LANGUAGE AND LITERACY
The Country Day School language arts program encourages and broadens each child’s interest in written and spoken language. The curriculum develops a love of language and literature and provides reading readiness skills in a developmentally appropriate manner. Children are introduced to letter names, letter shapes and letter/sound relationships through meaningful and age-appropriate games and activities. Literacy and language opportunities include a wide variety of multi-sensory activities and are integrated into all curricular areas throughout the day.
Language activities for Kindergarten include:
- Participating in a variety of oral language activities including choral speaking and reciting short poems, rhymes, songs, and stories with repeated patterns
- Expressing thoughts using age-appropriate vocabulary, sentence structure, voice, and tone
- Telling and retelling stories and events in logical order
- Following step-by-step directions
- Blending sounds to make word parts and words
- Changing consonants and vowels in words to make new words
- Using decoding strategies to learn to read words, sentences, and stories
- Building and extending reading and sight word vocabulary
- Developing listening and reading comprehension
- Forming letters correctly
- Spacing words and sentences when writing
- Writing to communicate ideas, appropriately using upper and lower case letters
The goal of the CDS mathematics program is for the children to develop understanding and insight into the patterns of mathematics through the use of concrete materials and real-life experiences. The program works to help young children see relationships and interconnections in mathematics and to enable them to deal flexibly with mathematical ideas and concepts.
Mathematical activities for the Kindergarten students include:
- Application and extension of patterns
- Sorting and classifying objects according to identified attributes
- Exploring plane geometric figures according to number of sides, vertices, and right angles
- Counting forward by 1s, 2s, 5s, 10s and backwards by 1s
- Recognizing and writing numerals to 100
- Understanding real, picture and symbolic graphs
- Introducing and expanding on basic addition and subtraction concepts
- Identifying the parts of a clock and telling time to the hour
- Recognizing the value of a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter
- Using problem-solving strategies and explaining them to others
Throughout the school year CDS children use their five senses to explore scientific themes and ideas. Every science lesson incorporates hands-on activities to teach concepts related to each child’s interests and experiences. Studies of life science, environmental science, and physical science are included. Country Day School is very fortunate to have four beautiful acres of grounds on which to learn about science. Areas such as the ten playgrounds, the nature trail and the butterfly garden are perfect spots for everyday scientific exploration and discovery. The science curriculum is taught both in the classroom and in the science room with the science enrichment teacher once a week.
The science program at CDS focuses on the following school-wide units with different age-appropriate activities at each level from the twos through kindergarten.
- Color and Light
- Measurement and Mapping
- Neighborhood Habitats
- Properties of Matter
- Movement and Machines
The children at Country Day develop a foundation in social studies by exploring concept of self, family, school, neighborhood, community, town, city and country. Our goal is to explore how we organize ourselves and how we fit as contributing members of the school environment and in our society. Across the CDS Social Studies school-wide curriculum we will explore how people work, live, learn and play together to build a peaceful community. We will emphasize how community members depend on one another and focus on kind, fair, safe, and responsible attributes.
Areas of emphasis in social studies in Kindergarten include:
- Investigating concept of self, family, school, neighborhood, community, town, city and country
- Encouraging kind, fair, safe and responsible characteristics
- Understanding diversity through exploration of similarities and differences, ex: reading two different versions of the same story, sharing families cultural celebrations, exploring books and materials that demonstrate differing abilities, gender roles and cultures
- Exploring different kinds of maps and creating simple maps
- An introduction to history: learning about historical figures and the symbols of the U.S. and Virginia
- Introducing the economic concepts of needs, wants and money
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Social skills are woven through every aspect of the curriculum as children in every program learn how to develop and sustain friendships, resolve conflicts, take pride in their accomplishments and work together to achieve success in a school environment.
Areas of emphasis in social and emotional development for our Kindergarteners include:
- Expanding self awareness and self-confidence
- Expressing and managing emotions
- Forming and maintaining friendships
- Practicing waiting and turn taking
- Accepting changes and transitions
- Resolving conflicts with peers both with teacher support and independently
- Self care and care of belongings
- Following rules and routines
- Playing structured games
- Ability to show empathy
The Country Day School art curriculum gives the children opportunities to explore materials and media and discover works of art through observation and process-oriented activities. As the children experiment they are encouraged to be creative, realize artistic talents, solve problems and work collaboratively.
The art curriculum is taught both in the classroom and in the studio with the art enrichment teacher once a week.
Areas of emphasis in art for Kindergarten include:
- Artist studies
- Elements of art including: line, shape, color, texture, mood
- Using materials such as water color, paint, collage, pastels, crayons, markers, pencils, paper, scissors, chalk
- Working independently and collaboratively to create individual and whole group projects
- Introduction to critique of their own work and other's work
The music program at Country Day School focuses on developing a love of music in the students. To accomplish this, the children sing, play musical games and fingerplays, listen to various genres of music, play instruments, and move to music. These creative explorations occur both in the classroom and in music enrichment classes with the music teacher.
Kindergarten participates in music activities which include:
- Accompanying songs and chants with body percussion and classroom instruments
- Imitating two-pitch (sol-mi) patterns sung or played
- Performing rhythmic patterns that include sounds and silences
- Using movement to enhance music, stories, and poems
- Recognizing and demonstrating expressive qualities of music
The development of a positive self-image and the enjoyment of physical activities are important aspects of the CDS curriculum. Gross motor skills are practiced and refined through exciting games and activities. Children cultivate their fine motor skills with developmental tools like resistant clay and over-sized tweezers. The Kindergarten children also participate in age-appropriate activities from the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum to prepare them for success in their next school experience.
Fine and gross motor activities for Kindergarteners offer opportunities to:
- Develop balance standing on one foot
- Jump and hop using both one and two feet
- Throw, kick and catch playground balls both underhand and overhand
- Run with a coordinated gait
- Move through simple obstacle courses
- Combine three movement activities simultaneously
- Learn group games
- Use a tripod pencil grip to write and draw
- Form upper case and lower case letters
- Copy, create, trace and cut shapes
The library curriculum at CDS is designed to promote a love of reading as well as an introduction to book sense and library skills. Children will develop listening skills, become active participants in storytelling, and have the opportunity to engage with a variety of books and stories through use of props, songs and finger plays. Throughout the year certain themes will inspire activities across the age groups, such as celebrating Dr. Seuss, seasonal changes and holidays, exploration of particular regions, or an author or illustrator of the month. The Kindergarten students go to the library each week to hear stories relating to their classroom curriculum and learn how libraries are arranged and how to find books on different topics. The children also have the opportunity to borrow a book to take home and return the following week.
Library topics in Kindergarten include:
- Introduction to new literature and stories
- Recognizing well-known children’s authors
- Listening for comprehension of a story and offering comments during story discussion times
- Locating books by subject matter
- Being responsible for borrowed books
The children at CDS are introduced to the Spanish language through songs, games, pictures, finger puppets, and flannel board stories. The curriculum builds on concepts that are meaningful and age-appropriate to both the children’s interests and the classroom curriculum. The children have Spanish with the Spanish language enrichment teacher once a week and vocabulary is practiced in the classroom and playground setting with the guidance of the classroom teachers.
School-wide topics for the Spanish enrichment include:
- Numbers to 10
- Colors and Shapes
- Body parts