The Seven Hills Kindergarten program is a full day of exploration and discovery. It is a place for developing both academic skills and an active learning stance, which means that students will learn to develop questions and pursue answers independently. Play and inquiry are important components of developing burgeoning academic sensibilities, as well as the main way that children sustain and refine the larger stances of critical thinking, problem-solving, independence, and questioning. Children enter at a variety of developmental stages and emerge reading, writing, and applying number sense to the world around them.
Kindergarten is a time of important social-emotional growth and each classroom is a community that values empathy, kindness, joy, and respect. Just like reading and writing, these skills are taught in our classrooms as we grow citizens of the world.
Kindergarten at Seven Hills offers a balanced literacy experience. Students first engage in a study of the alphabet, focusing on letter recognition, formation, and sounds. During reading workshop, students use letter-sound knowledge to decode words and simultaneously develop reading comprehension strategies. Children engage in independent, partner, and small group activities to build positive reading identities.
During writing workshop, children learn to generate topics, plan across pages, and elaborate on ideas by adding labels and details. Kindergartners focus on phonetic spelling and include high frequency words. Writing genres include narrative, opinion, and informative/explanatory. The Handwriting Without Tears program facilitates correct writing tool grip and letter formation. Other literacy components include phonics instruction, shared reading and writing, interactive reading and writing, and structured word inquiry. Literacy instruction draws from the work of Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, Stephanie Harvey, Irene Fountas, Gay Su Pinnell, Pete Bowers, and Kathy Ganske.
Math at Seven Hills is a dynamic program that draws from developmentally appropriate practice and current research. Students learn and practice one-to-one correspondence, identifying and writing numbers to twenty, and exploring number combinations to 10. Students add and subtract numbers to 10 and learn concepts of greater than, equal to, and less than. During Math Workshop, children extend their math schema through hands-on activities. In keeping with best math practices, the children learn to use appropriate tools, determine multiple ways to solve problems, and explain their thinking. Deep and careful attention is paid to mathematics content and to student thinking and understanding. Making sense of mathematics is the heart of the work, for students and teachers. Math materials include Investigations 3 as well as work developed by Jo Boaler and Marcy Cook.
Kindergarten social studies topics are centered around the concept of community. Students study themselves and develop identities as empathetic, kind citizens of the world. Kimochi
friends help guide social and emotional growth. The study of community expands into global interdependence as we welcome our 8th grade Japanese exchange students in November. We learn about Japanese culture and develop a deeper understanding of the diversity of our world. Kindergartners discuss, read about, and experience the impact that heroes commemorated with calendar holidays have on our local community and world.
Kindergarten scientists begin the year by learning to ask questions. As time progresses, they learn to ask open-ended questions that can lead to scientific investigations. Children observe, describe, label, and sketch organisms and phenomena. They define problems and use tools to find solutions. Children research a variety of creatures to determine their needs and the effect that human choices have upon nature. They design and conduct inquiry-based investigations. Kindergartners develop botanical theories by designing, planting, caring for, and harvesting a class garden. As part of their study of meteorology, the students track and examine the effects of different types of weather. They send “weather bears” around the globe to learn more about different climates. They develop a sense of respect for and responsibility to our world.