I am looking forward to your child entering our kindergarten program next year. The first years of elementary school are so important to a child’s school experience. During these early years, the beginnings of academic learning are established and children develop life-long habits and attitudes about learning. The kindergarten program at King-Murphy reflects a belief that children are active learners. They build meaning and understanding by making connections with their existing knowledge and through inquiry. King-Murphy is an accredited International Baccalaureate School and offers the Primary Years Programme; an internationally recognized program with student-driven inquiry at the heart of the curriculum (see attached information).
Our kindergarten students bring varied experiences, interests and needs to the classroom. The goals of our program are to foster the educational, social, emotional, and physical needs of children. These goals include:
- Acquire essential academic knowledge and develop problem solving ability.
- Communicate effectively.
- Develop the attributes of the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile.
- Demonstrate social confidence and emotional security.
- Act responsibly.
- Show initiative, self-direction, and motivation.
- Follow classroom expectations and routines.
- Use materials purposefully and respectfully.
- Manage transitions and adapt to new situations and events.
- Collaborate with peers.
- Use knowledge gained in school to make impactful choices (take action).
- Show eagerness and curiosity.
- Sustain attention to work over a period of time.
- Follow multi-step directions.
- Show empathy and caring for others.
- Strive to become life-long learners.
- Approach tasks with flexibility and inventiveness.
- Participate in group life of the class.
Children in kindergarten learn concepts and skills essential to ensure their readiness to begin first grade. Parents are encouraged to support their child’s learning by assisting them in the curriculum areas.
King-Murphy uses a literacy program developed Lucy Calkins and the Teachers College of Reading and Writing in NYC. The program uses a workshop approach for reading and writing instruction. The goal is for students to become confident, life-long readers and writers who display agency and independence. In our reading program, students will:
- listen attentively and follow directions.
- communicate in complete sentences.
- organize and articulate their thoughts in small groups and larger whole class settings.
- identify forms of print: letters, words and sentences.
- use concepts of print: top to bottom and left to right.
- sequence events.
- identify rhyming words.
- blend letter sounds to create words.
- recognize letters and letter sounds in the alphabet.
- recognize many sight words.
- use a variety of strategies to predict words and make sense of text.
- read independently every day.
- listen to fiction and/or nonfiction read alouds daily.
Students will be given daily opportunities to write and be introduced to several genres through the Lucy Calkins’ curriculum. In our writing program, students will:
- create messages through drawing, telling, and/or writing.
- explore and write narrative, opinion, and informational pieces.
- develop a repertoire of sight words they write automatically.
- segment sounds in words and spell words phonetically.
- write their first and last name.
- print letters using correct strokes.
- apply letter/sound relationships when writing.
- begin to understand simple capitalization and punctuation rules.
King-Murphy uses Everyday Mathematics curriculum. Everyday Mathematics focuses on developing children’s understandings and skills in ways that produce life-long mathematical power. The curriculum emphasizes the use of concrete, real-life examples, repeated exposures to mathematical concepts and skills, and use of multiple methods and problem-solving strategies to foster true proficiency and accommodate different learning styles. Children will develop an understanding of mathematical concepts and skills through games, the use of manipulatives, partner work, and some traditional pencil and paper activities. Students will:
- count by ones to 100
- write numerals 0-20
- sort, classify, and describe groups of objects.
- solve problems using objects.
- find multiple solutions to problems.
- illustrate mathematical thinking through diagrams and illustrations.
- explore the concept of probability.
- read and create simple graphs.
- compose and decompose numbers demonstrating knowledge of place value.
- recognize, create, and extend patterns.
- participate in daily calendar activities.
Science and Social Studies:
Science and Social Studies are taught through integrated units of inquiry. Students will have opportunities to participate in investigations and develop observation skills. Please refer to the section that follows to review the units of inquiry for kindergarten.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL):
Social-Emotional learning is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. King-Murphy uses a Social Emotional Learning curriculum, Empowering Education (K-6), which provides a framework for our SEL instruction. Students participate in weekly lessons to develop understanding and skill in self-management, social-awareness, self-awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
Kindergarten children participate in Music, Art, and Physical Education on a rotating schedule. In addition to special classes, the kindergarten classroom lends itself to art, music, and movement experiences. The children perform a holiday program in December and again in May and take part in a variety of art projects as well.
Kindergarten students will participate in an interactive Spanish class as part of their specials program. Classes in Spanish are attended every other week throughout the year. By using an integrated curriculum, students acquire a second language in a way that is fun and natural. Students become risk-takers, learning that making mistakes is part of the learning process when acquiring a second language. Students will be encouraged to speak by using dialogue and simple words, in keeping with their natural cognitive development. In addition to exposure to the language, students will be introduced to the Hispanic culture (foods, music, dance, and celebrations).
Kindergarten is truly an amazing year of change. At King-Murphy we believe that when children are in an environment that is conducive to learning and expected to learn, they will. All this is done at a level appropriate for their age, respecting each child’s unique situation and individual strengths. Students are continually challenged to deepen their understandings and knowledge. Throughout this growth, they are still playing, having fun, and making friends.
If you have further questions about the kindergarten program at King-Murphy, feel free to contact me at (303) 670-6121. I can also be reached via email at the address below. Visitations to our kindergarten are welcome. If you would like to schedule a parent observation, please contact the office at (303) 670-0005.
An informal Open House is scheduled for Friday, May 10th 2019, at 3:35 p.m. This is a time for you and your child to see the classroom and get more information about our program. Please mark your calendar!
I look forward to working with you and your child next year!
The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and Units of Inquiry
King-Murphy is an accredited International Baccalaureate School and offers a Primary Years Programme of Inquiry (PYP) for children K-6. This internationally recognized program focuses on the total growth of the whole child. PYP touches hearts as well as minds and encompasses the social, physical, emotional, and cultural needs of the child through an inquiry-based program.
Structured inquiry is the leading vehicle for learning in the PYP. Inquiry, interpreted in the broadest sense, is the process (initiated by the learner or the teacher), which moves the learner from his or her current level of understanding to a new and deeper level of understanding. This can involve:
- Exploring and wondering.
- Experimenting and discussing possibilities.
- Researching and seeking information.
- Collecting data and reporting findings.
- Clarifying and refining existing ideas.
- Deepening understanding through the application of a concept or rule.
- Making and testing theories.
- Making predictions and confirming or changing them based on new information.
- Elaborating on solutions to problems.
Five transdisciplinary themes provide the framework for the exploration of knowledge. The themes and the units of inquiry for kindergarten follow:
Theme: How We Express Ourselves
Central Idea: Problems can be solved peacefully.
Lines of inquiry
- Personal Responsibility
- Identifying a different perspective
Theme: Where We Are in Time and Place
Central Idea: Lifestyles (what we eat, wear, where we live and transportation) are determined by our location and available resources.
Lines of Inquiry:
- Connection between location and lifestyle
- Resources vary throughout the world
Theme: How the World Works
Central Idea: Living organisms play important roles in the cycle of life.
Lines of Inquiry:
- Food chains and consequences of food chain interruption
- Needs of living things
- The roles of consumers, producers, and decomposers
- Common characteristics of living things
Theme: Who We Are
Central Idea: Fairness and respect for diversity help achieve equal opportunities.
Lines of Inquiry:
- Human Rights
- Equality and how it has changed over time.
- Advocating for change.
Theme: Sharing the Planet
Central Idea: Forests are necessary for life on earth.
Lines of Inquiry:
- Trees and their contribution to our world
- Similarities and differences between forests around the world
- Sharing and preserving forests
IB Learner Profile
The International Baccalaureate learner profile describes a range of human capacities and responsibilities that go beyond academic success. They imply commitment to help all members of the school community learn to respect themselves, others, and the world around them.
The following attributes of the learner profile are taught and reinforced throughout your child’s school experience. The profile aims to develop learners who are:
- Inquirers: I can be curious. I can ask questions and find answers all by myself. I can enjoy learning for the rest of my life.
- Knowledgeable: I can explore new ideas about the world around me. I can increase my knowledge and understanding.
- Thinkers: I can make good decisions by thinking about problems creatively.
- Communicators: I can understand and share with others about ideas in different ways and in different languages.
- Principled: I can show respect for myself and for all other people. I can be fair, honest and responsible for what I do and say.
- Open-minded: I can try to understand others and experience new things. I know that there is more than one way to look at things.
- Caring: I can be caring and respect other people’s feelings. I can act to make a positive difference to their lives.
- Risk-takers: I can be brave and try new and scary things all by myself. I can stand up for things I believe to be right and true.
- Balanced: I can learn to be balanced in mind, body and soul. I can feel good and help others feel good too.
- Reflective: I can understand by thinking about and asking myself questions about the things I learn and do.
We recognize that there are no specific indicators to show when a child is ready for kindergarten. However, these are some general skills and areas of exposure that will make the transition into kindergarten easier for your child.
- listen to stories without interruption.
- recognize rhyming sounds.
- pay attention to adult-directed tasks for short periods of time.
- understand actions have both causes and effects.
- show understanding of general times of the day.
- trace basic shapes.
- hold a pencil correctly.
- begin to share with others.
- cut with scissors using correct hand position.
- begin to follow rules.
- manage bathroom needs.
- button shirts, pants, coats and zip up zippers.
- speak understandably.
- separate from parents without being upset.
- look at pictures and then tell stories.
- identify some alphabet letters.
- write some alphabet letters - especially those in their name.
- recognize groups of one, two, three, four, and five objects.
- count to ten.
Ten Signs of a Good
(from the National Association for the
Education of Young Children)
- Children are playing and working with materials or other children. They are not aimlessly wandering or forced to sit quietly for long periods of time.
- Children have access to various activities throughout the day, such as block building, pretend play, picture books, paints and other art materials, and table toys such as legos, pegboards, and puzzles. Children are not all doing the same things at the same time.
- Teachers work with individual children, small groups, and the whole group at different times during the day. They do not spend time only with the entire group.
- The classroom is decorated with children’s original artwork, their own writing with invented spelling, and dictated stories.
- Children learn numbers and the alphabet in the context of their everyday experiences. Exploring the natural world of plants and animals, cooking, taking attendance, and serving snack are all meaningful activities to children.
- Children work on projects and have long periods of time (at least one hour) to play and explore. Filling out worksheets should not be their primary activity.
- Children have an opportunity to play outside every day that weather permits. This play is never sacrificed for more instructional time.
- Teachers read books to children throughout the day, not just at group story time.
- Curriculum is adapted for those who are ahead as well as those who need additional help. Because children differ in experiences and background, they do not learn the same things at the same time in the same way.
- Children and their parents look forward to school. Parents feel safe sending their child to kindergarten. Children are happy; they are not crying or regularly sick.