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TOWER HILL SCHOOL Lower School Curriculum Guide 2012-2013

Prekindergarten The Prekindergarten curriculum promotes active learning with children through daily inquiry, exploration, discovery, and experimentation. Students learn to make choices, interact respectfully with each other and care for classroom materials. They become responsible individuals in a caring, fun-filled learning environment which fosters social, emotional, and intellectual growth. A thematic approach integrates all areas of the curriculum, allowing each child to naturally experience the wonder of his or her world as he or she plays, speaks and listens. Learning centers such as art, writing, dramatic play, blocks, math, literacy, small manipulatives, and science are available on a daily basis. These provide challenging and creative skill reinforcement activities for the children. In addition to the classroom curriculum, students receive specialized instruction in physical education, music, Spanish, library and technology. Students who stay full day benefit from added enrichment through cooking, math lab and literacy. Character Education Prekindergarten is a time for young children to explore and strengthen their social and emotional well-being. A variety of instructional techniques are used to help students understand, practice and build character. Paramount to our curriculum is the use of Beanie Babies, (i.e. Respectful Rabbit, Responsibility Rhino, Patience Panda) as they help students internalize the traits. Our focus is specific to six fundamental character traits: respect, responsibility, honesty, patience, cooperation and kindness. The predominant goal of our program is to instill a sense of character in the students that will continue with them throughout their lives. Our curriculum was developed in accordance with the Tower Hill Lower School Code of Conduct: “As a citizen of the Lower School, I pay attention to the world around me. I notice how I treat others and I am kind. I understand that it is my job to take care of my environment. I recognize that we are different, and that we learn from each other. I am honest about what I do and say. I work together with my friends and teachers to make my school a safe and enjoyable place for all of us.� Literacy

The Prekindergarten literacy program includes the six components of early literacy: phonemic awareness, letter/sound knowledge, print awareness, listening comprehension, and written and oral language. Strong phonemic awareness is the foundation for life-long reading success. This is practiced throughout the year by differentiating between sounds, rhyming and recognizing beginning sounds. Letter/Sound knowledge is the recognition of upper and lower case letters and matching those letters with correct sounds, both orally and written. Print awareness is the understanding that print has meaning, as do letters, words, and sentences. Listening comprehension is recalling and interpreting auditory information. Written language is the development and communication of ideas through the use of pictures and labeling. Finally, oral language is communicating ideas through appropriate speech, vocabulary, and syntax. In addition to these literacy components, the mechanics of letter formation is taught through the Handwriting Without Tears program.


Lower School Curriculum – Prekindergarten - 2012-2013

Mathematics

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The Prekindergarten math curriculum focuses on seven specific content areas: numbers and numeration, patterning, geometry, measurement, graphing, sorting, and time. The skills within each content area are introduced and reinforced using games, literature, movement, song, and art. These hands-on activities allow the students to explore, observe and manipulate while developing a strong mathematical foundation. Students are then encouraged to apply their knowledge using critical thinking and problem solving strategies.

Social Studies The Prekindergarten social studies curriculum centers around citizenship. Through literature, role playing, games, puppets and class discussions students begin to develop an appreciation of themselves as individuals as well as their role within the family, school, community and the greater global world. Science

The Prekindergarten science curriculum is an interactive, practical approach to discovering the world. Through engaging materials and simple experiments we provide children opportunities to observe, predict cause and effect, calculate, record and analyze data and develop hypotheses. As novice scientists, students will acquire vocabulary relative to the scientific world and further develop and demonstrate their expressive language skills. This “hands-on” method plants the seed that enables our students to blossom into independent, critical thinkers.

Art

In Prekindergarten, art exploration occurs in each classroom, with an occasional visit to the Lower School art department for special projects. The emphasis in the Prekindergarten art curriculum is process orientated; the children are exposed to a variety of art forms using conventional methods, materials, mediums (be they paint, clay, oil pastels, blocks, etc.), as well as unconventional (painting with fruits, vegetables, flowers, etc.). This gives children the opportunity to explore their creative potential. Following the philosophy of “it’s the creative process, not the product,” there is no standard by which the Prekindergarteners will be assessed other than the look of pure enjoyment when a child is covered in finger paint, or wet with clay, or triumphant after building a sculpture. The overarching goal is for each student to feel a sense of confidence and accomplishment in their own ability to design and create in a variety of mediums. In addition to discovering the joy that comes with this type of self-expression, the children are strengthening both fine and large motor muscles.

Physical Education The focus in Physical Education is to build a solid movement foundation. We do this by helping our children to use their bodies to explore their environment. Prekindergarten children are introduced to different motor skills and movement patterns, which help in the development of spatial awareness and body control. They do creative movement in time to a beat and participate in rope and hoop activities to improve coordination and balance. In addition to learning locomotor and non-locomotor skills our children are exposed to activities that involve object manipulation and tracking. One such activity would be simple balloon activities. Our eager and independent learners are soon introduced to activities that require them to work in pairs and small groups to accomplish a common goal. Parachute activities require them to work cooperatively as a large group to achieve success. Our children have now experienced the importance of teamwork through simple cooperative tasks.

 


Lower School Curriculum – Prekindergarten - 2012-2013

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Music

Music classes instill a fundamental appreciation for music through listening, singing and moving to folk, classical, traditional and a wide array of multicultural children’s music. Children are gently encouraged to participate in simple dances, musical ensembles and songs in a warm and nurturing environment. Elementary skills such as keeping a steady beat, pitch recognition, tone color and musical styles are emphasized well as identification of orchestral musical instruments. Prekindergarten performs a musical, which is based on different literature concentration each year.

Spanish

Spanish units include: Greetings, Let's Count to 10!, What Color Is This?, What's the Weather Like?, How Are You? (feelings), calendar, shapes, holidays, seasons, food, Mayan architecture, and various topics corresponding with grade level classroom curriculum.

Library

In Prekindergarten, the focus of the curriculum is an introduction to a variety of types of picture books, care of books, library manners, and choosing appropriate books to take home.

Technology

Various forms of technology, such as SMARTboards and iPads, are used as tools in the classroom to enhance student learning. Instruction is innovative, dynamic and interactive.

Cooking

The topic of nutrition is a common thread throughout the cooking curriculum. Embedded in the recipes, which are developed and chosen based on the Prekindergarten thematic units, skills such as reading, math, and science are reinforced.

 


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