At P.S. 321, we are committed to balancing a focus on learning through play and challenging children in the academic areas. Our workshop approach to teaching means that kindergarteners spend most of the day working partnerships, small groups, or independently, and that instruction is differentiated. We spend considerable time developing strong classroom communities and work hard on social and emotional skill development. Choice time is a key component of the curriculum.
Students learn that reading is about making meaning, begin to grasp foundational skills, and progress at their own pace. By the end of kindergarten, children are expected to be able to read level B-C books. Examples of B books are The Tree House (Story Box); Have You Seen My Cat by Eric Carle; Climbing (PM Starters); examples of C books are Brown Bear Brown Bear by Bill Martin; The Farm Concert (Storybox) Writing is also a priority, beginning with pictures and progressing phonetic writing as the year goes on.
In math, we are strongly committed to a concept-based, problem-solving, hands-on approach to mathematics. We believe children need to be involved in constructing meaning in math, deciding on which strategies to use as they solve complex problems. But, we also know that children need to learn and practice basic math facts so that they can calculate quickly and efficiently, and so we do that as well. The curriculum draws on TERC investigations, Math in Context replacement units, units developed by Metamorphosis, and more, and emphasizes differentiating math instruction.We follow the rigorous Common Core State Standards and use games and story problems to engage students in working with numbers to 100.
In Science, students study direct, observable phenomena such as trees, worms, and snails. They also complete hands-on experiments in science class.
Throughout the year, in Social Studies, students are introduced to PS 321’s Respect Initiative. Students also study Family and Community. Shared studies include: All About Us and Things in Our World and a School Study. Most classes do at least one more study such as Bridges, Transportation, or Post Office. Students go on curriculum-related field trips a number of times throughout the year.
Our kindergarten curriculum provides children with chances to be physically active including two daily outdoor play periods, dance, and physical breaks in the classroom.
Teachers are always informally assessing students to guide their instruction. Report cards are distributed in November (narrative comments only), March and June (with the latter two including ratings and narratives).
For a detailed listing of the Common Core Standards for ELA and Math, please click here.