Welcome to Kindergarten!
Charter Oak International Academy
What type of learning occurs in Kindergarten?
Charter Oak students follow the WHPS curriculum with their grade level peers across the district. They also engage in learning through the IB approach. Below you will see a glimpse of the four Units of Inquiry. These are broad, overarching themes that guide student learning.
Who We Are
At Charter Oak, we focus fully on whole-child development. Our first unit, focused on how we work and play in our community helps us nurture personal, social, and physical development. The culture of our classrooms is developed as children see themselves as part of a caring community (responsibility). Play is promoted as part of an active, healthy lifestyle.
Children learn the language of feelings and behaviors. When they learn to identify and control powerful emotions such as frustration and anger, they develop resilience. Children develop relationships in the community, and care about the effect their actions have on others (connection). Empathy and appreciation for others in the community are developed as study extends beyond their immediate peers into the work of community helpers (function).
In this study, as well as throughout the year, children are experiencing different ways of knowing - their own experiences, experiences shared by peers, and through research using informational texts and media. Literature and informational text is integrated throughout units of study in order to provide purposeful application of written and oral language, rich vocabulary and exposure to books as a source of knowledge.
Engagement with teachers, peers, and materials in a playful way encourages growth in not only the personal and social, and physical domains, but also in the cognitive domain. In Kindergarten, and at all grade levels, we aim to build strong relationships between and among adults and children through play and purposeful learning opportunities.
How We Organize Ourselves: Weather
Central Idea: Weather impacts our daily lives
Kindergarten children study weather through the lens of change, causation, and form. They develop learning strategies including making predictions, observing, recording observations, reflecting on data, and drawing conclusions.
Children work to identify patterns and changes in the weather that help them make decisions.
Based on their own observations and growing knowledge, they are able to make informed decisions, and then experience the outcomes of their actions in a safe supportive environment. This helps children become risk-takers, and develop a sense of autonomy and growing independence.
Purposeful learning, inspired by relevant content supports a developing sense of agency (confidence in one’s own actions).
In this unit, children think beyond their own needs, and use their understanding of the elements of weather, technology, and creativity to build a protective shelter. They study a real-world problem, develop solutions, and work collaboratively to implement their solutions. By helping children see the relevance of content to their own lives, and encouraging hard work, we support thinkers with a sense of agency and the ability to take meaningful action to change the world for the better.
How We Express Ourselves
Central Idea: We find creative ways to tell about ourselves
What inspires artists in their work? How do others react to their work?
Children are inspired to create and share their inspirations, highlighting important connections and preferences for forms of expression. In sharing their creativity through artwork, music, cooking, dance, and other forms, and seeing their peers do the same, they develop appreciation and respect for the diversity around them. This helps them to develop social awareness and see other perspectives.
When identifying and sharing their own preferences and strengths, children become risk-takers. They learn to rely on the relationships and the sense of safety they have developed in their community. They extend this respect and genuine interest to their classmates, learning about them, and making strong personal connections.
How we express ourselves focuses on highly relevant content - themselves! But through this unit, strategies for communication, questioning, making connections, and showing understanding are developed. These strategies are ready when learning about new topics.
How the World Works: Plants and Animals
Central Idea: Plants and animals have specific needs in order to live and grow.
Interacting with the environment in a responsible and caring manner helps children engage in respectful inquiry into all aspects of the world around them. This unit engages children in scientific observation and classification.
Inquiry into the form of living and non-living things, how they change over time, and how we preserve living things leads to understanding of the similarities between plants and animals (form), and then what plants and animals need to survive (Responsibility).
Children contemplate the needs of a pet - whether plant or animal, and the responsibilities involved in owning a pet.
As a class, they select a pet (real or virtual), and develop a plan to care for the pet.
Rich inquiries into Who We Are as a community, How We Express Ourselves, How we Organize Ourselves, and How the World Works connect children back to their own safe and secure learning environment.
Development of personal, social, physical, and cognitive skills occurs in tandem. Each area supports the development of the others.
This development is not linear --each individual learns in their own way through well planned experiences and nurturing relationships at Charter Oak.
The Day in the Life Of a Kindergartner
While some details are still being decided for next fall, we can assure you that we will provide your child with a warm, nurturing learning environment. Their day will have a predictable schedule that includes a balance of academic instruction, play, busy and quiet times, and the opportunity to make new friendships.
Here are a few samples of a typical daily schedule, the first created by a kindergarten student. You will also find a list of things your child will need at school.
DEVELOPS ACTIVE, COMPASSIONATE. LIFELONG LEARNERS
- It is trusted, timeless and transformational.
- Special training for teachers.
- Global network of schools.
ENCOURAGES STUDENTS TO INQUIRE
- Natural curiosity
EXPLORES REAL WORLD ISSUES
- Create meaning
- Build understanding
CREATES CONFIDENT COMMUNICATORS
- Varied ways
- Multiple languages
TEACHES STUDENTS TO LEARN HOW TO LEARN
ENCOURAGES INTERNATIONAL MINDEDNESS
- Open minded
- Understand your own culture
- Understand other's cultures
ENCOURAGES STUDENTS TO SEE THINGS FROM MULTIPLE PERSPECTIVES
- Critical and Creative Thinking
- Develop knowledge, understanding and skills
- Others, with their differences can also be right
SUPPORTS STUDENTS TO TAKE ACTION
INVOLVES THE WHOLE COMMUNITY
- Common humanity
- A better and more peaceful place
DEVELOPS CARING AND RESPONSIBLE CITIZENS
- Express ideas and opinions
- Suggest solutions