Kindergarten at The Davis Academy focuses on nurturing the development of the whole child through the purposeful creation of a daily schedule that includes a balance of academics, enrichment and free play.
At The Davis Academy, the thoughtful selection of age-appropriate, challenging curricula and creative classroom design allow each student to develop the core fundamentals, while maintaining an emphasis on the social and emotional development of every student.
Students learn skills and build confidence in reading, writing, and math while being inspired to explore and discover in social studies and science. While the foundation of our Menschlichkeit Values is deliberately laid in the Jewish Studies classroom, they are noticeably embedded in every part of the kindergarten experience. Small group differentiation, innovative technologies and unique teaching methods ensure that all students have the opportunity to achieve to the best of their ability, discover and grow individual talents, and build strong relationships with friends and teachers in a safe and comfortable environment.
In a language rich environment, our Kindergarteners are exposed to a comprehensive language arts experience that lays a strong foundation for the future. Students learn to love literature through a variety of author studies, guided reading groups, independent reading opportunities, and sharing the reading experience through a global and local reading buddy programs. Likewise, students write every day, whether in their journals or in a poetry notebook. This daily practice with individual instruction and feedback from teachers provides skills, confidence and pride in the writing process. One of the culminating highlights of their language arts journey emerges on Young Authors Night, when each student proudly shares their own original book.
Our multi-sensory Math program is designed to teach a wide range of mathematical concepts that ensure both knowledge of basic math skills and a confidence in attacking increasingly challenging concepts. Starting with addition and subtraction facts, and working towards computation strategies, measurement, data, estimation, fractions, and ultimately higher level problem solving skills, our students continue to build a strong foundation in our accelerated math program.
Kindergarten students continue to nurture and develop various skills through science experiences that explore life and physical science concepts. Starting with studying plants, gardens, nutrition, and the body, and finishing the year with the exploration of animal lifecycles, provides an enriching life science experience. Students are also exposed to physical science concepts such as chemical reactions and discrepant events in fun and engaging activities in the science lab, which is specifically designed for young learners.
Kindergarteners begin their social studies experience by learning about their own identity and how people identify them in their various communities. In particular, students learn about patriotism and Israel, while also being exposed to units on important leaders such as Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington. Through creative activities, the broadening of understanding of important people in our history allows Davis kindergarteners to begin to identify their own traits as leaders and important members of our community.
Jewish and Hebrew Studies
Kindergarten students experience a combined Jewish and Hebrew Studies class four times each week. Over the course of the year they build a strong and joyful foundation of both Jewish Knowledge and the Hebrew Language. Through creative and engaging instruction, students develop a pride in what it means to be Jewish as well as an understanding of the unique quality and nature of the Hebrew language. The focus for the Kindergarten year is on building a Jewish treasure box full of items for use at home as well as on Hebrew letters, words, phrases and songs.
The Kindergarten curriculum focuses on process as well as the product. The objective for the Art program is to provide balanced art instruction and a strong foundation for the elementary art student. This is achieved through a strong emphasis on visual perception, drawing skills, and an understanding of the principles of art as well as the elements of design. The goal of the program is to develop students’ abilities to understand and appreciate art while they both grow their passions and fee great joy in the creative process.
Kindergarten students attend General Music classes weekly for 50 minutes. Classes and student curriculum are directly based on the National Standards for Music Education and may include exploring a variety of rhythmic and melodic percussion instruments, singing and performing a varied repertoire of music alone and with others, reading, notating, composing and arranging music and evaluating music and music performances. Students also have an opportunity to learn Jewish music in their classrooms and lead songs and prayers together with the entire school and the Davis community at Kabbalat Shabbat.
Media and Technology
Each Kindergarten student will alternate visits to the Media Center and a new Technology Lab designed specifically for younger students. Media Center visits will include an instructional lesson, story time, and book check out. Technology Lab visits will include an integrated technology lesson that develops media literacy and technology skills for a globalized world. Throughout the media instruction, we practice the standards for the 21st Century Learner as outlined by the American Association of School Librarians, which includes but is not limited to inquiring, thinking critically, and gaining knowledge. In addition, students are taught to draw conclusions, make informed decisions, and apply knowledge to new situations, both productively and ethically, and pursue resources that encourage personal growth.
During the Kindergarten year, our activities focus mainly on gross motor movement skills with themes such as traveling, recognizing body parts in movement, and space relationships. Using a variety of resources and equipment, we practice manipulating objects to catch, throw, and strike. Other themes throughout the year introduce team game-like situations in a fun non-competitive way. Other units include dance and creative movement. Some favorites among our students include the “Chicken dance” and “Macarena”. Our goal is to introduce each child to skills and fitness in a way that will lead to a lifetime of enjoyable physical activity for well-being.
Beyond the Classroom
Kindergarten extends beyond the classroom. Kindergarteners have learning adventures at The Art Barn, The Matzah Bakery and The Alliance Theatre and Center for Puppetry Arts. In the Spring, the Kindergarteners celebrate a culminating tzedakah project with a Moosical performance. Kindergarteners are on the move with grade-level rotations to reinforce a variety of curricular themes, including Passover Seders, Hanukkah parties, and Havdallah at the zoo. Global connections through mystery skypes, Google Hangouts, Global Read Alouds, and international math challenges allow us to share and learn from a broader community. We also bring the excitement into our classrooms as we welcome special guests and families for mystery reader and center helper opportunities. The Kindergarten team incorporates a myriad of opportunities to expose our students to meaningful learning experiences.