Kindergarten

Open Window School kindergarten students display an enthusiastic love of school that is fostered and nurtured through appropriate challenges and high interest units of study. Our kindergarten program embraces and celebrates the curious minds and boundless energy of the five and six year old gifted student. Teachers plan lessons with Open Window School benchmarks as guides, and differentiate the lessons according to the assessments, interests, and needs of each student. Lessons are taught in small groups, allowing students to work and learn at their appropriate skill level. Learning to be members of the classroom community, to cooperate and to be a good friend are important parts of this program. The important 21st Century skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity take root in the Open Window School kindergarten program. Kindergarten is organized to include a consistent morning routine, core subjects and specialist classes. It includes daily activities that emphasize social and emotional skills.

Language Arts

The Language Arts program is designed to nourish emergent readers and writers while developing literacy at all levels.  Language arts concepts are integrated throughout the kindergarten curriculum. Kindergarten classrooms surround students with books and environmental print, nurturing their curiosity through carefully chosen independent and group language activities. Students select from authentic reading and writing choices, working independently toward personalized goals, while the teacher meets individual needs through whole-group and small-group instruction, as well as one-on-one conferring. Twenty minutes of nightly reading at home is an important piece of the learning-to-read process.
 
The development of a strong phonemic awareness is also a focus for every student and is supported by Words Their Way word study. Writing is integrated throughout the curriculum and occurs daily including writing journals, reader response activities, and Handwriting Without Tears lessons. Communication skills are emphasized through class discussions, cooperative group experiences, personal interactions and during social-emotional skill lessons. 
 
Curriculum Resources
  • Words Their Way
  • Handwriting Without Tears
  • CAFÉ (Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expanding Vocabulary)
  • Daily 5
  • Scholastic Guided Reading Program
  • Fountas & Pinnell Reading Assessment
  • Reading A-Z
  • iPad apps

Science

Kindergarten classes begin their year with an introduction to scientific investigations in a unit called Thinking Like a Scientist. Students learn to ask questions, define problems, make observations and analyze data through units such as Five Senses and Food and Insects. These topics are integrated closely with homeroom projects and activities.

Social & Emotional

In Lower School, SEL instruction is taught formally by teachers and counselors twice weekly, however this learning about self and others takes place organically throughout the entire school day and in all environments as students and teachers interact with one another. Year by year, the program builds with SEL concepts relevant to the needs of our students. Lessons are intentionally designed for students to develop respect for themselves and others, gain emotional awareness and control, learn effective communication skills, and set and achieve their academic goals.
 
Formal SEL lessons take place through 30 minute meetings that bring students into a circle for a range of experiences including classroom instruction, group discussions, reflections, role-play, community building activities, problem solving, and a variety of mindfulness practices including guided imagery, relaxation and yoga. These meetings provide time for students to learn and practice new skills, while simultaneously developing an understanding of what it means to be both an individual and a group member. These skills are necessary for school success, and they are also necessary for life success.
 
In Kindergarten, students begin by learning the basic vocabulary of emotions and progress through a variety of topics such as active listening, appreciation of others, what it means to be a friend, self-calming strategies, and many more. 

Math

Math instruction is differentiated per students’ needs and abilities. Instruction includes hands-on, experiential activities that push students to explore mathematical patterns, solidify a deep understanding of numeracy, and investigate both their own thinking processes as well as those of their classmates. Students also participate in collaborative problem-solving activities and games which serve to further deepen this mathematical understanding through social learning and strategizing. Assessment is ongoing and informs the content and pacing of math instruction. 
 
Curriculum Resources
  • Bridges in Mathematics
  • Exemplars
  • iPad apps


Social Studies

Who Am I? is the overarching question that guides the kindergarten social studies curriculum. Students explore their passions, interests and qualities that make themselves unique and special. The culminating event for this unit is a parade, where students design their own floats, complete with decorations and symbols that represent each individual member of the class. Quite literally, the entire school turns out for this parade. A family potluck, featuring the favorite foods of each student, brings the kindergarten students and their families together for a favorite fall celebration.

The Kinder "Garden"
Nutrition, Food as a Resource, and Dream Gardens
Throughout the second half of the school year students learn about nutrition. We look closely at our lunches and talk about the different food groups. We continue by exploring where food comes from, how it gets to the grocery store and our dinner plates. Finally, we put all of this knowledge together as we plant our own school garden, research crops that grow well in the Pacific Northwest and collaborate to create our very own "Dream Gardens."
 
Curriculum Resources
  • The First Six Weeks of School
  • The Kindergarten Parade
  • Positive Discipline and Responsive Classroom
  • Food Plate Curriculum
  • Gardening in the PNW resources
  • iPad apps

Specialists

Our lower school students are also supported with many special classes each week including: art, drama, physical education, music, science, Spanish, Library Learning Commons and technology. To find out more about specialists, visit the K-4 specialist page.