Holy Ghost Lutheran School’s curriculum integrates Christian faith with the Common Core Standards
Religion – One of the most important aspects of our Kindergarten program is the experiences each child has learning about Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In order to make this possible we use the “One in Christ” series by Concordia Publishing House. Throughout the year the children will learn about God and how much He loves us and about sin. We will also explore why Jesus died for us, realize that Jesus is our friend and is always with us, and learn about forgiveness and unconditional love. The children will recite and understand a variety of prayers, most importantly, the Lord’s Prayer. They will also listen to a variety of Bible stories and retell them through role-play and class discussion. They will recognize the Bible as the Word of God that tells about God’s love for us as shown in His plan for our Salvation. Each Wednesday we worship as a school in Chapel. Throughout the year we have several opportunities to sing our praises at chapel as well as in our Saturday and Sunday services.
Memory Verses will be sent home every Friday, beginning in December. Children are then tested the following Friday on the memory verse. Because God is integral in all that we do, you will find that Jesus will touch every part of our day and in each content area.
ELA (English Language Arts) – Our Kindergarten ELA curriculum is a Balanced Literacy program aligned with the Common Core Standards that offers our children a wealth of high quality literature to engage learners. The Journeys Common Core series by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is one of the tools that provide explicit instruction and ample practice to ensure the children’s growth in reading proficiency. We also incorporate Raz-Kids and Strategies for Writers to enhance our program. At the end of our Kindergarten year some of the skills that our children will have obtained include: alphabet recognition (upper and lower case), letter sounds, blending sounds into words, recognizing long and short vowel sounds, and blends. They will be able to print the letters of the alphabet (upper and lower case), print their first and last name, form and print at least 2 sentences with illustrations using basic editing techniques, and understand the concepts of print. Students will also be able to read at a C or D reading level. These levels are based on our Raz-Kids Reading program.
The components of our literacy program include decodable stories, Kindergarten leveled books, literature big books, read aloud books, sight words and letter and word cards. The children are also actively engaged in silent reading activities with leveled books that are age appropriate. They are involved in writing activities, which includes writing sentences with illustrations and writing stories as a whole group with guided practice from the teacher. Phonics and Phonemic Awareness are continually reinforced through direct instruction and learning centers. Children are motivated to learn when they are actively engaged, working independently and with others, and able to make decisions and choices. We have various learning centers in our classroom that promote purposeful learning. Our learning centers are introduced and utilized during The Daily 5.
Sight words are a part of our curriculum. Students practice sight words independently, with a buddy and at home. Mastering sight words strongly enhances a child’s emergent reading skills success. Parents play an important role in bridging that success at home by reinforcing reading and sight word recognition on a daily basis. The children also study multiple letters of the alphabet each week. They also do activities in The Daily 5 using the letter of the week. Some of the activities include reading words, writing words and drawing pictures that begin with the letter of the week.
Math – Our Kindergarten Math curriculum opens students to the world of measurement and comparison. By the end of the year, our students will compare numbers to 100 (more, less, equal), count to 100 by 1’s, 5’s, and 10’s, and learn to interpret amounts of money, temperature, and read a calendar. Time on the hour and half hour is taught as well as measurement of objects and simple fractions. Children also learn the concept of addition and subtraction. Other examples of included topics are: position & classify, sorting items by one attribute, two attributes, and by size. The children also explore, copy and create patterns, as well as read data and create graphs.
All of these topics are taught using a series of games, manipulatives and direct instruction. As a tool for instruction we use the eNVision mathematics series by Pearson, which integrates literacy, by using Big Book stories to explain the concepts being taught. We also incorporate technology by using iXL and XtraMath. Both online programs reinforce age-appropriate math concepts, while aligning with the Common Core Standards.
Science – Science is a discovery of God’s creation. It is the perfect opportunity for us to examine the world that He so generously created for us. We use the Scott Foresman series to implement the New York State Standards for our Kindergarten curriculum. This cross-curricular science program integrates inquiry-based science, literacy and technology. This program is based on three levels of inquiry; directed inquiry, guided inquiry, and full inquiry. All three levels engage children in hands on activities that build a strong foundation and help them develop a full understanding of each concept. The subjects are divided into 4 units: Life Science, Earth Science, Physical Science and Space and Technology.
Social Studies – A variety of literature is integrated into our Social Studies program. The use of thematic Big books and the Read Aloud Anthology, a literature rich resource filled with stories, songs, poems, and folktales, is used in the classroom to bring history alive through words, pictures and music. Children are actively involved in constructing a variety of projects, which relates to our Social Studies content. These activities include themes such as: Being a Good Citizen, My Country, Workers, Where We Live, Time Goes By, Stories of the Past and Holidays.
Handwriting –In order for children to be successful in handwriting they need to learn proper pencil control, how to grip a pencil and correct letter formation. In our classroom we use the Zaner Bloser method of handwriting, which consists of vertical lines, horizontal lines and circles. These basic strokes are the simple shapes that occur naturally in a child’s drawings, which make it easier for children to learn their letters. By the end of Kindergarten they are able to print letters to form words and words to form sentences.
Homework – Reading homework is given nightly. We ask that students also review sight words at home and study their weekly memory verse. Special projects may also be sent home such as a 100 Day Project in February. The purpose of the homework assignments are to reinforce concepts taught and promote a partnership with parents to assist in the learning process and to be aware of the current skills being taught. We also encourage you to read aloud to your child each night.
Physical Education– Students study a variety of units in Physical Education. These units are designed for students to develop gross motor skills, a respect for rules in game play, the ability to cooperate in a team dynamic, and a Christian attitude towards sportsmanship.
Special Activities – Throughout the year we will have a variety of special activities that will extend our learning outside the classroom. These activities include: outdoor exploration, Fire Hall visit during fire prevention week, school wide assemblies and two field trips.