Who am I?
Who are you?
What is a community?
Discovery of self and other are the essential themes of kindergarten. At Foote, children begin their studies of societies and groups by learning and practicing ways to describe themselves and the people they know best.Within the first weeks of school, colorful self-portraits appear on the classroom walls. As the year progresses, children continue to learn about feelings, interests, their bodies, and physical attributes. Hopes and dreams are shared and help shape an ongoing unit called “All About Me.” Friendships are nurtured and children learn about each other through shared experiences, stories, and activities. The school’s values, known as Falco’s PRIDE, are embedded into lessons about taking care of ourselves, our friends, and our classroom. Families play an important role in the kindergarten program through visits and sharing objects from home which help to explain important celebrations and traditions. In the spring children map the campus. They gain a sense of themselves as members of a special kind of community. They meet and learn about the responsibilities of the adults who work at our school and become familiar with the rhythm of the year.
Children's fascination with the world around them provides the basis for the topics of study in the kindergarten science program. Investigations of the environment are connected to the scientific process through observation, data collecting, recording, and sharing. Students explore the classroom and outdoors through field trips, visits from members of the New Haven community, cooking, building, planting, and experimenting. They consult books and use scientific tools to enhance their explorations. A highlight of the Kindergarten year occurs in the early spring, when children learn to tap the sugar maple trees around our campus. From the watery sap that drips into the buckets through the rich syrup that emerges from the final boil, the maple sugaring experience provides one of many opportunities for our students to engage with the world.
Developing communication skills is an integral part of kindergarten. Language arts experiences take place throughout the day and are integrated throughout the curriculum. We read stories aloud every day in a warm and nurturing setting that encourages everyone to share ideas and observations. Favorite authors,
illustrators, and award-winning books are showcased frequently, giving our students a sense of the joys of reading, writing, and appreciating literature. Children are introduced to letter recognition, letter writing, and letter-sound correspondence. Individual and small reading group activities reinforce children's growing knowledge and use of letter sounds, early reading, and handwriting. In their writing, kindergartners use dictation and phonetic spelling to encode their own ideas as authors and to reinforce their knowledge of sound-symbol relationships. The children are exposed to the editing process as they prepare their pieces for an authentic audience. “Author Days” are special events in the Kindergarten classrooms, offering children and adults the chance to share the excitement of learning.
For our youngest students, language instruction focuses on listening and speaking. Our emphasis on oral communication encourages children to distinguish and replicate sounds. Kindergarten students are introduced to the sounds and patterns of French through nursery rhymes, puppets, songs, stories and games. Some of the topics covered in class are salutations, numbers, house, family and letters.
Popular French cartoon character Barbapapa and his family are presented to the students and have become favorite figures of their Kindergarten year. Some of the children’s most beloved songs include “Pomme de Reinette”, “Frère Jacques”, “Le Grand Cerf” and “La Barbichette”. Additionally, students learn about French culture through a wonderful pop-up book, Frenchy the Frog, where they visit Paris and learn about “La Tour Eiffel”, “Notre Dame, and “Le Louvre”, “Mona Lisa”, “Les Champs-Élysées” and more! Special projects include celebrating the Lemon Festival, which takes place in the south of France, and in-class Baguette making.
The Lower School physical education program provides opportunities for students to express themselves through movement. In the primary grades, classes focus on fine and gross motor skills, balance, spatial awareness, flexibility, endurance, strength and coordination. Activities are lively and fun, making use of a wide variety of equipment, ranging from bean bags to beach balls, whiffle bats, scoops, and foam paddles.
Competition is kept to a minimum and cooperative games are included in most lessons. The 3rd-5th grade program encourages students to build endurance through a gradually increasing running challenge, which culminates in a one-mile run. Also in these later elementary grades, team sports are introduced, along with the concept of rules and sport-specific skills.
In Kindergarten through fifth grade, all three sections of the class participate in gym together, allowing the teachers to divide the group into different configurations. Kindergarteners have gym three times in each six-day cycle; 1st and 2nd graders three times; and third through fifth have gym four times in each cycle.