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Curriculum

Our goal in kindergarten is to promote each child’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional development while fostering a sense of independence, responsibility and accountability for one’s own learning. 
 
Experiential learning shapes every aspect of the kindergarten curriculum: 
  • individualized instruction challenges learners at their own level and at their own pace
  • hands-on activities engage children in meaningful learning
  • manipulatives and daily physical education enhance motor skills

Character education plays an integral role in the curriculum. Teachers model values and behaviors as students learn lessons from formal and informal character education experiences. Our kindergarten program equips students with the skills to recognize emotions and appropriately act and react in social situations.

In addition, students explore the concepts of citizenship and diversity through a global education component within the social sciences curriculum. Twice weekly, Spanish immersion instruction makes the kindergarten curriculum truly unique.

List of 10 items.

  • Literacy

    We believe in a balanced approach to literacy development in kindergarten that includes reading, writing, speaking and listening. Kindergartners are provided with a variety of pre-reading and reading materials. This includes exposure to stories, poetry, songs, recipes and a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction text. Students engage in an individualized reading program that includes direct instruction in phonics at each child’s level of readiness. As children become more fluent readers, they work on comprehension strategies and skills. Writing is another essential component of the literacy curriculum and includes journal writing along with other forms of narrative, opinion and informational writing. Children are expected to transfer acquired phonetic understanding to their daily writing. Direct instruction of D’Nealian Handwriting is given in kindergarten.
  • Mathematics

    In kindergarten, the Bridges Mathematics and Number Corner programs are the basis for introducing mathematical concepts through the use of manipulatives. The curriculum focuses on developing a student’s deep understanding, proficiency with key skills, and ability to solve complex and novel problems. Direct instruction, structured investigations and open exploration are all components to the lessons with the goal of presenting material that is linguistically, visually and kinesthetically as rich as it is mathematically powerful.

    In kindergarten, work with numbers and operations includes: reading and writing numbers, counting on from a number, counting backward and skip-counting; representing quantities and solving problems; counting a given number of objects and comparing sets or numerals; and modeling simple joining and separating situations with objects, fingers, words, actions, drawings, number, or equations. In geometry, students describe and analyze attributes of shapes while exploring three-dimensional shapes and symmetry. They find, count, draw, build and compare shapes, and fit shapes together to make other shapes and complete puzzles.
  • Social Studies

    There are three main components to the kindergarten social studies program. The children are introduced to the life and times of several prominent American figures. They explore the art of various Great Masters. This is accomplished through books and videos and their own recreations of famous works of art. In the spring, students study some of the history, culture and traditions of Italy.

    In the course of each day, discussions and role-play take place to reinforce positive social interactions and conflict resolution. For many of the children, kindergarten is their encounter with a larger group of peers, necessitating the acquisition of new and appropriate social skills. The Pollyanna Racial Literacy curriculum is also incorporated into the kindergarten social studies experience and celebrates our physical selves and identities, especially our skin colors. Picture books will be used as a primary method to launch discussions about how we assign labels for the visual world. 
  • Science

    At the kindergarten level, students learn about science through experimentation and observation. The children study the properties of water, simple machines and magnets. The program also includes units on the human body, the five senses and animals of San Diego. This is an age of wonder, and children are encouraged to ask and explore while learning science. This highly integrated curriculum enables students to relate the study of science to their immediate world.
  • World Language - Spanish

    Spanish is taught in kindergarten twice a week for 30 minutes. Classes are taught exclusively in Spanish for maximum exposure. The experimental kindergarten Spanish program is aligned with ACTFL standards and is designed to motivate students to listen and produce as much language as possible. Students continue to expand their base of vocabulary and simple conversation acquired in Jr. Kindergarten through a wide variety of activities including drama, music, movement, puppetry, stories, art and conversation.
  • Music

    “Music tells a story” is the theme for the kindergarten music classes. Students continue to develop the pitch matching and rhythmic awareness that began in the Early Childhood Center. Using level one of the Kodaly curriculum, students begin to use stick notation for rhythms and learn the solfege notes for the major scale. These concepts are reinforced by singing folk songs and playing singing games. Students also learn the instruments in the classical orchestra and listen to classical repertoires that tell stories: “Peter and the Wolf,” “The Nutcracker” and orchestral works that have narratives. In the spring, students perform choral versions of several movements of Camille Saint-Saëns’s “Carnival of the Animals” with percussion instruments and sound effects, working with guest artists from the community. Students also learn songs in contemporary styles, adding choreography.
  • Arts

    Kindergarten students are immersed in art as part of the overall program in the classrooms. Personal expression is promoted through all aspects of the school and at all levels. Students are encouraged to develop their own voices when thinking about ideas, as well as when expressing them through various media.
     
    Our young artists are part of a supportive creative community. Artwork is exhibited both in classrooms and in various spaces throughout the school. The work of Lower School artists is exhibited in Community Hall during Grandparents Day and the All-School Art Show in the spring.
  • Physical Education

    Physical education instruction for kindergarten students focuses on motor development. Students learn how to follow one- and two-step directions, develop fundamental skills and engage in cooperative play. The curriculum includes balance, locomotor skill development, throwing, catching, tracking, kicking, striking, rope jumping, tumbling and mat skills. A variety of low-key, organized games are also incorporated into the curriculum. Students have 30-minute physical education classes five times per week.
  • Character Education

    Character Education is integrated throughout the Lower School curriculum. The Dignity Model and Torrey Traits (caring, citizenship, fairness, respect, responsibility and trustworthiness) provide the foundation for our character education program. All students participate in formal, weekly lessons in addition to the myriad of informal lessons and teachable moments that occur each day. Students may discuss any challenges that arise in the classroom or on the playground during daily meetings. Together, teachers and students problem-solve to find appropriate solutions. Actions reflecting good character are recognized and celebrated in every classroom consistently throughout the school year.
  • Service-Learning

    An essential goal of the Lower School experience is to ensure that students understand the need to help others and give back to the community. To this end, all students in kindergarten and Grades 1–4 participate in service-learning activities that are appropriate for their grade level. From beautifying the campus to participating in a beach clean-up, or making regular visits to Olivewood Gardens, senior centers, or the Food Bank, students come to realize that they are a part of a bigger community and there is much they can do to make it a better place.

La Jolla Country Day School

9490 Genesee Avenue
La Jolla, CA 92037
858-453-3440

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