Every day, through our center-based classrooms, Golden Pond students have many opportunities to build and explore oral language, reading, social studies, math, scientific investigation, reasoning, and critical thinking through the meaningful activities that comprise our Full-day Kindergarten curriculum. The curriculum not only reflects the experiential learning methods of the Golden Pond Way, including hands-on, theme-based inquiry and center-based classrooms, but also exceeds the Virginia Standards of Learning. Below we outline the major skills and concepts covered in our Kindergarten curriculum.
Reading and Writing
The reading and writing program at Golden Pond School represents a flexible, multipronged approach to early reading and early writing that introduces our children to multiple facets of both skills simultaneously. Students regularly engage in:
Reading aloud is done with our children several times a day in both large and small groups. We use carefully selected classic children’s literature that connects to our classroom themes.
During shared reading and rereading, we use enlarged texts that all the children can see. These enlarged texts include Big Books and class charts that allow teacher and child to follow along together.
The teacher works with a small group of children who are at a similar reading level in our Guided Reading lessons.
Children read stories, songs, and poems that have been introduced to them previously on their own or with a partner.
Teachers and children work together to compose messages and stories. The teacher supports the children during shared writing by being the scribe and talking through the process, sounding out words and explaining punctuation as they read.
As they do in shared writing, teachers and children compose messages and stories during their interactive writing lesson. These messages and stories, however, are written using a “shared pen” with the children. “Shared pen” is a technique where the children are asked to fill in a missing letter or word.
Children engage in writing a variety of texts. The teacher guides the process and provides instruction through mini-lessons.
Children write their own pieces including story retellings, class books, labeling, and lists.
To provide consistency for the children, we follow Loudoun County Public Schools in using D’Nealian handwriting script.
As with our reading program, our math program also reflects our commitment to educational research and “hands-on” learning. Adopting recommendations by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics(NCTM), Kindergarten math at Golden Pond School teaches the following mathematical concepts:
- Addition and subtraction
- Collecting and recording data
- Number sense and numeration
- Odd and even
- One-to-one correspondence
- Organizing data
- Place value
- Problem solving
- Rote counting to 100
- Shape Recognition
- Statistics and probability
- Story problems
- Using Venn diagrams
- Volume and area
- Whole number computation
Students use their senses to observe and investigate their world. Through hands-on activities children explore and investigate a range of topics, such as how things change over time; properties of water; animals, life cycles, and habitats; shadows; simple machines; and insects.
Children become aware of important people of the past and present through stories, songs, and monthly themes, with special emphasis on native Americans and Washington, D.C.
Music and Movement
Golden Pond School provides each child with an introduction to music in a developmentally appropriate manner. We correlate our music and movement program with our monthly themes to encourage learning through musical play and song. Children create sound by experimenting with a wide variety of hand-held instruments while developing both motor and social skills. Hearing the subtle differences in sound and pitch also increases phonemic awareness.
As part of introducing children to a broader world, Golden Pond offers a fun and educational introduction to Spanish on a daily basis in our Threes, Explorers, Fours, Junior Kindergarten, and Kindergarten classes. Our focus is on making students comfortable with the Spanish language while playing kinetic games, singing silly songs, and exploring interactive books. Exposure to Spanish at an early age lays an excellent foundation that can help children succeed in later grades.
The art program at Golden Pond encourages every child to stretch their creativity and imagination and to have fun. The children work with a variety of media and get to experiment with abstract art, self-portraits, painting, and working three-dimensionally.