Kindergarten Curriculum

The full-day kindergarten classroom is a busy and joyful place. As experts in early childhood education, our faculty have designed a developmentally based curriculum that emphasizes a balance of creative play and foundational learning. Children extend their time on task and continue to solidify academic and social skills. Activities and materials provide many opportunities to learn about (and from) the world, to organize information, and to solve problems. Students practice working cooperatively with others, communicating their needs and ideas, and becoming valued members and contributors to the community.

Program Highlights

  • Community helpers
  • Life cycles of various organisms (plants, butterflies, chicks)
  • Academic centers
  • Bookmaking
  • Listening centers
  • K-Grade 6 partner visits
  • The school garden
  • Chronicle the adventures of classroom mascot, Sheldon the Sheep, who spends each weekend with a student
  • Mystery guest faculty readers

Specialist Time

  • French once a week for 30 minutes
  • Art studio once a week for 30 minutes
  • Music twice a week for 30 minutes
  • Physical education three times a week for 30 minutes
  • Library once a week for 30 minutes

We welcome students and families from many cities and towns including Arlington, Cambridge, Medford, Lexington, Lincoln, Newton, Waltham, Watertown, Winchester, and Woburn. Contact us to learn more about our private kindergarten program.

Kindergarten Subjects

The kindergarten classroom provides children with a print-rich environment; one that offers students multiple opportunities to interact with print and to recognize that words carry meaning. Literacy activities include listening to stories, engaging in shared writing, reciting poems and rhymes, singing songs, taking care of the classroom library, and discussing stories and books. The kindergarteners are introduced to a variety of phonemic awareness tasks, such as producing and detecting rhymes, isolating beginning, medial, and ending sounds, blending and segmenting phonemes, and understanding concepts of print.

Literacy centers allow the students to work on making books in a variety of genres based on their personal interests. These books range from telling everyday stories to books that are pure fantasy, informational texts, how-to books, and those that are adaptations of well-known and familiar picture books. The kindergarteners gain independence when engaged in the hands-on project of bookmaking. They intentionally build meaning in their stories through both pictures and written words.

Reading

While each child accomplishes the task of learning to read at their own pace, our kindergarten students will:

  • attend to material read aloud
  • understand the concepts of print (directionality,¬†title, author, illustrator)
  • understand that print carries meaning
  • participate in shared reading
  • understand the concept of a letter, a word, a sentence
  • identify letter names, upper and lower case
  • develop letter/sound correspondence
  • apply phonetic principles through invented spelling
  • use context clues
  • self-correct when reading
  • begin to recognize sight words in the environment and in text
  • retell text with accuracy and detail
  • organize story events in sequence
  • identify main ideas
  • predict possible outcomes
  • understand new vocabulary using context clues
  • draw conclusions based on information contained in text
  • understand cause and effect
  • compare and contrast information

Writing

Our kindergarten students will:

  • understand that the written word transmits meaning
  • understand directionality of text on a page
  • draw pictures to tell a story
  • develop and refine ability to correctly form letters
  • copy words in the environment
  • write their name (first and last)
  • use sound/symbol correspondences to write words using invented spelling
  • understand some of the conventions of spelling through word family study
  • integrate sight vocabulary into writing
  • write ideas in a meaningful sequence
  • participate in shared writing
  • incorporate peer and teacher feedback into writing
  • understand the use of spaces between words

Speaking and Listening

Our kindergarten students will:

  • be active listeners when others are speaking
  • make connections by building upon previous knowledge
  • respond meaningfully in conversation
  • follow verbal multi-step directions
  • develop clear and logical reasoning through oral expression
  • develop appropriate articulation and modulation
  • demonstrate appropriate ways to interact and communicate with others
  • demonstrate understanding a variety of modes of verbal communication: question vs. answer, storytelling vs. instruction, etc.
  • confidently speak in a variety of situations including small and large groups
  • recognize new vocabulary words and explore their use

The kindergarten mathematics program provides a wide range of experiences for children to see and use mathematical concepts in a hands-on, concrete manner. Students learn through centers, games, and activities designed to help them internalize mathematical concepts in an interactive approach. One of the primary goals of the kindergarten math program is the development of number sense and recognizing the significance of numbers. The students practice a variety of counting methods and learn that counting is a way to keep track of quantity. Kindergarten students explore five and ten frames, breaking apart and putting together numbers, tally marks, skip counting, and solving word problems. Children also develop an understanding of linear and symmetrical patterns, number and shape patterns, more than/less than relationships, and how to make sense of data on graphs.

Our kindergarten students will:

  • develop one-to-one correspondence
  • recognize numerals as symbols of quantity
  • form numerals and numerical symbols
  • count forward to 100 and backwards from 20
  • identify single- and double-digit numbers to 30
  • recognize, describe, extend, and create a variety of patterns
  • recognize geometric shapes
  • sequence (eg. numbers, days of the week, etc.)
  • classify and sort objects
  • estimate numbers and quantity
  • predict probable numerical outcomes
  • use graphing as symbolic representation of number
  • be exposed to skip counting and grouping
  • explore the concept of the number 100 on the 100th day of school
  • use problem-solving skills in everyday situations
  • be exposed to the operations of addition and subtraction

Kindergarteners at sharing assembly

The social studies curriculum gives kindergarten students the opportunity to look closely at their classroom community, the school community, and then to look more broadly at the community at large. They develop a curiosity about, and a respect for, the world and its peoples, especially the relationship of people to their immediate and wider environments.

Our kindergarten students will:

  • experience cultural observances
  • recognize that families are structured and formed in different ways
  • develop and promote social skills through Responsive Classroom pedagogy
  • develop and strengthen individual social skills: turn-taking, sharing, waiting, accommodation, compromising, appropriately navigating social situations, empathizing
  • develop and strengthen group social skills: listening, communicating, sharing experiences in front of a group, problem-solving, discussing, cooperating
  • participate in the creation of classroom rules and behavioral expectations
  • strive to meet behavioral expectations
  • learn about the work that¬†community members do
  • learn the Belmont Day School values
  • understand that rules make a strong functioning community

Students are introduced to the scientific method: prediction, observation, analysis and conclusion through multiple opportunities for multi-sensory exploration of the natural world.

Our kindergarten students will:

  • participate in science discussions and activities
  • use observations and experiences to make predictions and hypotheses
  • utilize scientific skills (observation, reporting, and discussion) to make sense of their world
  • record and observe daily¬†weather, seasonal changes, and growth of plants
  • classify natural objects
  • follow the life cycle of a butterfly and chicken from egg to adult
  • use block building to explore foundational physics skills

Kindergarteners listen during French class

At Belmont Day exposure to world languages begins in pre-kindergarten. The students have a variety of informal language experiences in the classroom based on languages spoken by members of the classroom community. Once a week, students are also introduced to French through puppets, songs, poems, and games. From pre-kindergarten to second grade, the emphasis is on developing oral skills.

The topics are revisited and broadened each year, and include: 

  • greetings and civilities
  • expressing moods, needs, and feelings
  • numbers
  • colors
  • shapes
  • foods
  • family members
  • animals
  • body parts
  • days, months, and seasons
  • weather expressions
  • prepositions
  • action verbs, including classroom directions
  • geography of France (three main towns, bordering countries)

Students develop their aural skills and notice patterns, similarities, and grammar through learning songs and poems. They learn to play games as a group, then in partners, practicing their social skills in French.

Belmont Day students begin their studio visual art experiences in kindergarten where they explore a wide variety of materials and processes. As they discover the world of visual expression, students learn about artistic concepts such as color, shape, texture, contrast, form, and pattern. They draw, sculpt, paint, print, and combine materials to create two- and three-dimensional artworks. Self-expression and connections between visual art, nature, daily life, other artists, and cultures are explored as students design and develop their artworks.

Kindergarten artists construct their own sketchbooks in which they draw from observation and their imagination. Student art making experiences also include combining materials to create sculptures and collages, printing with shapes and lines to create images, creating soft and hard sculptures, painting to create imagery and designs, and learning about different artists and cultures.

Past kindergarten art projects include:

  • mixed-media cityscapes (printing and watercolors)
  • paper sculptures
  • crayon relief imagery
  • collage inspired by Henri Matisse
  • wet felting
  • clay pots

Music teacher performs with students

In kindergarten students are introduced to many different musical experiences aimed at enhancing and enriching their musical aptitude. The kindergarten music program supports and challenges students’ intellectual, social, emotional, creative, and physical growth. Students will gain skills in singing, listening, creating, speaking, moving, playing instruments, and dancing. In December, the kindergarten students join the whole school in performing at the winter concert.

Our kindergarten students:

  • reproduce and begin to feel and control rhythmic patterns
  • develop skills in singing expressively and in tune
  • move and dance with creativity and expression to music
  • develop more controlled skills while playing a variety of musical instruments
  • gain confidence in speaking, singing, and playing musical instruments

Two kindergarteners in PE class

In the kindergarten physical education program, students continue to build the foundation of their movement skills in a comfortable, inviting setting where they can explore different areas and have fun. Students gain knowledge about and work on body and spatial awareness, changing direction, basic level manipulative skills (catching and tossing), and balance skills through fine motor and gross motor activities.

Our kindergarten students will:

  • learn to perform locomotor and non-locomotor skills such as twist-turn, push-pull, rise-fall, and stretch-bend
  • manipulate objects in a variety of ways such as tossing, catching, striking, kicking, and bouncing
  • perform balance skills while stationary and while moving
  • cooperate with each¬†other
  • follow both simple and complex directions

Two sixth graders with the kindergarten buddies

The social competency and health and wellness curriculum provides an opportunity for students to learn about structures and importance of community, personal relationships, and healthy individual choices.

Our kindergarten students will:

  • understand¬†the elements of positive social skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, self-control, and empathy
  • identify the¬†similarities and differences in people in terms of needs, emotions, roles, family structures, growth,¬†and cultures
  • respect and care for their body and¬†learn about body parts: correct terminology, privacy, respecting others
  • embrace¬†all community members through the use of respectful language, actions, and attitudes
  • create and respect classroom rules
  • participate in community building activities
  • understand life cycle of humans

Topics of study:

Social Competency

  • Getting to know one another
  • Classroom rules
  • Building community
  • Discovering our commonalities
  • Being a good listener
  • Nonverbal signals
  • Body language
  • Calming down
  • What to do when you feel angry
  • Speaking up
  • Interviewing
  • Giving and receiving compliments
  • Including one another
  • Personal space
  • Cooperating with one another
  • When to tell a responsible adult
  • When to deal with situations yourself
  • Teasing
  • Making mistakes
  • Leadership skills
  • Role playing
  • Friendship
  • Showing respect for one another
  • Understanding feeling words

Health & Wellness

  • Gender and social roles
  • Life cycles: birth
  • Appreciating differences
  • Families

In kindergarten, students are well on their way to developing a whole host of information literacy and technology skills. In the classroom, students can visit the listening center to hear a book or follow along with the highlighted text of a poem narrated by a member of the faculty or staff.

Kindergarten students visit the library on a weekly basis to continue developing information literacy skills, hear stories, and borrow books to take home. Kindergarten library classes take place in the story room and the greater library space, where they begin to learn the different types of books that are available to take home and find titles to pursue their individual interests. From picture books to poetry to reference materials, our large and varied collection supports and enriches the curriculum and sets students on their way to becoming life-long readers.

Our kindergarten students will:

  • use care when handling technology and books and return materials to their proper places
  • know the library is organized into sections
  • choose books of interest by visiting different sections of the library and looking at cover, content, and illustrations
  • request materials based on prior knowledge of an author or illustrator or a specific topic
  • know the rules, borrowing routines, and appropriate library behavior

Our Teachers

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