Our Stories

Building Strong Academic Foundations

October 10, 2016 by Lisa Davis (Faculty and Staff)

Several weeks ago, the Kindergarten students began rotating through their Foundations classes. This year, Kindergarten students will travel twice a week to Language Arts, Science, Math, Sadnah (Studio Art), and Mischak (Play). In each Foundations class, the students are learning foundational skills which they then practice at other times in their classrooms. From the outset, students were excited to meet new teachers and friends, and quickly adapted to traveling to different rooms for each class with their small groups.

Students were enthusiastic and teachers were energized by the learning in Foundations in just the first weeks of school. In Science, students had a thoughtful discussion in answer to the question “What is science?” They observed a praying mantis, a crayfish, and a monarch butterfly chrysalis. They also estimated how many drops of water could fit on a penny and then used an eyedropper to see if their predictions were correct. The students then took binoculars outside to observe the world around our playground and sketched objects that they saw in their Learning Journals. In Math, the children learned that numbers are everywhere, played number games, and began counting from 1 to 20 with a number line. The students practiced sorting, then built on that knowledge to create bar graphs. First the students rolled dice and graphed the numbers they rolled. The students then worked together to create a Kindergarten-wide graph based on the question, “What month as the most Kindergarten birthdays?” After making the graph, the children asked questions to analyze the data and learned that August has the most Kindergarten birthdays.

In Language Arts, students received their writing journals, learned how to grip a pencil, and practiced writing sight words. The students practiced writing on dry-erase boards using the phrases “I like…” and “I love…” Each student then wrote about something they love in their journals. In Mischak, the children explored the different areas of the Kikar including dramatic play, games, and building with manipulatives including magna-tiles. The students also enjoyed using Rosh Hashanah-themed items including a Yom Tov matching game. In Sadnah, the students explored the art studio space and began working on self-portraits using a variety of drawing tools and types of paper. They will record the different materials they use throughout the year in their personal Materials Dictionaries. The students also began to explore the language of clay. They learned that clay is a natural material and shared their ideas about what clay is made of, where we can find it, and why clay comes in different colors. The children examined the texture of air-dry clay and predicted what would happen as they wet and kneaded it. Everyone is looking forward to a year of meaningful learning and explorations in Foundations.