Students are immersed in reading, writing, listening and speaking activities through thematic book studies, writing workshop, morning meeting, arts and crafts, cooking, storytime, and creative dramatics. Children learn to recognize letters, to associate them with their sounds, and to build sight vocabulary. Students are introduced to the reading strategies that they will use as their reading skills develop; some students will become beginning readers during their Kindergarten year. Students explore the writing process by creating captions, labels, stories, lists, and journal entries. Children at all skill levels are encouraged to use written and oral language for creative expression and to become “authors.”
Through multiple math activities, morning meeting, charts and graphs, math games, estimating, and cooking, students explore and begin to understand math as a dynamic process that follows a logical pattern. Activities focus on patterns, sorting, number sense, estimating, tallying, and graphing. The math program incorporates problem solving, reasoning, communication, and making connections in mathematics.
Through activities that include theme studies, trips, books, morning meeting, and art projects, the students learn about geography and culture. Emphasis is given to understanding and appreciating both the similarities and differences in the diverse cultural communities that make up our school class and New York City through units such as civics and the post office. Students learn to ask questions, to listen to each other, and to apply old information to new situations. There is continued focus on students’ social and emotional growth and their role as members of the classroom community.
Drama is a natural extension of the way Kindergarten students explore their world. Students are engaged in formal drama activities including improvisation, sensory games, and collaborative play. Drama is employed in the library to further explore a story they have read. Drama is seen in the classroom, in the dramatic play area and to support the units. The students prepare and perform a small informal presentation of their work for their teachers and partners.
Students engage in a hands-on program that combines both physical and life science units such as magnets, nature in winter, pumpkins, nutrition, rocks and minerals, and weather. The focus is on scientific literacy and scientific processes. Literature is used as a springboard for scientific exploration and discovery. Children learn to observe, question, explore, experiment, predict, and solve problems through a variety of age-appropriate activities.
French in Kindergarten is all about exposing children to the spoken language and encouraging them to speak as much as possible at an age when they can mimic accents perfectly. Material is presented through games, songs, stories, and TPR (total physical response) activities and skits. By the end of the year, children use greetings, say how they feel, respond to classroom instructions, and know the vocabulary from thematic units such as animals, food, family, and French holidays and traditions.
Art is integrated into all aspects of the curriculum. Children study specific artists, their lives, styles, and chosen media. They then create personal works of art that reflect that knowledge. Children use a wide variety of media such as clay, paint, dye, and collage to explore and develop an appreciation and love of artistic expression.
Students continue to explore their sensitivity to music and their imagination and creativity. Emphasis is placed on singing and vocal exploration. Respect for each other and listening skills are incorporated as well. Classroom activities employ a variety of musical and learning styles, giving students the opportunity to sing, play instruments, and embody class music. In Kindergarten, students continue to study simple musical notation.
The main emphasis in Kindergarten is on developmental games and exploratory activities intended to help children understand how their bodies move. Students experiment with movement while progressing toward the mature form of manipulative and motor skills such as kicking, throwing and catching, running, skipping, hopping, and jumping. Students use the climbing wall and engage in activities that reinforce movement awareness concepts and skills. Class activities foster cooperative learning, creating a positive focus on social interaction.
Children continue to develop a love of literature and an appreciation for the library. Utilizing their librarian and connecting through a weekly library class involving stories, using book-based activities, and browsing other programming, children awaken a sense of discovery through literature. Books selected to circulate to the classroom reflect a variety of interests and include subjects related to the curriculum. Students learn to recognize the library as a place of discovery.
Students in Kindergarten are the younger partners of students in Grade 4. They meet every other 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. iPads, Smartboards, and desktop computers are designed to be used to enhance cross-curricular activities. Morning meetings is an example where students use technology to support their learning.
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 Kindergarten feel confident within the community of St. Luke’s School and to have them build a classroom community in which they can learn from and with each other.
Children foster their sense of awe, wonder, and understanding of ritual by celebrating a wide variety of seasonal holidays. Each student develops the sense of him or herself as an individual with a capacity to give and share, and to develop a concern for all living things.
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 many enrichment classes offered for an additional fee.