Developmentally, we believe that it's important for kindergarten students to have "a foot in" both the Preschool and Lower School. As a result, we intentionally placed kindergarten classrooms in the Preschool building when designing our early learning program. While most instruction takes place in these spaces, kindergarten students attend daily enrichment classes in the main building that houses the Lower School. Familiarity with the space in the main building aids with their transition to Lower School when they enter first grade.
- Motor Skills
- Reading & Language Arts
- Social & Emotional Development
- Social Living
- Christian Ed
- Physical Ed
- Special Events
Kindergarten utilizes Everyday Mathematics, a research-based and field-tested curriculum that focuses on developing students’ understanding and skills in ways that produce lifelong mathematical power. In Everyday Mathematics, students develop a broad background by learning concepts and skills in these six content strands:
- Number and Numeration: Counting in different ways and from different numbers—by 1s, forward and backward, and by 2s, 5s, and 10s; reading and writing numerals; comparing numbers through daily routines, games, and other activities; exploring different ways to represent numbers (equivalent names for numbers)
- Operations and Computation: Exploring addition and subtraction through concrete activities, games, and number stories; developing and sharing multiple strategies for solving addition and subtraction problems
- Data and Chance: Collecting, organizing, displaying, and analyzing classroom data through the daily Weather, Temperature, and Survey Routines as well as through games and activities; working with data and graphing; exploring probability
- Measurement and Reference Frames: Using nonstandard and standard units to learn measurement techniques; learning coins and their values; developing an understanding of time measures (day, week, and month); and temperature measures through daily routines (Calendar, Daily Schedule, and Temperature)
- Geometry: Exploring 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes; exploring line symmetry
- Patterns, Functions, and Algebra: Identifying, creating, and extending sound, movement, and visual patterns; exploring number patterns on the Growing Number Line and Class Number Grid
A kindergarten student's mastery of fine motor skills allows him/her greater independence. When combined with increasing hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills also open new doors to exploration, learning, and creative expression.
Throughout kindergarten, we promote fine motor and hand-related skills by providing students with a wide range of materials to manipulate as their imaginations dictate. Our students enjoy learning activities and playtime with blocks (especially interlocking types like magnetic blocks and Legos), crayons, nontoxic and washable markers and paints, glue, playdough, scissors, sewing cards, and much more.
Our kindergarten program also facilitates and encourages development of gross motor skills and sufficient core strength through outdoor play and daily P.E. classes. Our students have daily opportunities to run, jump, climb, crawl, and explore in an unstructured environment. They also enjoy riding trikes at recess time. Building strong core strength builds a strong foundation for children, as core strength significantly affects gross and fine motor skills.
Motor developmental goals for kindergarten students include but are not limited to:
- Demonstrating tripod or quadropod pencil grip
- Writing first and last name (beginning with capital with remaining letters lowercase)
- Writing uppercase and lowercase letters using correct strokes
- Displaying appropriate cutting skills
- Using glue and other classroom materials appropriately
- Displaying age-appropriate gross motor skills
In kindergarten, reading/language arts focuses on developing the foundational skills needed to become successful readers and writers.
Taught from kindergarten through second grade, the Superkids Reading Program is an explicit and systematic phonics curriculum that focuses on learning the sounds of the letters so that students can decode (read) and encode (spell) words. Students meet 14 fictional Superkids in the kindergarten curriculum, and they develop their reading skills and strengthen their fluency while reading fictional and informational text about the adventures of these Superkids. Handwriting is taught throughout the program, developing uppercase and lowercase letter formations and the writing of sentences.
Through supplemental teacher-created lessons, our students learn to ask questions, share perspectives, and imaginatively explore their own versions of stories and ideas that they express through journals, artwork, narratives, and group performances. Using inquiry-based methodology, children become active listeners and readers who ask probing questions and shape the flow of class discussion.
Our reading and language arts program also utilizes a literacy management framework called Daily 5. During Daily 5 time, students select from five reading and writing choices, working toward personalized goals, while the teacher meets individual needs through whole- and small-group lessons, as well as one-on-one conferring. The Daily 5 system instills behaviors of independence and creates highly engaged readers, writers, and learners who develop a true love of literacy.
Reading/language arts learning goals include but are not limited to:
- Identifying letters and respective sounds
- Identifying beginning, medial, and final sounds of spoken words
- Identifying and creating rhyming words
- Blending to read simple words
- Expressing ideas through writing that demonstrate correct letter/sound correspondence, punctuation marks, and spacing
- Retelling ideas and important facts from texts
- Expressing ideas in complete sentences
- Writing lowercase and capital letters
- Demonstrating left to right progression
Kindergarten Makerspace is a STEAM-based program consisting of multiple seasonal or literature-based building challenges throughout the year, including but not limited to building a chair for Baby Bear; Native American dwellings; a gingerbread house; a bridge for the Three Billy Goats Gruff; and a boat. Small challenges are mixed in with the larger projects.
The science lab provides students with the foundations for observing, communicating, measuring, comparing, describing, classifying, predicting, collecting, and interpreting data. The science lab was built to foster curiosity, inventiveness, persistence, and enthusiasm. We want our students to learn by doing and reflecting.
- Show God’s love to others
- Use friendship language
- Work independently
- Listen attentively
- Remember and follow multi-step directions
- Complete a task
- Display age-appropriate attentiveness in large group
- Work without disturbing others
- Transition between activities
- Respect the rights and property of others
- Display self-control
- Play and share cooperatively with peers
- Respect authority
- Accept responsibility
- Follow classroom routines and schedules
Focusing on the idea of communities, our kindergarten social living (or social studies) program is designed to enhance and stimulate each child’s awareness of and interest in the world around him/her. Students begin the year by exploring various aspects of their own identities and how these attributes contribute to our kindergarten community. Throughout the year, our various social living topics provide opportunities to develop the attitudes, skills, and knowledge that will enable our students to become engaged, active, informed, and responsible citizens.
Social living topics include but are not limited to:
- Building a classroom community
- All about me
- Our families
- Local Native American culture (this study includes a field trip to a local museum to view artifacts and a Native American Expo culmination event)
- National holidays and elections
- Black history and civil rights
- Seasonal topics (e.g. Autumn units may include a study of apples and pumpkins. Spring topics may include life cycles and weather.)
- Geography (maps skills with a focus on continents and oceans)
- Around the World (a study of several countries and cultures around the globe including collaboration with citizens from other parts of the world)
In kindergarten, we aim to nurture self-expression and the art-making process so that students gain an understanding and appreciation of art. Our program progresses through increasingly complex activities of drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture, and ceramics. Kindergarten students attend art class weekly.
It's a Wonderful World
Kindergarten students attend Christian education class weekly, which crosses ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. We focus on instituting a love of learning, a love of self, and a love of our neighbors, as well as the values of integrity, perseverance, compassion, and respect. The Christian education classes are planned around Bible characters or themes, always focusing on God’s love for each individual and His covenant with the community of faith.
Christian education students acquire an understanding and appreciation of the content of the Holy Bible as the story of God’s people from creation onwards. Students learn to respond to biblical stories and contrast with personal real-life experiences. They also learn how scripture can influence their choices for making proper decisions as pertaining to each student’s values and character.
The curriculum is taught through creative art, music, drama, puppet play, story time, role play, games, and Chapel participation. Kindergarten also has a specific service learning experience that teaches the skills of service to others, empathy, kindness, caring, peace, and mercy. The Christ-like environment of Christian education class shows our students how to forgive, love, rejoice, and pray.
At St. Mark’s, library experiences go beyond listening to literature and checking out books. The library curriculum integrates a plethora of skills and real-world application. Beginning in kindergarten, students learn the importance of the Dewey Decimal System, reading comprehension skills, choosing appropriate level books, as well as developing speaking and listening skills. Students are introduced to a variety of literature genres from nonfiction to Caldecott award winners. Technology is introduced through age-appropriate activities with internet safety of utmost importance.
It is our privilege to foster the next generation of leaders with a fundamental appreciation and understanding of the arts. Proudly rooted in our traditions of the Episcopal church, we incorporate classical musical components as well as contemporary and modern musical elements so that our students have a well-rounded understanding of music education. We celebrate educational collaboration with the Shreveport Symphony and Shreveport Opera. Above all, it is our goal for every student to learn of the love and joy of music.
Our kindergarten students perform three times a year at the Preschool Christmas Sing and Nativity Play, Mother's Day Brunch, and Kindergarten Graduation.
Our daily kindergarten P.E. program instills an early love of fitness and physical activity. We create a positive and enthusiastic environment that emphasizes individual expression through movement, personal body and spatial awareness, and basic skills. Students are also introduced to a variety of sports and team activities.
Technology is integrated throughout the kindergarten classroom curriculum using various age-appropriate software and online resources. Our classrooms are outfitted with interactive SMART Boards and desktop computers. Students utilize iPads and Chromebooks for various group and individual activities. Kindergarten students take weekly computer classes that provide direct digital literacy and technical skills.