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Kindergarten Program

Our Kindergarten Curriculum

The Kindergarten curriculum areas of reading, math, science, art, social studies, writing, music and movement are naturally interrelated to make learning meaningful for children and to actively engage them in the process as well as in the product. All students have access to a computer network and opportunities to visit our Media Center. 

Literacy is a primary goal in our Kindergarten programs. Through active involvement in concrete and meaningful language-rich activities, young children learn about themselves and their world and develop intellectual, physical and social skills. At the Placentino School, we create learning environments that reflect our understanding of five and six year olds and how they learn.

We work to make our language, expectations, curriculum, and materials age-appropriate and supportive of the individual growth patterns and needs of the “whole child.” We arrange classrooms, organize daily schedules and choose activities and materials that will enable children to learn and grow by moving their bodies, manipulating real objects and interacting with others. With positive guidance and the modeling of appropriate language and behaviors, we encourage increased independence, interdependence and responsibility among our young children. Our classrooms are adaptable, flexible and welcoming. School wide gatherings and activities are great fun and help to bring all our classes together to foster a spirit of community. These features are characteristic of ALL our Kindergarten classes – Traditional, French Immersion, and Montessori.

Poems, songs, chants and rhythms offer young children rich opportunities to speak and listen. They contribute, along with story reading, letter/sound association, book holding and storytelling, to the children’s emerging literacy skills and the development of phonemic awareness. Often these activities are interwoven with a science or social studies theme and incorporate many opportunities for speaking, listening, writing and reading. An activity that is an “art” project can also provide exploration of a material, teach a concept, express a feeling or idea, tell a story or represent an experience. It can be linked to a theme the class is studying or a book the children read. An integrated curriculum is an important part of the Kindergarten program.

Writing begins to emerge through the children’s dictation and their inventive spelling. Using a variety of instruments, they learn directionality, grip, and the mechanics of letter formation. As they become ready, children are encouraged to develop their emerging skills through journal writing.

Mathematics in Kindergarten means opportunities to sort, categorize, recognize and create patterns, learn 1-1 correspondence, count, explore conservation of numbers and form numerals. 

Example of a Kindergarten Day

The organization of the school day for Kindergarten children provides a variety of opportunities to support development of their intellectual and social skills. Teachers balance whole group, small group, and independent work with activities that are adult-directed, child-directed, guided or free choice. Each class has approximately 18–23 children. The teacher emphasizes development of personal habits and classroom responsibilities while directing children in ways to effectively communicate and socially interact with one another. Each day includes the following activities although they may differ slightly according to teachers’ styles and class needs.

Settling in / Starting to work

Routines, calendar, business, free play, independent work.

Whole group time occurs at some point during the daily session. Activities during this time may include: introduction of Kindergarten literacy standards, thematic study, listening to a story, demonstration, singing, a child or adult presentation, greeting a visitor, or show and tell.

Independent and/or Small group work

Alternating teacher directed and self-directed requirements and choices.

Snack might be enjoyed independently, with a partner, or together as a class.

Music, Art, Science, Spanish and Physical Education are a variety of expressive avenues enriching their growth and development for students in Full Day programs.

Recess when weather permits, is outside on the playground. It is supervised by teachers but considered free time for children to choose playmates and activities.

Closure involves clean-up, looking back and ahead, getting notices and planning for home.

Features of the Traditional Kindergarten Program

  • The development of emergent literacy skills and standards is the primary focus of the Kindergarten day.
  • Traditional: Within grades, this model uses flexible grouping strategies, a print-rich literature-based environment, and an integrated approach to our standards based curriculum. The philosophy of the model recognizes content areas are naturally interrelated and emphasizes learning as a process rather than a collection of facts.
  • The classroom is organized around centers that engage children in active learning, sometimes directed, sometimes open-ended. A sand/water table, science corner, listening station, art area, library nook, computers, block area, writing station, dramatic play corner or blocks, encourage children to represent what they have learned, use materials functionally, and interact with one another through play. Some centers are changed throughout the year and some remain permanent.
  • We use a programmatic approach to literacy and mathematics instruction.  Our program capitalizes on individual student's strengths and areas of growth.  Each learner is met at his/her own level of learning development.
  • Our classrooms are language and literacy based with many opportunities for cooperative learning. Throughout the Kindergarten day there are numerous opportunities for the children to engage in parallel, cooperative, associative and dramatic play.
  • Our Kindergarten is a blended model.  Full day and half day students are blended within the same classrooms throughout the traditional Kindergarten program.  Students who participate in the half-day program engage in both academic and social experiences in the morning along side their full day peers.

Features of the French Immersion Kindergarten Program

  • The development of emergent literacy skills and standards is the primary focus of the Kindergarten day.
  • French Immersion is a program of instruction where children are taught solely in the French language. It is considered a traditional Kindergarten with respect to the standards based curriculum, classroom organization, structure of the day and materials, but is predominantly teacher-directed due to the importance of language modeling.
  • The Early Immersion Model capitalizes on the ease with which young children acquire language in a natural setting where the new language is the only means of communication. In this way, a new language is acquired through listening and speaking.
  • The teacher and aide speak only in French using gestures and cues to assist understanding. The children speak in English until they are able to communicate in French. Children are always working with an adult language model therefore the class is never divided into more than two groups, one learning with the teacher and one with the aide. The exception is a free play period each day when the children may choose their activity.

Features of the Montessori Kindergarten Program

In Holliston, we offer a Montessori approach to classroom programming beginning in our 3-6 classroom(s) at Placentino School . This is followed by a continuing Montessori Program through grade 4 Transitional Montessori at the Miller School .
  • The development of emergent literacy and math skills, in conjunction with the state standards, is the primary focus of the Montessori Kindergarten day. 
  • The Montessori classroom is comprised of preschoolers and kindergarten children ages 3-6. Historically, the majority of the class has been made up of kindergarten age children. Expectations vary depending on the individual needs and developmental readiness of each child. Older children are role models for younger members of the class, a feature of Montessori that continues in the 6-8 programs. 
  • Throughout the day, learning takes place using concrete Montessori materials and traditional kindergarten materials. This supports and unites Holliston’s standards-based curriculum with Montessori. 
  • The Montessori classroom, referred to as the “prepared environment,” is an environment that is specifically ordered into several main areas that include practical life, sensorial, language readiness, cultural studies (social studies, sciences and geography) and art. This form of organization stirs the natural curiosity of the child and allows him/her the opportunity to explore, to learn, and to foster choice and independence. Respect and responsibility for self, others and the materials are an integral part of the Montessori philosophy 
  • Lessons are presented individually, in small groups, and in a whole class format. In the 3-6 environment, lessons are presented in a deliberate and specific manner. Following a presentation, children have the opportunity to manipulate and practice these lessons on their own. This reinforces independence, responsibility for both learning and care of the classroom materials, and individual choice-making. The presentations and opportunities for practice in the 3-6 program build the foundation as the children progress to the 6-8 level.