Academics
Lower School
Kindergarten

Curriculum

Kindergarten Curriculum

Is it our goal in the kindergarten to promote each child’s cognitive, 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; and 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 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.

  • Language Arts

    Kindergartners are provided with a variety of pre-reading and reading materials. This includes exposure to poetry, stories, songs, recipes and a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction text. When a child is ready, he/she receives an individualized, phonics-based reading program. As children become more fluent readers, they work on comprehension skills. An additional component of the reading curriculum is journal writing. Children are expected to transfer acquired phonetic understanding to their writing. As an integral part of the program, parents are expected to maintain a daily read-aloud time with their children. Direct instruction of D’Nealian Handwriting is given in kindergarten.
  • Mathematics

    In kindergarten, the Math Their Way program is the basis for introducing mathematical concepts through the use of manipulatives. This program is an introduction for reading and writing numbers, counting on from a number, counting backward and skip-counting. The children combine, compare and measure. They perform simple addition and subtraction problems using manipulatives. They work with money, clocks, calendars and a number line. Geometric shapes are constructed, compared, and used in various projects, while three-dimensional shapes and symmetry are also explored. Classifying, patterning, estimating and graphing become part of their daily vocabulary. The students begin simple problem-solving.
  • Social Studies

    The kindergarten students study the life of several famous artists including Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Mary Cassatt, Andy Warhol and Leonardo Da Vinci and of historical figures, such as John Chapman, Christopher Columbus, Helen Keller and Martin Luther King Jr. The customs and traditions of various cultures are celebrated through holidays, national symbols, pledges and songs, and geography. Students learn about similarities/differences between maps and globes and then practice identifying the continents. In the spring, students study ancient Rome and modern Italy. They learn about a Roman town, legionnaires, the Coliseum and its spectacles, and Roman inventions and technology. Through the study of Pompeii, students create their own mosaics and re-enact the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius with baking soda and vinegar on the playground. The study of Ancient Rome culminates with a Roman Feast. In another unit, students relate the concept of goods and services to the study of a dairy. Students experience goods going from farm to market through field trips to a dairy and local grocery store.  

    The social studies curriculum also includes character development. Discussions and role-playing are used to reinforce positive social interactions and conflict resolution skills. Teacher-read-aloud books that highlight respect, being a good friend, good listening, responsibility, sharing, honesty, fairness, manners, generosity leadership, and acceptance are shared with the class.
  • Science

    At the kindergarten level, children study the properties of water, simple machines, and magnets. The program also includes units on the human body, the solar system, 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 kindergarten program is experiential and 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 class. Students continue to develop the pitch matching and rhythmic awareness that began in the ECC. Using level I 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 repertoire that tells stories: “Peter and the Wolf”, “Nutcracker”, and orchestral works that have narratives. In the spring, students perform choral versions of several movements of Camille Saint-Saen’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. We also exhibit the work of Lower School artists in our Community Hall during the Grandparents’ Day celebration in November and All School Art Show in the Community Hall 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. A formal program is in place in addition to the myriad of informal lessons and teachable moments that occur each day. The formal curriculum consists of two programs at each grade level, one that focuses on values such as respect, honesty and compassion and another that emphasizes appropriate behaviors, with a focus on conflict resolution and peer relationships. All students participate in formal, weekly lessons in both programs and classroom meetings, during which the students discuss any challenges that may arise in the classroom or on the playground. 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.
  • Community Service

    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 community service activities that are appropriate for their grade level. From beautifying the campus or participating in a beach clean up to making regular visits to Olivewood Gardens, senior centers or the Food Bank, the 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.