In kindergarten, the young child experiences a beautiful, warm environment to engage in creative work and play. The child is immersed in “life activities” that support their physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development.
In addition to the unique focus attributes described below, our kindergarten program aligns with the BVSD academic standards and curriculum.
The classroom rhythms hold children in a secure balance. The outer activity comes to meet whatever wells up within the children as we move through repetitive daily and weekly rhythms. When there is a basic rhythm of each day, the child feels safe and secure in the consistency. Rhythm creates emotional balance, social skills, and work habits. Daily rhythm is a key to sorting out and preventing different disciplinary situations. Many activities follow the course of the changing seasons with festivals celebrated at special times during the year, further incorporating annual rhythms.
Creative play can be described as the expression of exuberant energy and the origin of all art. Creative play is a complex and fascinating issue. Part of what children represent in their play is an undifferentiated expression of what we later come to call art, literature, and drama. In a kind of perpetual metamorphosis, children move like quick-fire from the fantastic to the everyday and back again, in the never-ending drama of “play.” Through play, the child becomes active rather than passive, resolving anxieties and reliving enjoyable experiences. (References from The Genius of Play, by Sally Jenkins)
The Arts: drama, painting, singing, drawing, acting, and movement are integrated into the academic curriculum, including mathematics and the sciences, where relevant. Painting is an exploration of color and form. This method of education through the arts awakens imagination and creative powers, bringing vitality and wholeness to learning. There is no other educational movement that gives such a central role to the arts.
Letters are learned in the same way they originated in the course of human history. People perceived, then pictured, and out of the pictures abstracted signs and symbols. The students hear stories, make pictures, and discover the letter in the picture. This process is accompanied by much phonetic work in songs, poems, and games that help to establish a joyful and living experience of language. We have found that children who are already reading find wonder in relearning the letters this way.
Math in kindergarten is explored through rhymes, finger games, drawing, sorting, playing with pattern blocks and using other math manipulatives. These are just some of the ways to make learning numbers an interactive experience.
We gather at the rug to learn songs, poems, and verses of the seasons. The intrinsic work of patterning, alliteration, phonetic development, and memorization inherent in the verses helps develop pre-reading skills. The enunciation of the verses helps children find clarity in speech. It is also a time to play movement games, take turns, share, and have fun together.
The seeds of reading and writing are sown in kindergarten with the telling and reading of fairy tales and stories from around the world. Their rich language awakens the imagination and the child’s ability to form mental pictures. At times during the year, stories may be told through puppetry. Picture books with simple text help the children decode and recognize words, as well as stimulate the early readers. Telling stories develops recall abilities and enriches the imagination.
Snack is a big part of the rhythm in the classroom. This is a time when we come together as a class and build community through sitting, pausing, talking, and eating together. It is a time to work on good manners and trying new foods. We provide healthy and nutritious snacks. Every week a different parent buys the food, and we prepare the snack with the children’s help.
Our nature walk is a time to get out and enjoy our beautiful Colorado weather. Between the ages of 0-7, the child is working on building and developing his/her physical body. While hopping over logs, stepping over stones, or traversing the monkey bars, large motor skills are developed in the young child. It is also a time to show respect for the earth by cleaning up litter, noticing squirrel homes and practicing the wise words of Simpleton from the fairy tale The Queen Bee: “Leave the creatures in peace.” The more a child can be outside playing, the healthier and stronger their body will be.
In Kindergarten we strive to support the development of the whole child, secure in who they are, bringing their own unique gifts to the world.