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
How to think about math
Mastering math starts with knowing the numbers. We get students started on the right path in Pre-K, but that's just the beginning. It’s also about looking beyond numbers to understand how and why they work, and learning to ask the questions that lead to a thoughtful, informed approach to solving problems.
Based on research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Math Expressions is a proven Pre-K–6 curriculum that helps children make sense of math by exploring, discussing, and demonstrating their understanding of key concepts. In busy, active lessons, students learn how to look deeper and choose their own path to the answers—skills that will take them far beyond the math classroom.
The deep conceptual understanding that’s the hallmark of the program leads to strong skills fluency and the ability to make generalizations within and among mathematical strands. As students grow and learn to think critically, teachers develop their own richer understanding of math through detailed instruction and embedded support.
- Every lesson integrates mathematical processes and practices.
- Students use authentic examples to make sense of mathematics.
- Schools see an average gain of 12–15% on state tests.
Lessons build understanding through active inquiry.
Contextual Learning: Students develop an understanding of mathematics through real-world situations and visual supports.
Multiple Strategies: Students learn multiple ways to solve problems, including algorithms based on reasoning.
Manageable Instruction: Teaching materials embody a "learn-while-teaching" style.
Coherence: Students make connections between key topics both within and across grades.
Practice: The online Student Activity Book gives young learners the tools to explore and deepen their understanding of key math concepts.
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, a Shelf for the Elf, a bridge for the Three Billy Goats Gruff, and an igloo. Students also enjoy learning about gardening by planting/watering seeds and observing chemical reactions with Mentos and Diet Coke. Small challenges are mixed in with the larger projects.
Appropriate social/emotional skills are encouraged by modeling, role playing and discussion. We also utilize the work of Dan St. Romain, who's "Simple Lessons" support positive behaviors using fun catch phrases and children's books. Other skills we target are:
- 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. This curriculum is supported by Friendzy, a Biblical Friendship Workbook.
At St. Mark’s, kindergarten library experiences go beyond listening to literature and checking out books. Students are introduced to a variety of literature genres from nonfiction to Caldecott award winners. The library curriculum integrates a plethora of skills and real-world application. Beginning in kindergarten, students develop speaking and listening skills by participating in group discussions. This allows them to demonstrate listening comprehension skills which is the foundation of reading comprehension. An emphasis is put on higher order thinking when discussing literature. As students become readers, they learn to choose books appropriate for their reading and comprehension level. At St. Mark's, we believe students should interact with books and limit technology-based learning in kindergarten.
Music at St. Mark’s is a playful and enriching time as we foster an appreciation of various musical styles while focusing on the primary aspects of musical theory and performance. We learn the stories of composers from Antonin Vivaldi to Louis Armstrong, while discovering how we can use our own talents and gifts to make music and praise God. Our kindergarten students lead music in Chapel twice a year and perform in the Nativity Play, Superkids Love Their Moms & Dads, 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 to enhance math and reading skills, reasoning, logic and creativity. Our classrooms are outfitted with interactive SMART Boards, and the Computer Lab has iMacs and iPads which students utilize for various group and individual activities. Their weekly Computer Lab class provides direct digital literacy and technical skills, as well as age appropriate coding and Ozobot robots.
- Native American Expo & Field Trip to the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum
- Trip Around the World
- Christmas Caroling at a Retirement Community
- Nativity Play & Christmas Sing
- 100th Day of Kindergarten
- Superkids Love Their Moms & Dads
- Theme Based Dress-Up Days & Field Trips
- Kindergarten Basketball Game
- Kindergarten Graduation