Core Courses for Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten
Junior Kindergarten – Kindergarten Curriculum
The JK curriculum is designed to include age-appropriate academic content to be learned in a developmentally appropriate context. For four and five-year-olds the context is play. Their play is their work! Children have an instinctive desire to connect with the world around them. Through self-directed and guided play they are able to connect what they already know and have experienced with the new ideas and skills they are learning daily. Junior Kindergarten is also where our students begin to build their early literacy and math skills. Their emerging cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills are stretched and strengthened as they work independently and side by side with their teachers. Thoughtfully planned centers are designed to entice engagement and invite active, open-ended exploration.
Our goal is to challenge our students to explore, think and inquire while learning to share and collaborate with their peers. Our classroom space is in a warm and cozy home with lots of natural light and inviting age-appropriate learning materials while residing in a community that invites us of to collaborate and learn with them in the lower, middle and upper school. We go to the Maker Space, visit the Orchestra students and collaborate with Mr. Lerner so our students can draw to his students’ music, celebrate the Kindergarten Derby with our Kindergarten friends, attend plays put on by our upper school students and participate in all school activities like field day and spirit days!
Kindergarten is a special time that provides young children the opportunity to creatively explore their unique talents and abilities, deepen their self-confidence and independence, and extend their academic experiences and abilities. In the kindergarten wing of the lower school, mathematics, social development, and literacy are explored in independent, small group, and whole-group settings that provide the opportunity for the kindergarten faculty to establish caring, supportive relationships with each student—relationships that nurture the inherent connection between cognitive learning and emotional/affective development. Challenging, cross-curricular experiences that stimulate divergent thinking, and provide experience in individual and cooperative problem solving, are emphasized in order to facilitate character development and critical thinking skills.
Core Courses for First and Second Grades
1st and 2nd Grade Curriculum
The first grade literacy curriculum balances both phonics and whole language helping the students transition into readers. The curriculum offers the student a broad background in mathematics and uses a spiral approach towards learning to explore mathematical content beyond basic arithmetic. Concepts are taught through problem-solving and basic skills practice are reinforced in a real-world context. Social Studies takes off in first grade through a study of each of the seven continents as well as the oceans. Children are taught respect for cultures around the world by developing an understanding of world cultures, customs as well as awareness of similarities and differences. We compare and contrast a variety of cultures around the world.
First graders at Collegiate are not only taught the content and curriculum, they are also taught why that content is important. First graders at Collegiate are expected to apply concepts and even teach others the content in order to confirm mastery of the concepts.
Second grade literacy is a balance between whole group, small group learning environments for reading and writing to enable each student to become a more fluent, independent reader and to continue to gain comprehension skills, as the reading material becomes increasingly complex. The spiral approach of the math program introduces students to build their understanding of math concepts while simultaneously increasing his/her accuracy of the basic facts. The social studies curriculum provides engaging opportunities for students to learn about their community, geography concepts and citizenship. In addition, Second graders complete community service projects in honor of veterans throughout the school year. The second grade program also allows each student to develop his/her self-esteem as well as help students to become independent thinkers and contributing members inside and outside the school community.
Core Courses for Third, Fourth and Fifth Grades
3rd, 4th and 5th Grade Curriculum
In fourth grade, students begin to extend their learning through cross-curricular projects and presentations. In literacy, students read classroom novels which allow them to analyze characters, summarize, make connections, implement reading strategies learned and explore historical people and events through nonfiction texts. Along with their oral presentations, students are also asked to expand their understanding of content through their narrative, expository, persuasive and non-fiction writing. The math program allows for hands-on learning which reinforces the exploration of concepts of acquired skills. Our social studies inquiry spans from early explorers of the Americas to the Civil War.
The fifth grade program is designed to prepare students as they transition from the lower school into the middle school through the departmentalization of social studies, math, and literacy. The primary objective of the social studies curriculum is to understand the perspectives, art, and leaders of European history and current events. In math, students develop fluency with addition and subtraction of fractions, develop an understanding of multiplication and division of fractions, as well as strengthen whole number and decimal operation skills with emphasis placed on problem-solving in everyday situations and mathematical contexts. Students build math vocabulary and work with classmates to confidently share strategies and explain their mathematical thinking.
In literacy, students read a variety of self-selected and teacher-selected fiction and non-fiction texts. Through note-taking analysis, discussion, dramatization, research, visual interpretations and participation in literature circles, students’ understanding of these texts is deepened. Students write and share daily and are often given choice as to which pieces they would like to take through the writing process. To strengthen students’ vocabulary, an emphasis is placed on learning roots and affixes and using new vocabulary words while speaking and in their writing. Quarterly book projects, presentations, creative interpretations, and cross-curricular connections also enhance the literacy curriculum.