Discovering personal greatness in pre-school through grade 8 students - Burlington, Vermont

Kindergarten

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The Kindergarten curriculum at Mater Christi focuses on the whole child.  We value and foster a child’s social development, emotional development, cognitive development, physical development, and spiritual development while encouraging creativity and inquiry.  The children learn math, language arts, science, social studies, and religion through a wide variety of learning opportunities and activities.  All are standards-based and developmentally appropriate.  Exploration of materials and manipulatives while working alone or in small groups is an enjoyable learning journey for a Kindergarten child.  This “work is play/play is work” atmosphere is very productive.  It allows children to have time for private thinking, to ask genuine questions, to explain their reasoning, to listen in order to understand and to use multiple pathways to further their understanding.  Adults and children in Kindergarten practice having a Good Growth Mindset.  We know we all make mistakes and/or get stuck while trying to do something.  We know mistakes are good things and that they help us learn.  We celebrate mistakes and discuss the learning that happens because of them.  We know our brains can grow!

Benefits of exploration and play for all people:

  • Physical: increase in strength, overall fitness, motor skill development, health
  • Cognitive: increase in the use of language and enhances skills such as problem-solving, creative thinking, planning, organizing
  • Social and Emotional: fosters positive self-esteem as well as prosocial values and allows the practice of social roles while increasing the development of cooperation, sharing, turn-taking

English Language Arts & Literacy

The Kindergarten Language Arts curriculum here at Mater Christi lays a foundation for the children to learn to read and write.  The Fundations Program we use engages children in phonemic and phonological awareness activities.  This includes letter recognition and sounds, rhyming, segmentation of words, blending sounds to make words, recognition of sight words, and building sentences from groups of words.  During our Readers’ Workshop time your child will play games, listen to books being read, read books alone and in pairs, and participate in guided reading activities in small groups and whole class sessions.  

In Kindergarten, writing in order to convey ideas and feelings is introduced.  Children write about their experiences and feelings in their journals and through specific writing projects throughout the year.  Children are introduced to the logistics of writing: correct letter formation, going from left to right and top to bottom, using capital and lowercase letters, and using some punctuation.  They will begin to make connections between what stories are being read to them, what they themselves are reading, and what they are writing

Mathematics

In Kindergarten, children will learn about number and operations, comparing and sorting, position and patterns, graphing, measurement, time, basic addition/subtraction, geometry, and problem-solving.  We will use manipulatives, games, our own bodies, and classroom tools throughout the year to ensure understanding of concepts and the mastery of skills.  Kindergarten children will be introduced to a particular math language that they will use throughout elementary school

Science

Our Science curriculum is based on the world around us and that which occurs naturally.  The units we will cover include: Solids and Liquids, Motion, Light, What Plants and Animals Need to Grow, The Five Senses, The Human Body, Weather, and The Four Seasons.  Kindergarten children will make hypotheses, do investigations, carefully observe,  test our hypothesis, and draw conclusions.  Inquiry at it best!

Social Studies

The Social Studies curriculum in Kindergarten focuses on ourselves and on the world around us.  We concentrate on getting to know each other and then Kindergarten children learn about the surrounding community.  We discuss our similarities and differences, how we are all alike, and how each of us is unique.  We use the Responsive Classroom social curriculum to aid in teaching the children how to respect each other and those around them.  They will learn what a community is and how everyone can help to ensure the well-being of that community.  Kindergarten children will learn about basic mapping to help them see and understand their place in the school, the state, the country, the world, and the universe.   They will also learn about and celebrate various holidays throughout the year!

Religion

Our Religion curriculum happens all day long!  We have a specific time each day to read Bible stories about Jesus’ life and discuss them, celebrate holidays and holy days of the Church Year, learn the basic prayers of the Church, and pray together about things which are important to young children.  Throughout the day, Kindergarten children sing songs, hear stories, tell stories, act out scenarios, and discuss many topics to help them know how to make good choices and spread loving-kindness.  The Kindergarten class virtue is Befriend — How to be a friend and how to welcome the opportunity to make a new friend.  One can see how Social Studies and Religion could overlap every day.

Spanish

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The curriculum for Kindergarten Spanish integrates literacy skills with learning about the Spanish speaking world. We start with the building blocks of language (such as learning the phonetic sounds of the alphabet in Spanish), basic conversational questions, answers, and expressions, and begin acquiring important high-frequency verbs through immersion in our classroom environment and the context of stories. Listening and reading are emphasized, with speaking and writing eventually the following suit as we make connections with literacy skills in our first language. We learn about the cultures and traditions of Latin America and Spain using images and stories, making comparisons, noting connections, and identifying the communities that make up this diverse and colorful heritage. Students also begin learning other basics such as numbers, colors, shapes, animals, and another vocabulary that rises to the surface in the context of our community of learners talking and learning about life. At this level we emphasize the importance of play and collaboration, reflecting on our class virtue: Befriend. 

A Glimpse into the Kindergarten Experience

Code Club for Elementary Students (K-3)
Students in the Elementary Code Club are introduced to concepts of coding using free iPad apps. In the first meeting this year, students used the BeeBot app to learn the basic concept of forward/backward, turn left/turn right, to navigate the garden path to reach the flower, herd sheep and collect eggs. BeeBot is also a programmable robot that students can use to “see” their code in action! This year, students will work with RoboLogic and CargoBot for robotics control, and they’ll also use Tynker and ScratchJr to learn computer programming.