Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten
What do students learn in TK and Kindergarten?
Transitional Kindergarten (Overview)
At Assumption TK begins for children who are 4 years old by September 1. The goals with our youngest group of children are both academic and developmental. The TK class is designed to introduce students to the Assumption environment so that they can transition seamlessly into kindergarten. It serves as a genuine “bridge” between the pre-school and kindergarten experience. We follow the benchmark standards created by the Archdiocese with additional enhancements.
Early literacy and social/emotional development are the focus areas. The small teacher/student ratio nurtures an environment of “play” and multi-sensory experiences where children physically and mentally explore their worlds by actively engaging in the learning. We cultivate children’s curiosity in all areas, but give special focus to a love of reading. Activity centers with supervised access to Ipad reading and math activities are part of each day. This is accompanied by opportunities for outdoor play, classroom “pretend” activities, games, and social interaction.
Religion is integrated throughout the day and students learn the early story of baby Jesus.
In reading and writing, students learn all 26 letters and corresponding sounds. They learn how to write upper and lower case letters and write their names. They begin sketching as a way of expressing their thoughts on paper.
Math includes basic number sense exploration, recognition of numbers and basic counting to a minimum of 20. Students learn 1:1 correspondence of numbers to quantity. Geometrical shape recognition and some math vocabulary foundation is established.
In kindergarten, academics increase using the Common Core Standards in math, reading and writing. State standards are used as a foundation for learning targets in social studies and science. Religion instruction is derived from the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese. Spanish draws from national language standards and is conversation focused. Music, technology, art, and PE are taught weekly and integrated throughout all daily instruction.
Religion is integrated throughout the day. Students learn basic prayers, the sign of the cross, and begin the study of Jesus’ from his birth.
Reading acquisition is based on teaching strong foundational skills in sound:lettercorrespondence (phonics), basic sight words, and initial fluency in reading aloud. Comprehension is developed through specific instruction of reading strategies, prompted questioning techniques, and rich conversation where children make connections to text and self. With Common Core, we focus on developing BOTH literary and informational text skills. Our goal is that all students reach, and exceed, the common core standards “graduating” to first grade, with exceptional foundational reading skills and concepts
Writing Workshop. Assumption utilizes both common core writing standards and Columbia College writing methodology research. Students learn early that they are all writers with something important to say. Using phonetic spelling and sketching to begin, students produce short narrative stories, informational “how to” books, and simple persuasive letters. They learn the basic grammar of sentence construction, craft, organization, and elaboration while engaging in the writing process of “think, plan, sketch, draft, revise, edit, publish (fancy up) and celebrate.
Math skills focus on counting, cardinality and overall number sense. Students learn that numbers represent quantity and can be used to solve simple addition/subtraction computational problems. We establish basic foundations in the areas of algebra, measurement, geometry, and mathematical reasoning. Math is seen as having real life application and importance. More recently, we have begun utilizing math journals for real life problem solving and student reasoning.
In science we provide hands-on activities and exploration to help develop skills of scientific concepts and vocabulary in areas of physical, life and earth science. Focusing on their five senses, students investigate a variety of objects: classifying, comparing and sorting. With prompting from the teacher as needed, they learn to ask questions, make observations, collect simple data, and make predictions in preparation for more formal scientific inquiry in later grades.
Social Studies begins with a focus on what children bring from their experience in families and communities. Kindergarten utilizes Story Path to learn about communities and create a park. Students consider important features of a park and design how to make best use of a space for the community. They learn what it means to be a good citizen and study national symbols of the flag and pledge.
TK & K Instructional Methods
How Do We Teach?
Instructional methods include a variety of individual, partner, small group and whole group instruction and support. Daily conversations and conferences with, and among students, under teacher guidance, are designed to motivate, engage, and increase learning. We recognize that even in kindergarten students are at different levels of learning and not all are at the same pace. Therefore, we differentiate our instruction to provide all students with an “achievable stretch”.
TK and Kindergarten materials/strategies include:
- Leveled books for small group guided reading
- Content textbook series
- Prompted questions and conferencing with students
- Use of concrete objects (manipulatives)
- Use of Ipad technology in center
- Use of multiple learning styles – movement, song, visual, etc. .
- Mini lesson full group instruction
- Structured choice whenever possible
- Continual individual progress assessments
- Establishing clear routines and high expectations to maximize instructional time and progress
We deploy instruction in ways that encourage students to see themselves as thinkers, writers, and mathematicians in every learning experience. In TK through Kindergarten, we begin the journey towards assisting students to understand HOW the learning process works.
How Do We Know Students Learned?
Assessments are done in consistent and ongoing ways. At these levels, those assessments include:
- Informal anecdotal record keeping done by the teacher
- Classroom based assessments and tests including formative, end of lesson assessments (i.e. exit tickets)
- Rubrics (both student and teacher based
- Standards based report cards (utilizing a 4 point scale)
- Writing samples/published pieces – rubric evaluation
- Developmental Reading Assessment 2 (1:1 student/teacher) given to all students in the fall and spring
- STAR Enterprise online assessments in reading, math, and literacy (4 times per year)
- Parent/Teacher conferences