In the kindergarten year, students take pride in all of the new things that they are beginning to master. They can read and write, do math, speak Hebrew, solve problems, and ask important questions. Beth Yeshurun promotes learning through integrated and hands-on experiences that are interdisciplinary, multi-sensory, and responsive to student choice. In this way, we enable each child to connect new learning to both prior learning and personal experience.
In kindergarten, reading, writing, and word study all work in conjunction and support one another. Children are actively engaged in storytelling in a variety of ways, including reading picture books, listening to stories, telling stories orally, acting them out, and writing them in pictures and words. Each child is periodically assessed by his or her teacher. In this way, the teachers can provide those children who are already readers with appropriate books, and they can provide those who are emergent readers with the space and support they need to develop a love of reading, as well as pre-reading skills.
Reading is a skill that can be done independently or shared with classmates and teachers. When we read together, we can discuss reading strategies, think out loud, and share ideas. Reading is enjoyed as a conversation so that children can experience what it feels like to really get into a story. Children are involved with word study on a regular basis. In word study, they learn the sounds that the letters and letter combinations make, rime and onset, rhyming, and sight words and syllables. The development of these skills supports language development both in reading and writing.
Our primary goal in our kindergarten writing program is for students to feel comfortable expressing themselves with words and pictures. Throughout the writing process, students learn to understand writing as a way to communicate and express a variety of ideas. They learn many uses for writing such as making signs, creating lists, and wishing a sick friend well. Children also participate in shared writing and interactive writing activities, such as writing class books and poems.
The teaching of mathematics follows a multifaceted, comprehensive approach in the BYDS kindergarten classrooms. Our kindergarten teachers will incorporate math daily, both in formal lessons and also through seizing the teaching moment, and will cover the essential math topics, including whole number operations and relationships; introduction to the world of geometric shapes; learning measurement and data collecting; working with numerical sets, sequences, and word problems; and real world application through the study of time, money, space, and our environment. In addition to these skills, kindergarten students are gaining exposure to the Singapore Math methods used throughout the Elementary School program, readying our students for later success.
Units of study in kindergarten will focus on Transportation, Communication, Cowboys and Ranch life, and America and its presidents. In addition, they learn to cooperate, trust and care for one another, resolve conflict, and rely on their teachers and each other for support.
As kindergarten students enter the science lab, they will learn about lab safety, tools, and discovery skills, as well as patterns and how to make informed predictions. Science concepts this year will include properties of objects, how heat changes substances, forms of energy, earth and space, and organisms and environments. Among the science skills that are developed in the Kindergarten are observation, recording, measurement, graphing, data analysis, modeling, and simulation, as well as predicting and experimenting. The interactive technology in the classroom adds another set of educational options to the toolbox available.
Hebrew and Judaic Studies
In Kindergarten, we begin with Migdal Or. The program prepares our students for a lifetime of Hebrew Learning.
We focus on teaching the stories and the values of the weekly Torah portion through skills-based activities and storytelling. Students participate in community service as part of the values-based program.
Additionally, kindergarteners participate in the weekly Shabbat program. They are eligible for Mensch of the Week awards during that service, and they take home the Shabbat box during their kindergarten year.
The highlight for our Kindergarten students is their participation in the Consecration Service held during Sukkot. Each child receives his or her own miniature Torah, representing the beginning of official Jewish learning.