affect and are affected by them. Our Hudson Valley curriculum enables children to continue to develop their own sense of place in their world. Following a natural progression, beginning with themselves, learning about their homes and families, and getting to know their peers and school community gives them a launching pad to exploring beyond to our broader community in the Hudson River Valley. Students study the Hudson River through the lenses of culture, continuity and change, individual identity, citizenship, and people, places, and the environment, and enjoying a variety of local field trips.
Life in school would not be complete without exploration and discovery in the arts, movement, language and nature. At WDS, students are welcomed into the world of creativity; during weekly specials, Kindergarteners make art and music, learn cooperative games in Physical Education, learn to sing and greet one another in Spanish, play with their older buddies, plant and pick vegetables and herbs in our garden, take walks in our woods, and spend time reading with our librarian. Thanks to annual residencies with local artists, our Kindergarten students spend several weeks learning to drum and dance as they do in West Africa, and rehearse and perform a curriculum-related original class play at our weekly Friday Gathering.