Discovering personal greatness in pre-school through grade 8 students - Burlington, Vermont

Kindergarten

The Kindergarten curriculum at Mater Christi incorporates a play-based program with academics.  The children learn math, language arts, science, social studies, religion, etc through many, varied learning opportunities and activities.  All are standards-based and developmentally appropriate and are designed to allow the children to reach their highest potential and beyond; to discover their personal greatness.  Learning through play is an important part of the Kindergarten curriculum for its unique way of positively influencing physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development. Children especially can become consumed in their own imaginary world of play. This world of play offers children vast opportunities to learn about themselves, others, and the environment in which they live.

Benefits of play in the classroom include:

  • Physical: increase in strength, overall fitness, motor skill development, health;
  • Cognitive: increase in skills such as problem solving, creative thinking, planning, organizing, language, and overall academic success;
  • Social and Emotional: enhanced development of cooperation, sharing, turn taking, less egocentrism, increase in pro-social values and self esteem, practice of appropriate social roles.

The children will explore, create and learn through blocks, dramatic play, board and card games, and manipulatives.

Mathematics

We use the My Math math program throughout the elementary school.  The children will learn the concepts and skills of number and operation, comparing and sorting, position and patterns, graphing, measurement, time, geometry, and basic addition and subtraction.  There are also many supplemented math activities throughout the year to enhance the program.  The children will do quite a bit of estimating through fun, hands-on activities and they will learn new math language and begin to make math connections through problem solving.

Science

Much of the kindergarten science curriculum is based on the world around us and that which occurs naturally in each of Vermont’s four seasons.  The units we will cover include: Apples (and the life cycle of an apple tree), Leaves (and how they change), The Human Body (inside and out), Properties of Water including ice and snow, Animals in Winter, Weather, Plants, The Rainforest, and Wetlands.  Within the curriculum there are many opportunities for discovery, observation, and inquiry.  In addition, we are fortunate to have the 4 Winds program at our school that allows parents to teach science topics in the classroom!  A field trip in many of the units also helps bring the theme to life!  We will read, write and do many projects about each of these units.

English Language Arts & Literacy

The kindergarten language arts curriculum consists of laying a solid foundation for the children to learn to read and write.  The children are engaged in phonemic and phonological awareness activities.  This includes letter recognition and sounds, rhyming, and segmentation of words.  This is done through games, shared reading, and guided reading both in small and whole groups.  They will also become aware of sight words that are seen often in texts.

Writing is also modeled through shared writing and the children practice their writing in monthly journals and other writing projects throughout the year.  Children are introduced to the logistics of reading and writing such as going from left to right and top to bottom, using capital and lowercase letters, and using punctuation.  They will begin to make connections and convey meaning in their writing and reading.  The children will also learn how to form letters through the handwriting curriculum.

Social Studies

The social studies curriculum in kindergarten also focuses on the world around us.  We concentrate on getting to know each other and our community.  We discuss our similarities and differences and how each of us is unique.  We learn what a community is and how we can all help to ensure the well being of that community (this includes service projects throughout the year).  In addition, we do some mapping to let us see our place in the universe!  We will study our state, country and some continents, as well.  We also learn about the holidays of the year and some of the history behind them.

French

Kindergarten learns many fun things in French. Students learn how to say “hello” and greet, as well as to count up to 10 with different drums and ball games. Students listen to French stories, sing greeting song, and dance. Some of the special thematic units studies focus on singing the days of the week, recognize the colors, the family members, the body parts, and the weather. We also discover French celebrations like Christmas, Ephiphany, “Chandeleur”, “Mardi-gras”, and Easter.

Religion

Our religion curriculum is very much intertwined with the rest of the curriculum.  Through stories, song, and prayer, we use the teachings of God and Jesus to emphasize how to be a good and loving person.  We use the Responsive Classroom method of social curriculum to aid in teaching the children how to respect each other and those around them as we spend a great deal of time getting to know each other and our families.  We read Bible stories (including parables and miracles) and discuss them, celebrate holidays and holy days of the church year, and learn the basic prayers of the church.  We also attend and participate in prayer services and Masses throughout the year.  In addition, we learn about and pray using the Jesse Tree during Advent and the Rosary during Lent.  The Kindergartners also help plan and participate in the May Crowning for the entire school.

A Glimpse into the Kindergarten Experience

KindergartenGeology Rocks the MCS Kindergarteners
After a great introduction to Geology by our resident geologist and middle school science teacher, Mr. Pendergrass, Mrs. Roger’s class headed upstairs to the MCS Makerspace to learn about and make their own Volcanoes with our Enrichment/STEAM Teacher, Tricia Finkle

Kindergarten Students Extend Their Study of Light
Students visited the Makerspace to extend their study of light. They added a color changing LED to the end of their magic reading wands, used a white LED on a coin battery to explore transparent, translucent, opaque and reflective materials, and made sun catchers!

Kindergarten2Kindergarten Students Study the Human Body (Featured on WCAX)
The Kindergarten science unit on the human body allows the students to learn about their body inside and out. They explore their bones and muscles, major organs and how they work, as well as learning how to keep their bodies healthy.

Kindergarten3Kindergarten Hosts Annual Mother’s Day Luncheon
Each year, the MCS Kindergarten students host a special luncheon to honor their moms. Students kick off the day with a play, singing and usually a special art projects. Next, students bring their moms into the gym for a special lunch and treat.

Kindergarten4Students in Kindergarten through Grade 8 Perform the Musical, “Captain Louie Jr.” 
Thirty nine Mater Christi School students from kindergarten through grade eight performed the musical, “Captain Louie Jr.”, to a delighted audience of family and friends on Thursday, November 20th. Ms Kristen King, coordinator of drama at MCS, directed the play.

Elementary Code ClubCode Club for Elementary Students (K-3)
Students in the Elementary Code Club are introduced to concepts of coding using free iPad apps. In the first meeting this year, students used the BeeBot app to learn the basic concept of forward/backward, turn left/turn right, to navigate the garden path to reach the flower, heard sheep and collect eggs. BeeBot is also a programmable robot that students can use to “see” their code in action! This year, students will work with RoboLogic and CargoBot for robotics control, and they’ll also use Tynker and ScratchJr to learn computer programming.

Barb with KindergartenCreating Rhythms with Movement and Dance in Music Class
“Kindergarten and 1st grade students recently made shakers out of plastic eggs and filled them with peas, rice and barley to discover the different sounds they made. We then played “freeze dance” where they were allowed to dance and shake their eggs until the music stopped, and then they had to freeze. Afterwards, we did a call and response song called “Walking In the Jungle” which helped teach them how to walk and speak rhythm in step.”

Kindergarten5Kindergarten’s Mystery Bug Emerges in the Makerspace
“Mrs. Rogers Kindergarten students adopted trees on the school campus to watch how the trees change over the course of the school year. They collected leaves and seeds to look at with magnifying glasses, and to do rubbings to add to their books about their tree. It seemed like a great opportunity to pull out one of our laptops, donated by MyWebGrocer, and the digital microscope to get an up close and magnified look at some of the features of the leaves. Did we ever get an eyeful!”