The Seven Hills Kindergarten program is a full day of exploration and discovery. Simply put, Kindergarten at Seven Hills is a fun place to be; a rich environment in which to grow and learn.
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, which are later used to blend and segment in reading and writing activities. During Readers Workshop, students use letter-sound knowledge to decode words and simultaneously develop reading comprehension strategies, such as using schema, making text-to-self and text-to-text connections, visualizing, and questioning. Reading instruction draws from the work of Stephanie Harvey, Debbie Miller, Irene Fountas, Gay Su Pinnell, Lucy Calkins, and Kathy Ganske.
In writing, the children learn to generate four to six sentences on a topic. They employ multiple strategies to help extend their writing and include increasingly descriptive vocabulary. Kindergartners focus on phonetic spelling and include high frequency words. They work with the whole group and in small groups in order to differentiate and scaffold to the needs of each individual child. Writing genres include narrative, opinion, and informative/explanatory. Learning Headquarters, Handwriting Without Tears, and current literacy research inform and guide the instructional process.
Kindergarten Math at Seven Hills is a dynamic program that draws from developmentally appropriate practice and current research. The guiding topics are guided by the Seven Hills Core Standards using materials from Envision Math, Jo Boaler, and Marcy Cook. Students learn and practice one-to-one correspondence through counting and patterning. They practice identifying and writing numbers to twenty, and make 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.
Beginning with our own class and school communities, students learn that being a good citizen involves acting in certain ways. The Seven Hills Creed (be mindful, be grateful, be caring, be honest, be responsible, be positive, and be respectful) is taught and practiced throughout the year. Kimochi friends help guide social and emotional growth. Kindergartners discuss, read about, and experience the impact that community helpers have on our local community and world. They construct a three-dimensional community model to become familiar with a community’s layout, environs, and jobs. 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. The children explore events, people, and places of other times, with a focus on long ago and today.
Kindergartners explore the inter-related nature of scientific possibilities as a way to communicate about the world, experience the scientific method, and design and conduct inquiry- based investigations. They use their five senses to observe and describe common objects in context, including plants, animals, and insects. 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.