Junior Kindergarten Curriculum
Students engage in a rich array of language experiences that develop reading and writing readiness. All aspects of speaking, listening, reading, and writing receive emphasis. Teachers use pre-reading and writing tools: puppets, story cards, dramatic play, and children’s literature in the form of books, audio books, CDs, and electronic resources to develop a love of reading, comprehension skills, and creativity. Structured and unstructured activities develop observation and listening skills, labeling and defining skills, and fine motor and gross motor skills.
A variety of materials are used to develop mathematical thinking, counting, one-to-one correspondence, and a keen sense of numeracy. Number and geometric patterning activities such as graphing, charting, and games, and collections reinforce number skills. They develop problem-solving abilities by engaging in real life mathematical situations such as counting snacks, sharing, sorting, and classifying objects in the classroom.
Junior Kindergarten students learn about the concept of community, become contributing members of a diverse classroom, and develop a respect for our natural environment. Students focus on themselves, their families, the school community, and places they have visited.
Drama is a natural extension of the way Junior Kindergarten students explore their world. Formal drama activities include improvisation, sensory games, and collaborative play. Drama is employed in the library to further explore a story they have read. The classroom features a dramatic play area. The students prepare and perform an informal presentation of their work for their teachers and partners.
Awareness and appreciation of science are developed through a focus on hands-on investigations. Students observe, predict, sequence, analyze, and apply knowledge they have learned. Units such as dinosaurs, the five senses, magnets, seasons, and the holidays are integrated with language arts, social studies, and mathematics.
French in Junior Kindergarten introduces children to a new language and culture. They hear the new language in songs, stories, and instructions, and they start to understand what it means. They begin to speak at an age when they can hear and mimic accents perfectly. Material is presented through games, songs, stories, and TPR (total physical response) activities. By the end of the year, children can use greetings, say how they feel, respond to classroom instructions, and be familiar with the vocabulary from thematic units such as animals, food, and family.
Art is integrated into all aspects of the curriculum. Clay, paint, dye, collage, and more allow children to explore and develop a love of artistic expression.
Students develop an appreciation of music and expand their imaginative and creative responses to music. Emphasis is placed on singing and vocal exploration. Musical concepts such as high/low, fast/slow, and loud/soft are introduced and mastered through listening, singing, and playing. Simple notation is introduced.
Fundamental skills (e.g. traveling, jumping and landing, throwing and catching, balancing) and basic movement concepts (spatial awareness, effort, and relationships) form the basis of the curriculum. Games are for enjoyment while allowing for the exploration of various skills including movement, listening, and sequencing of directions. Social skills such as sharing, courtesy, sportsmanship, and honesty are also stressed. Students use the climbing wall and engage in activities that reinforce movement awareness concepts and skills.
In Junior Kindergarten students learn about the Grace Sawyer Library and its role within the School community. The Librarian guides students, teachers, and parents. Children learn thematic book selection related to topics being studied in their classroom. Students develop literary interests and habits through weekly library classes involving storytelling, book-based activities, and other programming.
Students in Junior Kindergarten are the younger partners of students in Grade 3. They meet once a week for educational and social activities. The Partners Program provides an opportunity for older and younger children to develop strong and lasting relationships. It offers early experiences in service to others and contributes to the strong sense of community across all grades that is characteristic of St. Luke’s School.
Younger students use technology in the classroom with their teachers. During Circle Time, Smartboards enhance cross-curricular activities.
Children grow in confidence and self-awareness as they develop the ability to work productively on their own and as members of a group. Classroom routines, activities, and expectations are designed to help children grow in their understanding of, and appreciation for, the diverse backgrounds, interests, and talents of others. Our goal is to have the children in Junior Kindergarten feel confident within their new community of St. Luke’s School and to have them build a cohesive classroom community.
Parents and caregivers are invited to participate in the Junior Kindergarten curriculum by joining in field trips, sharing family and cultural traditions, and attending special class activities.
Children experience a sense of awe, wonder, and an appreciation of ritual through learning about and participating in a wide variety of religious and cultural celebrations. There is a strong focus on appreciating both the diversity of religious observance and the similarities that bind us together.
In Junior Chapel, children experience an age-appropriate model of worship based on the Episcopal liturgy, adapted to the changing needs and traditions of an interdenominational student body and faculty. By linking Episcopal ritual to a broad religious context, the aim is to affirm and nurture all students in their spiritual life and to strengthen their connection to their own religious tradition. At Junior Chapel children sing, pray, talk, and receive birthday blessings.
All the Lower School classes, Junior Kindergarten through Grade 4, attend a morning meeting on Fridays, called Mentions. Children share news, celebrate talents and interests, and learn about community and current events at a developmentally appropriate level.
Children have recess in our newly renovated playground. They enjoy our new climbing structures, play mounds, and play equipment, as well as balls and blocks; they participate in both structured and unstructured free play to develop large motor muscles.
An extended day program is available with enrichment classes offered for an additional fee.