The Beginning School

Junior Kindergarten

Junior Kindergarten Program

  • Families can choose a half-day or full-day program.
  • Morning Drop-Off is 7:45-8:30 a.m., Afternoon Dismissal is 12:20 p.m. or 3:00 p.m.
  • Healthy snacks are served in the morning.
  • A full program of specialist classes is provided including Spanish, Art, Music, Library, and PE.
  • Access to the Beginning School playground as well as a campus pond and hiking trails provides plentiful outdoor opportunities.
  • Outdoor playtime occurs twice a day.
  • Theme-based curriculum includes Metamorphosis, Hibernation/Migration, Community Workers, and Oceans.
  • STEAM/project-based designing and making is built into the curriculum. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math)
  • Students strengthen their language and understanding around similarities and differences: eye color, hair color/texture, skin color, and family structure.


Student ownership of the learning experience is a key component of the Junior Kindergarten program. Based on student interests, curricular activities are planned to incorporate opportunities to reinforce the curriculum expectations. There is a strong emphasis placed on the social/emotional aspect of each student’s learning profile in order to foster a prosocial and supportive learning environment for all. Activities are hands-on whenever possible and designed to allow for a high degree of collaboration, sharing of ideas, and mutual support. The specials teachers often integrate the current theme into their programs.  
Each morning, the students enter the classroom being greeted by a morning message that reflects the topic of study. This message is often discussed at the Morning Meeting as part of our Responsive Classroom approach. Students are encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings regarding their own particular areas of expertise/affinities whenever appropriate whether at morning meetings or throughout the course of the school day.  
The following list represents year-end benchmark goals for Junior Kindergarten students. We acknowledge that some students have capabilities of going well beyond these basic expectations. In keeping with high expectations and differentiation, we can strive to meet the range of all abilities and needs. 

Curriculum Benchmarks

List of 8 items.


    • Delays gratification
    • Speaks comfortably with familiar adults
    • Respects the authority of the teachers
    • Participates in the group life of the class
    • Initiates activities with peers – accept activities with peers
    • Learns to use appropriate language to express emotions or feelings 
    • Shows consideration and care for others
    • Seeks help from peers or adults
    • Respects the property of others
    • Uses good manners
    • Engages in collaborative play
    • Continues to gain control of physical impulses
    • Uses interpersonal skills, such as negotiating, sharing, and cooperating  

    • Uses class materials purposefully
    • Follows classroom and playground rules and routines 
    • Manages transitions
    • Attends to tasks within varied contexts: 
      • Child-initiated and teacher-initiated
      • Whole group, small group, independent 
    • Persists in a task and seeks help when encountering a problem 
    • Understands and follows multiple-step directions
    • Shows eagerness and curiosity as a learner
    • Takes appropriate risks  

    • Engages in many self-help skills
    • Moves with balance, control, strength, and coordination to perform a variety of skills
    • Uses strength and control to perform simple fine-motor tasks 
    • Manipulates with some dexterity a variety of art and drawing materials  

    • Follows two-step directions.
    • Attends to peers and adults
    • Listens to obtain information and solve problems  
    • Is developing the ability to communicate thoughts and feelings
    • Begins to use age-appropriate articulation/voice 
    • Utilizes curriculum-based vocabulary
    • Initiates and responds to peers and adults
    • Contributes to group discussion with relevant comments
    • Begins to engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions, building on other’s ideas and expressing their own clearly
    • Begins to ask and respond to open-ended questions
    • Begins to retell events in a logical sequence 
    Phonemic Awareness 
    • Is beginning to recognize and produce rhymes
    • Is beginning to produce and identify initial sounds of a word
    • Segments syllables in words
    • Begins to recognize and produce sounds when prompted with a letter name
    • Recites the alphabet  
    Concepts of Print  
    • Begins to demonstrate book awareness, e.g. hold a book upright, turn pages from front of the book to the back, and scan pages from top to bottom and left to right
    • Looks at pictures in books and pretends to read
    • Understands that print is something to be read and has meaning  
    Word Work  
    • Recognizes first and last name environmental print
    • Begins to recognize classmates’ names
    • Recognizes some letters 
     Foundational Skills  
    • Shows an interest in literacy-related activities                         
    • Represents thoughts and emotions as illustrations
    • Uses symbols and shapes to mimic writing
    • Draws-a-person 5-10 parts 
    • Dictates facts about a topic and adds a picture
    • Participates in teacher-led, guided research and writing projects (e.g. “how-to” books, class books)  
  • MATH

    • Shows curiosity and independent interest in number-related activities
    • Recognizes some numerals
    • Counts by rote from 0 – 20
    • Counts using one-to-one correspondence  
    Patterns and Functions  
    • Sorts objects by one or more attributes
    • Demonstrates an understanding of spatial awareness
    • Uses positional vocabulary
    • Recognizes and duplicate simple patterns
    • Demonstrates an understanding of  more than,  less than,  equal to  
    Operations & Computations  
    • Begins to demonstrate an understanding of estimation  
    • Recognizes common geometric shapes  
    • Describes and measure using concrete non-standard units
    • Begins to demonstrate an understanding of sequence and events  
    • Begins to demonstrate an understanding of information from graphs  

    • Becomes aware of different cultures 
    • Gains awareness of maps 
    • Begins to recreate environments  
  • SCIENCE (In the Classrom)

    • Explores and investigate using five senses
    • Recognizes cause and effect
    • Asks questions about the natural world, make observations, and record conclusions from experiments
    • Compares and contrasts objects and events
    • Uses tools to investigate (microscope, magnifying glass, magnets, scales, rulers)
    • Uses science vocabulary ( sink, float, melt, freeze, solid, liquid)
    • Engages in simple experiments with a peer or small group
    • Makes and verifies predictions about what will occur  
  • STEAM (Science, Technology, Art, Engineering, Math)

    • Uses multiple senses to observe the environment Formulates questions about surroundings
    • Explores the answers to questions they’ve generated
    • Predicts an outcome before an event takes place Explores multiple answers to questions
    • Uses technology to enhance comprehension Identifies data
    • Works safely in all science situations  

Hibernation/Migration Theme

A Day in Junior Kindergarten

  • Free Play
  • Morning Meeting 
  • Specials Class
    • Library, PE, Spanish, or Art
  • Snack 
  • Story 
  • Choices 
  • Outdoor Play 
  • Lunch 
  • Rest 
  • Theme-Related Activity 
  • Outdoor play 
  • Dismissal  

Renbrook School is a co-ed private day school serving students in Preschool - Grade 8 in West Hartford, CT.
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