KINDERGARTEN:

Welcome to Hillside's Kindergarten!  Our classrooms are active places. We will be working with many different materials (e.g. paints, markers, etc.). Please dress your child accordingly.

 

AM students may arrive in their classrooms at 8:40; PM students may arrive at 12:20. Prior to these arrival times, the teachers are busy with preparations and/or meetings, and there is no classroom supervision. Our school day officially begins at 8:45 for AM, and 12:25 for PM classes.

 

The school district provides transportation to school for AM students and home from school for PM students.

 

Kindergarten is a very exciting time for both students and parents. The children learn and grow so much during this year. We look forward to working with you to make this a fun and successful year for your child.

 

PHILOSOPHY:

The kindergarten program provides a rich variety of activities and experiences to help each child develop physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. The importance of meeting the individual needs and interests of each child is emphasized throughout the program. In our classrooms, the children have the freedom to explore and discover in multiple ways. We believe that Kindergarten should provide an environment that nurtures growth and fosters success. The goals of this program are to help children develop positive self-concepts of themselves as eager, independent learners, who express themselves creatively, and understand and appreciate the world around them.

 

CURRICULUM:

 

Language Arts:

We take a thematic approach to learning, helping children to make connections among multiple fields. Our curriculum is organized around the following high-interest themes: Journeys, Amazing Autumn, Home Sweet Home, Winter Wonders, Sweet Dreams, Fantastic Friends, Pets, Protect Our Planet, Just for Fun, Incredible Insects, and Splash. Additional themes may be added to highlight students' interests.


Reading
, writing, speaking, and listening are interconnected, and our kindergarten program addresses each of these literacy elements. Reading is the process of making sense of print by combining word identification with comprehension. Whole class emphasis on high-quality children's literature is balanced with small group instruction. Specific comprehension skills (such as sequencing, making predictions, and identifying story elements of character, setting, problem, and solution) are emphasized. Children are encouraged to make personal connections to literature during follow-up activities. Each student participates in small-group instruction for guided reading, word study, and writing instruction.

Writing is the process of communicating in print, and we believe that all children should see themselves as writers. Throughout the kindergarten year, writing is used in variety of ways and for a variety of purposes. During shared writing, the students and teacher work together to create a common message. Students dictate and illustrate sentences to create class books. During guided and independent journal writing, students write and illustrate sentences using invented spelling (we call it “kid spelling”). In this process, the child carefully listens for and identifies letter sounds in each word. By not concentrating on conventional (or “book”) spelling, the students gain confidence in their abilities, and understand how reading and writing are related.

 

Throughout the year, we provide multiple opportunities for students to speak in front of their classmates. This helps the children to become comfortable speaking to a group, and to begin learning how to organize and express their thoughts orally. Their classmates practice using polite listening skills, to appreciate each child's unique contributions, and to respond appropriately.

We work closely with our Reading Specialist to ensure that the needs of each child are met. Some students will need extra help acquiring the pre-reading skills needed by first grade. Our early intervention program, BRIDGE, meets in small groups for a half-hour four times each week. The objectives of the program are to enhance language development and reading readiness skills. For students who are advanced readers, we provide opportunities for enrichment.

 

Math

We use a hands-on, experiential approach to help our students develop a deep understanding of math concepts. Open-ended activities are designed so that children at differing ability levels can challenge themselves appropriately.

 

We focus on the following important math skills that are measured in Kindergarten: equivalent sets, more and less, pattern, shape, counting, numeral identification, addition, subtraction, and ordinal numbers.

 

Additional math concepts, such as time, money, measurement, and fractions are introduced throughout the school year.

 

 

Social Studies

Social Studies concepts are imbedded into our learning themes. The students learn about themselves and their classmates, their school, and their neighborhood. T/E's Holiday Curriculum helps the children begin to learn about cultural diversity.

 

 

Science

Our science curriculum is designed to help the students understand the scientific process and to use their senses to learn about the world around them. Our science units, which are coordinated with our learning themes, include:

· The Five Senses

· Agriculture

· Properties and Attributes

· Animal Adaptations

· Sun, Moon, Earth

· Landforms

· Weather and Seasons

· Ecology

· Life Cycles – Plants and Insects

· Properties of Water

 

 

Specials

The special areas are Art, Library, Music, and Physical Education. The children participate in Art, Music, and Physical Education once per cycle, and will go the library twice per cycle.

 

 

GENERAL INFORMATION:

 

Birthdays

We celebrate birthdays (or half-birthdays, for children with summer birthdays) in a low-key manner with the class during our circle time or at recess. Children are welcome to bring in a snack to share with their classmates. Please be sure that your child's snack is prepared for individual servings.

 

Recess

We will go out for recess unless the weather is severe. Please be sure your child is dressed for the weather by providing hats, mittens and boots as the weather gets colder (please put your child’s name on all outerwear).   During recess, the children may eat a snack that they bring from home.  We encourage you to choose healthy snacks, such as fruit or popcorn.  Other than birthdays or other special times, children are not permitted to share snacks.  For safety, children must wear sneakers to use the recess equipment.

 

Dismissal Changes

Any changes from your child's regularly scheduled dismissal require a note from home. If your child is going home with another student, notes from both the sending and the receiving families are required. If you forget to send a note, or make changes after your child is in school, please call the school office to report the dismissal change. Since the teachers do not always have time to check their messages before the end of the school day, please do not leave dismissal changes on the teacher's voice mail or e-mail.

 

 Report Cards/Conferences

Report cards are sent home in November, February/March and June. Kindergarten parent/teacher conferences are scheduled three times per year. You will meet with your child's teacher in September to help the teacher get to know your child. This conference coincides with your child's Kindergarten Screening Assessment. Additional conferences are scheduled in the fall and spring, after report cards are sent home. You are welcome to contact your child's teacher at any time to request a conference.