Kindergarten Program Information Packet

This is a general idea of how the Kindergarten program at Bright Start ELC will operate.  This includes our tentative daily schedule, our classroom management plan, tools for assessment, methods of communication, and the use of technology in our room.  There is a hard copy of this information, along with copies of our Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies, and "Specials" curriculum (Art, Technology), in the Bright Start office. 

 

Daily Schedule


9:00-9:30     Circle Time

9:30-10:00   Math

10:00-10:30 Snack/Show and Tell

10:30-11:00 Special

11:00-11:30 Writing

11:30-12:00 Lunch

12:00-12:30 Recess

12:30-1:00   Reading

1:00-1:30     Science and Social Studies

1:30-2:00     Centers

2:00-2:30     Snack/Pack up

2:30-3:00     Free Play


The schedule may be adjusted by shifting half hour increments around to accommodate the different times of our specials.

Arrival:        Please have your child arrive to the Kindergarten classroom by 9:00am.  It is expected that the children have already hung their coat and backpack up on their hook and put their lunchbox in their class bin before this time.  Students should arrive at the classroom with their folders and Show & Tell for the start of Circle Time at 9:00am ready to learn.

Circle Time:           During Circle Time, students will assemble on the class rug.  During this time, the class will go through their regular routine, which includes the Pledge of Allegiance, Calendar, Weather, Sight Words, and the Daily Message.  Additionally, the class will practice a variety of skills that are currently being covered in class. 

Math:           Students will participate in a math lesson directed by the teacher.

Snack:         During this time, students will assemble in our cafeteria area to eat a small snack provided by the school.

Show & Tell:          Each student will be assigned a day to bring in their Show and Tell.  Show and Tell usually follows a weekly theme.  For instance, during the Kindergarten unit on Animals, students may be asked to bring in a picture or replica of an animal along with a memorized fact about that particular animal.  If your child forgets Show and Tell, they may do so on another day.

Special:       Students will have a special each day (technology, gym, music, dance, or art).  If a special is cancelled for any reason, this time will be used to work on an impromptu free-form art project or as a group storytime.  Rarely, this time may be used to catch up in other areas in special circumstances, such as a short week.

Writing:       Students will participate in a writing lesson directed by the teacher.

Lunch:         During this time, students will assemble in our cafeteria area to eat lunch.  Parents have the option to send in a lunch or sign up for our Hot Lunch Program.  Students will be expected to eat their lunch independently.  Please help your child succeed by sending lunch in easy-to-open containers.

Recess:        Students will have a free play time following lunch.  Depending on the weather, students will have access to the outdoor playground or play in the classroom with our toys.

Reading:      Students will participate in a reading lesson directed by the teacher.

Science/Social Studies: Students will participate in a science or social studies lesson on an alternating basis, usually day by day, unless there are special events (for example, Election Day).

Centers:       Students will be broken into small groups to engage in focused educational investigation.  Centers may include, but is not limited to, looking through our library, working on a puzzle, completing an art project, working on the computer, listening to an audiobook, playing a game.

Snack:         During this time, students will assemble in our cafeteria area to eat a small snack provided by the school.

Pack Up:      During this time, the teacher will go over the homework that is due the following day.  This work will be put into the student’s homework folder to be completed.  Students will then pack up their belongings in their backpack.  They will put important papers and classroom work into their other folder. Anything else the student will need to bring home will be put into their backpack.  Even if a child is going to aftercare following Free Play, their backpack and lunchbox will be ready to go.

Free Play:    Depending on the weather, students will have access to the outdoor playground or play in the classroom with our toys.

Dismissal:    Students will either be picked up by an adult or attend our Aftercare Program.

Aftercare:    Students bring their backpacks and lunchboxes to the playground or Big Room and join the aftercare program.

*There is no official story time built into the schedule because most Reading, Science, and Social Studies periods will include reading books aloud as a part of the daily lesson.

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Classroom Procedures

Folders:       Be sure to check your child’s folder every night.  It is one of the two means of communication between home and school.  Please take out all completed work and all notices each day to prevent confusion for your child.  PLEASE make sure both folders come back and forth to school each day.  We aim to teach your child proper organizational and study skills that will hopefully continue into higher education!

                    To help foster responsibility in your child, make it their responsibility to take out their folders and show you the contents.  Likewise, make it their responsibility to put the folders back into their backpack.  Make sure all notices to the Kindergarten are put into the folder so they are not lost in the bottom of your child’s backpack!  As added security, speak with your child so they know to give a note to their teacher in the morning.

Classroom Jobs: The Kindergarten classroom runs smoother with a little help from its students!  Our classroom jobs include:

Attendance: Each day, students will “sign in” on our attendance board.  At first, students will be identified by their first name.   As the school year progresses, we will use different ways to identify each student to get them familiar with various information.  For instance, we will move on to last names, phone numbers, addresses, and birthdays.  Before Circle Time begins, the Attendance Monitor will see who is absent and report the information to the teacher.

Management:  In the beginning of the year, the Kindergarten teacher will introduce the classroom management system, “It’s Not Easy Being Green”.  Imagine a stoplight.  Each student starts the day on “Green”.  As the day progresses, a student may misbehave and be given a verbal warning.  If behavior does not improve after the first warning, they will be moved to “Yellow”.  If behavior improves, the student will be put back on “Green”.  If the poor behavior is not corrected, he or she will be put on “Red” and lose their next play period.  Finally, if a student continues acting inappropriately, a note will be sent home and will be signed by the child.  Each day, all students are restored to “Green”.  Normally, this becomes a moot point as the year progress.  Students understand the expectations and nearly always deliver. 

                    If poor behavior is a class-wide issue, the Kindergarten teacher may choose to enact the “Mission to Mars” motivational system.  On one side will be a cutout of the Earth and another cutout of Mars on another side.  Connecting the two planets will be a series of dots.  The class is represented by a spaceship.  As the class completes activities properly, they will advance a dot.  If they do not work as expected, they will be bumped back a spot.  Once the class has traveled from Earth to Mars, they will receive a pre-decided reward, like more outside time.

Homework:  In the Pre-Kindergarten classroom, parents were able to choose if their child completed homework.  However, in Kindergarten, homework is a necessary and required part of the educational experience.  It is an opportunity to reinforce our Themes and Focuses at home.  Not only does a student practice the skills learned during the day, but it also allows their parents to see the work they are learning.  Additionally, homework teaches a young student the responsibility of bringing their work home, completing it, and bringing it back to school.  It helps establish a routine that will only grow as they progress through their educational career.

                    Students will not have homework the night before a scheduled day off (including Fridays!) unless it is a long-term project. If your family observes a special holiday that is not on the school calendar, there is a big family event, or your child is ill, write the Kindergarten teacher a quick explanation.  The occasional missed assignment is not a big deal at this stage!

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Assessment

          When most people hear the word “assessment”, they immediately think of pencil and paper tests. In reality, assessment can take a variety of forms.  It is merely a tool that teachers use to make sure students are learning what they are taught.  Students at this young age progress individually through the curriculum.  It is important for the teacher to make sure students have learned one skill or concept before they move on to the next one.

          Most Kindergarten assessment is done during whole class time, in small instructional groups, or individual settings.  Students are largely assessed through a teacher’s observation.  For instance, when doing a worksheet, the teacher may ask students to point to a certain shape on a page.  The teacher will observe who is able to complete this task successfully and those students who can’t.  If a student is unable to do this, the teacher will work with the student in a small group or individual setting and reinforce the concept until the teacher is confident a student understands it.  A teacher may also play a game that stresses important concepts, but readily allows the teacher to observe if a student is grasping the information.  Another way a teacher may assess students is through flash cards to see if students have a literal understanding of topics being discussed.  Additionally, a class assignment may be used as an informal way to assess children, similar to a written test, but is purely for the teacher’s information and not something that will go home with a letter grade that is averaged into a marking period grade and later into a final grade to determine if a child “passes” or “fails”.

          In our classroom, each student has a folder with data collected as the school year progresses. This allows the teacher to track a student’s progress over the course of the school year.   This folder may have classwork that a student struggled with including any extra notes the teacher has.  It may also have observations of student work.  Frequently, student work will go home with a few comments.  These comments may be positive reinforcement or specific areas of concern that a teacher feels a parent should be made aware of, opening the line of communication between the teacher and parents.

 

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Communication

 

Communication between the Kindergarten teacher and parents will take place primarily over e-mail.  This allows all parents to be involved in their child’s school experience. Not all parents live in the same household as their child yet still want access to the teacher’s information sent home. The e-mail account will be primarily used to send pertinent information to parents about our “Themes and Focuses” in our classroom along with Kindergarten-specific messages.  Parents are not required to answer these e-mails unless indicated in the e-mail.  They are merely for your own information. 

Parents may also utilize the e-mail address to send the Kindergarten teacher short messages.  If your child is ill and will not be in school, this is a good way to inform the teacher.  Moreover, if your child’s birthday is soon and you would like to arrange plans, that is fine also.  If you have a more in-depth concern about your child’s progress, it would be best to speak to the Kindergarten teacher in person, as these concerns are not best handled over e-mail.  If you cannot pick up your child in person, arrange for an in-person or phone conference via e-mail.

If, for any reason, you do not want your communications to come via e-mail, you can arrange for the Kindergarten teacher to print the information and send it home in your child’s folder.

Additionally, school-wide information and completed classwork will be placed in the child’s folder outside the classroom.  Unlike the Pre-Kindergarten class, you will not need to check these folders each afternoon.  At the end of the day, during the class pack up time, your child will empty their school folder and put the contents into their folder for you to check at home.

If you are not comfortable with e-mail or are short on time, feel free to put a note in your child’s folder for the Kindergarten teacher.  The student should put the note on the teacher’s desk in the morning. 

There are a variety of reasons to send notices via e-mail or through your child’s folder.  Always let your teacher know, in writing, if you know your child will be missing part or all of the school day.  Also, if your child’s birthday is soon, please let the teacher know when you will be bringing in their treats.  When in doubt, put it in writing as drop-off and pick-ups may be a difficult time to speak with the teacher.

 

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Technology


          Technology is a major part of the modern world and it is never too early for students to learn the basic skills necessarily to use common technological equipment.  To encourage the use of technology in the classroom, students will have a half hour “special” each week.  During this period, students will either work on a specific technological project as a class or be left to explore the class’ technological equipment in small groups or individually with little structured guidance by the teacher.  Students will be encouraged to explore the different pieces of equipment that will be preloaded with child appropriate software while the teacher supervises to ensure students stay where they belong. 

          Educational software is a way for students to get instant corrective feedback as they practice the skills and concepts they are being taught in Kindergarten.  Some software specifically targets math, while others hone in on Language Arts skills. Additionally, interactive story books allow students to use technology while also seeing a story come to life right off the screen.  Students may also utilize programs that adults readily use like Google Maps or iTunes to investigate specific topic areas like geography and music in an age appropriate fashion.  LeapFrog Learning is another tool this Kindergarten program will use to accompany the curriculum.  These will be used during Center Time for students to explore at their own pace.

          MP3 players and e-readers are other devices that Kindergarteners can use to complement their curriculum.  They will have access to a music library, gaming system, and age-appropriate apps that will allow them to practice different aspects of the Kindergarten curriculum during our Center Time.  The use of flashy “Big Kid” toys keeps students motivated and eager to learn.  Apps available to students include, but are not limited to, ABC PocketPhonics, BrainPOP, iTouchiLearn Numbers, Kids Math Fun-Kindergarten, Read Me Stories, Sight Words Flash Cards, and Shape Puzzle.  Moreover, audio stories can be loaded on to the MP3 player so students can listen to stories similar to how you may have listened to stories on audiotape during your schooling.  Students will also be able to read stories on e-readers either traditionally or with the read-aloud option.

          Lastly, students will use other commonplace technological equipment to facilitate learning.  Digital cameras provide opportunities for both the teacher and students to document the work they are doing every day in the classroom. Whether it is taking a picture of a bulletin board to send home to parents or shooting a short movie demonstrating content knowledge, this expands our learning outside the classroom through the usage of this every day technology.

          Other working ideas for technological projects in the classroom may include: creating short videos, making Power Point presentation “books” with voice recorded narrative, a class blog, rudimentary animations, virtual museum tours, basic web searches under direct teacher supervision, listening to podcasts, or digital story telling.