Pre-k student drawing

Pre-kindergarten Curriculum

The pre-kindergarten program invites children to actively contribute, explore, and discover. As experts in child development, Belmont Day teachers integrate inquiry-based and experiential learning to nurture students’ curiosity and imagination. A central goal of the integrated curriculum is to create a sense of unity, belonging, and importance among our youngest students. The foundation is informed by core questions: Who am I? Who are you? Who are we?

Program Highlights

  • A new community
  • Eighth grade cross-graded partners
  • Active participation in school-wide sharing assemblies
  • Woods walks
  • School garden
  • Work stations
  • Sculpture unit in conjunction with the deCordova Museum
  • Book making
  • Big Blue, tricycles, and outdoor play
  • Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten field day run by eighth graders

Specialist Time

  • French once a week for 30 minutes
  • Music twice a week for 30 minutes
  • Physical education twice 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 today to find out more about our pre-k day school program.

Pre-k Subjects

There is nothing more exciting than developing facility with spoken and written language. Morning meeting plays a major role in literacy development. Singing, chanting, reciting poems, and sharing news from home foster oral language development and aural discrimination. Children receive direct instruction in letter identification and letter formation in more structured language arts activities, and become authors of, and audiences for, wonderful books. Teachers read both fiction and non-fiction books and support rich conversations about the texts. The sharing of weekend or vacation news also supports the children's comment making and question asking. Play is a central activity in the pre-kindergarten classroom and activities such as sign making, card creating, writing and drawing, and graphomotor muscle challenges abound. Reading Our pre-kindergarten students will: engage with material read aloud and respond with interest understand the directionality of print develop an understanding of the concept of a letter and a word recognize letters and words in the classroom environment identify the uppercase letters of the alphabet match letter symbols with letter sounds understand the concept of title, author, and illustrator and other book structures utilize picture cues to enhance understanding and make predictions develop familiarity with story forms and genres extend stories creatively Writing Our pre-kindergarten students will: develop an understanding that writing transmits meaning be exposed to the use of spacing between words and direction of words on a page contribute to class experience charts draw pictures to tell a story use letters or words in conjunction with drawings to tell a story recognize and copy print in the environment write names and other important nouns use sound/symbol correspondences to write words in temporary and/or conventional spelling author and share weekly small books using increasingly conventional structures Speaking and Listening Our pre-kindergarten students will: be active listeners when others are speaking or reading aloud make connections between known and new information take turns and learn how to enter conversations respond meaningfully in discussions follow multi-step verbal instructions recall specific information demonstrate clear and sequential reasoning communicate their needs and thoughts practice appropriate articulation and modulation confidently speak in a variety of situations including small and large groups recognize new vocabulary words and explore their use

There is nothing more exciting than developing facility with spoken and written language. Morning meeting plays a major role in literacy development. Singing, chanting, reciting poems, and sharing news from home foster oral language development and aural discrimination. Children receive direct instruction in letter identification and letter formation in more structured language arts activities, and become authors of, and audiences for, wonderful books. Teachers read both fiction and non-fiction books and support rich conversations about the texts. The sharing of weekend or vacation news also supports the children’s comment making and question asking. Play is a central activity in the pre-kindergarten classroom and activities such as sign making, card creating, writing and drawing, and graphomotor muscle challenges abound.

Reading

Our pre-kindergarten students will:

  • engage with material read aloud and respond with interest
  • understand the directionality of print
  • develop an understanding of the concept of a letter and a word
  • recognize letters and words in the classroom environment
  • identify the uppercase letters of the alphabet
  • match letter symbols with letter sounds
  • understand the concept of title, author, and illustrator and other book structures
  • utilize picture cues to enhance understanding and make predictions
  • develop familiarity with story forms and genres
  • extend stories creatively

Writing

Our pre-kindergarten students will:

  • develop an understanding that writing transmits meaning
  • be exposed to the use of spacing between words and direction of words on a page
  • contribute to class experience charts
  • draw pictures to tell a story
  • use letters or words in conjunction with drawings to tell a story
  • recognize and copy print in the environment
  • write names and other important nouns
  • use sound/symbol correspondences to write words in temporary and/or conventional spelling
  • author and share weekly small books using increasingly conventional structures

Speaking and Listening

Our pre-kindergarten students will:

  • be active listeners when others are speaking or reading aloud
  • make connections between known and new information
  • take turns and learn how to enter conversations
  • respond meaningfully in discussions
  • follow multi-step verbal instructions
  • recall specific information
  • demonstrate clear and sequential reasoning
  • communicate their needs and thoughts
  • practice appropriate articulation and modulation
  • confidently speak in a variety of situations including small and large groups
  • recognize new vocabulary words and explore their use

Young children are naturally curious about quantity, data, magnitude, capacity, shape, numbers, and measurement. Our program is designed to provide engaging experiences in these areas. Small group instruction, centers, and play activities increase awareness and build a foundation for mathematical thinking.

Our pre-kindergarten students will:

  • actively participate in activities dealing with number, size, shape, weight, length
  • construct mathematical meaning through real-world experiences and use of physical materials
  • understand one-to-one correspondence
  • recognize and write numerals
  • count and organize materials to tell the number of objects
  • compare larger and smaller numbers and groups of items
  • understand addition as putting items together and subtraction as comparison or taking items away
  • sort, categorize, and classify objects and group sets of items with like attributes
  • describe and compare attributes using vocabulary such as longer/shorter, same length, heavier/lighter, wide/narrow
  • identify, analyze, compare, and create shapes
  • create, identify, and extend patterns
  • collect and displays data from class surveys and votes to draw conclusions
  • make predictions and problem-solve when presented with puzzles or challenges
  • estimate small quantities

A student works on a collage project

Pre-kindergarten students are fascinated by the world beyond their homes. The focus of the curriculum is on learning about the new classroom community and developing social skills to promote respect for self, others, and the environment.

Our pre-kindergarten students will:

  • appreciate that families are structured in different ways
  • understand that all people share similar needs and feelings
  • respect and appreciate the similarities and differences among people
  • identify the people in the broader school community
  • participate in establishing classroom rules and learn to respect them
  • view themselves as an active, valued member of the classroom community
  • develop cooperation, communication, responsibility, empathy, and self-control
  • navigate the complexities of healthy friendships
  • celebrate occasions, accomplishments, and personal news
  • contribute to the larger community through community service projects
  • understand that our six core values define our community

Pre-kindergarten children are natural scientists; they experiment freely with the world they encounter, note the results, and create new experiments, all the while developing theories about the way things work. The pre-kindergarten program provides a wealth of opportunities, both structured and unstructured, for children to extend and enhance these skills. Designated science and sensory centers allow children to observe, manipulate, and create using familiar and unfamiliar media. Frequent interactions with the natural and human worlds foster a sense of mission and discovery. We take advantage of our woodland setting and can frequently be found exploring the outside environment.

Our pre-kindergarten students will:

  • ask questions, comment, and record observations
  • make and verify predictions about what will occur
  • collect data
  • report on and compare data
  • follow a scientific experiment and record results
  • use scientific vocabulary
  • use scientific instruments (scales, magnifying glasses, eye droppers, petri dishes, etc.)
  • make observational drawings
  • plant and tend the school garden
  • build creative structures that balance, move, and roll

Pre-k on stage for assembly

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.

In pre-kindergarten students are introduced to many different musical experiences aimed at promoting their understanding, appreciation, and love of music. Students participate in a wide variety of musical activities such as singing, rhyming, listening, speaking, moving, playing instruments, and participating in circle games. In December, the pre-kindergarten students join the whole school in performing at the winter concert.

Our pre-kindergarten students will:

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

Two girls play soccer in the gym

The pre-kindergarten physical education program introduces the students to a comfortable, non-threatening setting where they begin to develop fundamental movement skills. Students work on identifying personal space and spatial awareness, changing direction, stopping and starting, maintaining body control, and introductory manipulative skills. These skills are reinforced using movement activities including obstacle courses, parachute games, musical warm-ups, and activities involving change of direction as well as chasing and fleeing.

Our pre-kindergarten students will:

  • learn to perform locomotor and non-locomotor body movements such as run, start, stop, jump, hop, skip, gallop, leap, and slide
  • learn basic manipulative skills such as catching, throwing, bouncing, striking, and rolling
  • develop balance skills while stationary and while moving

Pre-k students try out yoga poses

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 pre-kindergarten students will:

  • use positive social skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, self-control, and empathy
  • recognize the similarities and differences in people in terms of needs, emotions, and cultures
  • respect and care for their bodies
  • respect all community members through the use of respectful language, actions, and attitudes

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

  • We are all the same and we are all different
  • Differences: families, growth
  • Uniqueness of me
  • Hygiene and self-care
  • Body parts: correct terminology, privacy

A teacher leads a lesson on worms

In pre-kindergarten students visit the library on a weekly basis to begin developing information literacy skills, hear a story, and borrow books to take home. Pre-kindergarten library classes take place in the cozy story room, which maintains the stone walls of the original cottage, and then explore the greater library space to find books to take home.

In general, our students at this level do not use technology although they see its utility in the library, at sharing assemblies, and as a resource frequently used by teachers to respond to their questions.

Our pre-kindergarten students will:

  • request materials based on personal interests
  • choose books of interest by looking at cover, content, and illustrations
  • demonstrate active listening skills
  • identify the library and librarian as resources for finding information and literature
  • learn the process for library checkout and return
  • demonstrate library basic book care and treatment skills

Our Teachers

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