GILMOUR ACADEMY LOWER SCHOOL C U R R I C U L U M S P E C T RU M KINDERGARTEN
Educating the Mind and Heart Gilmour Academy 34001 Cedar Road Gates Mills, Ohio 44040 (440) 473-8160 PHONE (440) 473-8157 FAX
Brother Robert Lavelle, C.S.C. Headmaster Dr. Monica M. Veto Director of Lower School and Montessori Preschool Program
MATH Math encourages students to explore, investigate, and discover new information. Kindergarteners focus on numbers, number sense, operation, measurement, geometry, spatial sense, patterns, inference, and data analysis. They are asked to make connections from prior knowledge and continually work towards the next step in the learning process. The class uses manipulatives such as small tools, counters, and blocks to work out math problems. The students count out days of the week and months of the year on calendars. They compare and contrast different items, for example, using a scale or a balance to determine what item is heavier. Kindergarteners study different geometric shapes like triangles and rectangles and look for examples in the real world such as traffic signs. They count leaves and flower petals and look for patterns in nature. The children also are taught to use math principles by learning how money is counted out to pay for items such as those in a grocery store.
SCIENCE Students in kindergarten begin to work with an inquirybased science program. This curriculum develops independent critical thinking skills and an innate curiosity about science and the world around us. Looking closely at our world opens doors and suggests questions that allow students to challenge their inquisitive ideas and skills. In the study of insects, the kindergarteners count the body parts on spiders thus integrating math and science. They research and graph information about their favorite insects, and study animal habitats to determine which insects are likely to live in the woods, in the forest, or in ponds. They also learn the difference between domestic and feral animals and examine their characteristics. Kindergarteners investigate variations that exist among animals and plants. In the
Megan Marrie Director of Lower School Admissions (440) 473-8165
classroom garden, they learn about seeds and plants and observe living things that grow in the garden. They pose questions and develop different methods of classifying items found in the natural world by various attributes such as smell, texture, shape, color, weight, and patterns. Students begin to examine scientific ideas such as force and motion and apply them using learned vocabulary to describe how objects move.
LANGUAGE ARTS Kindergarten is a time when childrenâ€™s communications skills take root and flower. Students focus on reading comprehension during small group sessions and in large groups actively participating in conversation to enhance understanding. Reading skills begin to bloom and strengthen throughout the year as students engage in making themselves successful readers. Language Arts in the kindergarten classroom focuses on phonemic awareness, phonics, reading, writing, listening, and speaking. A balanced literary program strives to meet the needs of the diverse levels of learners. This is accomplished through the teacher reading out loud; shared readings between teacher and student prompting interaction; guided reading, which matches readers to their appropriate ability level; independent reading; word study, which includes phonemic awareness; shared writing where teacher and student write together; and the writing workshop. Students have the opportunity for large group work, as well as small individualized groups focusing on individual ability and skill level. Each student works at a different pace, concentrating on specific interests. Writing in their own journals allows students to express thoughts and feelings while practicing letter formation and sentence structure. They determine if words make sense and flow together (semantics) and if the words sound right (syntax). Through grapho phonics, they discern whether words and letters look right.
LOWER SCHOOL CURRICULUM SPECTRUM • KINDERGARTEN SOCIAL STUDIES At Gilmour, our kindergarten program challenges and inspires each student to achieve his or her personal best each day. In the social studies kindergarten classroom, students use Smart Board interactive computer technology to research different cultures. Students analyze how their actions affect themselves and work on self-awareness analysis. They learn to take care of their own property and the school’s. Our child-centered program offers challenges that allow learners to achieve their personal goals in preparation for a lifetime of academic success. The kindergarten social studies curriculum also focuses on personal responsibility and independence and invites students to make meaningful connections to our world. Students begin to develop an understanding of geography, history, people in societies, economics, government, and citizenship rights and responsibilities. They explore each citizen’s responsibility to vote. The class discusses different continents of the world exploring customs and traditions. Kindergarteners also talk about the history of religious and national holidays and the people associated with them. Students have opportunities to share personal traditions and heritage throughout the school year to develop awareness and acceptance of other cultures.
ART In kindergarten, the emphasis is on exposure to basic art mediums, basic vocabulary, and the foundational practices of creating art and responding to art in depth. Students work with primary colors, study lightness and darkness of colors, and work with chalk and pastels and experiment with sensory art. They visit The Cleveland Museum of Art; study Impressionist artists such as Monet, Degas, and Van Gogh; and learn about the period of history in which they lived.
RELIGION Kindergarten students are introduced to God and all that He has created, not only by examining the world, but also by investigating the gifts, talents, and people that are in their lives. They are introduced to the concept of communicating with God through prayer as well as the person of Jesus Christ as friend and companion. Throughout the year, they experience the meaning and importance of the different Liturgical seasons through daily prayer, reflective thinking, and celebrations of the Liturgy. They also learn to appreciate other religions and religious traditions.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION MUSIC During kindergarten, the focus is on developing a singing voice with accurate pitch and in the correct register as students are introduced to the musical alphabet A through G. Initially, the class begins with nursery rhymes and simple folk songs with a limited range of notes and repetition of melody and words. By mid-year, they advance to more challenging songs with a broader range of notes and more ambitious words and melody. Then they are introduced to a singing exercise called solfege, which involves reading, hearing, and echoing melodies using do, mi, and sol. As students become more familiar with basic rhythm patterns, they learn to use quarter, eighth, and half notes and corresponding rests and to read, clap, and echo. In December, kindergarteners team with the Montessori classes for a Christmas concert performing both traditional religious and contemporary songs. Their music education is enriched as the result of a partnership with The Cleveland Orchestra. An orchestra member performs twice for the class at Gilmour, and the class also attends an orchestra performance at Severance Hall. Throughout the class, students develop listening skills by responding to music with appropriate movement.
Each week, kindergarteners participate in three 30-minute periods where they engage in team games and physical activities. Twice a week, they have 25-minute periods that are part of a recess exercise program, which focuses on teamwork and sportsmanship and improving fitness levels in activities such as handball and bucket basketball. Two physical education instructors supervise these structured recess periods coaching students on cooperation skills, hand-eye coordination, social interaction, knowledge of the rules, and Gilmour’s Student Behavior Code. Kindergarteners also take ice skating lessons from trained instructors on Gilmour’s NHL-sized rinks. They are encouraged to skate for long periods without stopping to improve stamina and energy, and are taught through a progression of skills to develop proper technique that will, hopefully, spur a lifetime interest in skating. At the end of the skating unit, students complete a short program that encourages creativity, self-expression, and skill performance.