Our kindergarten program is for five and six year olds (Mighty Oaks) and runs five days each week. Children must be five by Sept 30. There is one class:
Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri – 8:30-1:30;
12-20 children/2-3 teachers
A Day in the Life of a Mighty Oak
The children arrive and play outdoors until the bell rings. Once inside, the children gather at Circle Time for sharing treasures, conversation, the daily calendar, and the number line. Some of our information may be written on the blackboard and news of the day read aloud together. This is also a time to present information about the current topic being learned.
At Snack Time a song is sung or a poem recited, and then it’s “Mighty Oak Munch Time!”
During Work Period, the children devote their time to reading readiness, mathematics, science, and social studies. The children are involved in cooking, painting, playing games, using Play-Doh, dressing up, working on the computer, listening to books at the listening center, building with blocks, Legos, or K-nex, as well as doing projects related to the topic being studied. We learn poems and songs in different languages relating to the unit being covered.
The Mighty Oaks make their own alphabet books that reinforce letter sounds and teach the correct method of printing capital and lower case letters. We use the Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing Program (LIPS), formerly known as Auditory Discrimination in Depth (ADD). This program teaches the children how sounds are made in their mouths and/or what shape their mouth is when making a particular sound. Our creative writing experiences enhance the reading and writing programs.
For mathematics, we draw upon the “Every Day Math” program. Basically, the children learn the meaning of sets, one-to-one correspondence, estimating, recognizing, counting, and writing numbers from 0 to 100. Recognizing shapes, understanding and becoming familiar with patterns, number lines, and graphs are also included. Learning to deal with numbers and numerals is a goal to further the ability to think logically.
Each child makes a science and social studies folder, which includes pictures and projects related to what has been learned and discovered. We learn to recognize different places in the world on a map and make maps of our home, school, and the countries we study. We vote by ‘secret ballot’ to learn about voting and democracy. Different times and cultures are discussed as we study Native Americans, Columbus, Washington and Lincoln, Japan, Africa, England and its castles, and how Christmas is celebrated in different parts of the world.
We study birds and observe a tree throughout the seasons; learning to become more observant of details and recognizing change and the passage of time. We expand our vocabulary as we learn new words such as ‘migrate,’ ‘chrysalis,’ ‘metamorphosis,’ ‘transparent,’ ‘symmetry,’ and more. Work in all disciplines is generally done in small groups, allowing the children time and opportunity to develop at his/her own pace.
After Clean-Up, it’s Storytime. We feel that reading books is essential in the development of a child’s attention span and expanding his/her horizons. Therefore, we include reading in each day’s activities.
On Tuesday and Thursday, it’s then time for Carpool.
On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, the children go outside to enjoy group games or free play with the younger children at Acorn. This is also a time for tree observation and nature-related study.
Then the Mighty Oaks each Lunch. We enjoy each other’s company in large and small groups and then clean up after ourselves. When each child is finished, a quiet library time begins where s/he reads an old favorite or a new book relating to our studies.
We then expand and reinforce learning that has started at the beginning of the day with games, artwork, and creative dynamics. We then clean up and get ready to leave Acorn at Carpool.
Because Becky Shepard’s special interest is in teaching kindergarteners to love music, the Mighty Oaks are exposed to all types of musical activities: singing, creative movement, song stories, and rhythm instruments. Aside from daily musical experiences, we have a formal music period weekly. We also study “Peter and the Wolf,” and learn to identify orchestral instruments.
Mighty Oaks also benefit from a regular yoga practice. The Acorn School yoga experience begins with presenting the notion that we are all made up of three important parts: the body, the mind, and the spirit. Each yoga class provides an opportunity for all participants to bring together a balance of these three parts through poses, imaginative play, and song. The balance brings calmness and strength to the child.
Learning about one’s body, acknowledging and nurturing their special gifts and strengths while filling up with vibrant energy are just a few of the many benefits children receive from our yoga practice. Playful, creative and fun classes are always conducted with attention to keeping our bodies safe and healthy. This approach to yoga compliments Acorn’s mission to educate and nurture the whole child as they become active participants in establishing lifelong beneficial habits.
Objectives for Mighty Oaks
- Develop a positive self-image and feeling of confidence through self-expression, positive reinforcement and the experience of success
- Appreciate and respect each other through kindness, empathy, sharing, and following rules
- Embrace learning
- Feel comfortable and confident in small and large groups
- Accept the balance of work and play
- Increase attention span, develop good listening skills and the ability to follow directions
- Appreciate knowledge, literature, different cultures, nature, and music
- Sharpen memory and recall skills
- Understand the passage of time
- Learn left-to-right progression
- Recognize and compare shapes
- Print one’s first and last name
- Recognize and print upper and lower case letters
- Associate sounds with appropriate letters
- Recognize, print, and order numbers 0 to 20 on a number line
- Strengthen understanding and interpretation of sets, graphs, glyphs, and patterns
- Recognize and use high-frequency words in language arts
- Learn to share a meal together and to clean up afterwards
- Be prepared for a longer elementary school day
- Negotiate and resolve conflict
- Practice and strengthen independence
- Become aware of our role in nature and to treat the earth kindly