The Beginning School


Kindergarten Program

  • Full-day program.
  • Morning Drop-Off is 7:45-8:10 a.m.
  • Afternoon Dismissal is 3:00 p.m.
  • Healthy snacks are served in the morning and afternoon.
  • 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.
  • As part of the Kindergarten curriculum, students take a weekly hike on one of Renbrook’s 4 hiking trails.
  • Theme-based program including, Nature at Renbrook, followed by student-driven themes such as Transportation, Toys, Underground, and The 4 Elements.
  • Students have regular STEAM classes (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) where they engage in project-based designing and making.
  • Students learn about how they are different in order to identify their similarities (for example: skin color, hair texture, family structure, and ability). 


In order to be successful in and out of school, students need to learn a set of social and emotional competencies: cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control-- and a set of academic competencies: academic mindset, perseverance, learning strategies, and academic behaviors. These core beliefs drive so much of the Kindergarten school year.  
Renbrook’s Beginning School follows the Responsive Classroom (RC) methodology, an evidence-based approach to education that focuses on the strong relationship between academic success and social-emotional learning. The RC approach creates safe, joyful, and engaging learning communities where all students have a sense of belonging and feel significant. Each morning, Kindergarten students participate in a Morning Meeting-- the classroom gathers in a circle at the beginning of each school day and proceeds through four components: morning message, greeting, sharing, and group activity. The other core classroom practices at the heart of the Responsive Classroom approach include: Establishing Rules, Energizers, Quiet Time, and Closing Circle. These daily experiences provide an authentic learning opportunity for students to practice and further develop the important competencies mentioned above.  
Students in Kindergarten are viewed as individuals on their own developmental timeline. It is not uncommon to have Kindergarten students who are just learning the alphabet while others come as readers. This is typical and embraced at Renbrook School. We use formative assessments to determine the skill level of each student in reading and mathematics and provide instruction to help them learn what they are ready to learn next.  
Our beautiful campus at Renbrook is another “classroom” for our Kindergarten students. On a weekly basis, students and teachers go on hikes and nature walks. This outdoor education supports the natural curiosity of students as they learn more and more about the world around them. 
Finally, our Kindergarten teachers make keen observations of the passions and interests of the class and turn the topics that emerge into integrated units. This increases engagement and provides enriching opportunities to explore new concepts and skills.  
At the end of the school year, our Kindergarten students have grown and developed in such incredible and exciting ways that they can’t wait to move onto first grade! 

The following list represents year-end benchmark goals for 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 7 items.


    • Relate to and interact appropriately with peers
    • Express verbally to others their feelings and needs
    • Respect the rights and feelings of others
    • Use discussion and compromise to resolve conflicts
    • Accept responsibility for own behavior 

    • Use and organize materials with intention
    • Follow classroom and playground rules and routines
    • Manage transitions
    • Complete tasks independently
    • Seek help when encountering a problem
    • Engage in and elaborate upon activities they select or create
    • Understand and follow three-step directions
    • Take appropriate risks
    • Participate in collaborative activities with peers 

    • Engage in all self-help skills
    • Move with balance, control, strength, and coordination to perform a variety of tasks
    • Use strength and control to perform fine-motor tasks
    • Use writing/drawing tools with confidence and control 

    • Attend to others when they are speaking
    • Follow 3-step directions
    • Listen to obtain information and solve problems 
    • Express ideas, thoughts, and feelings with appropriate vocabulary, using coherent, complex sentences
    • Respond to open-ended questions
    • Contribute to group discussion with relevant information
    • Utilize curriculum-based vocabulary
    • Initiate conversation and respond to peers and adults 
    • Retells events in a logical sequence 
    • Recognize all upper-case and all lower-case letters
    • Identify and produce rhyming words
    • Recognize words as distinct units
    • Recognize, identify, and produce sounds when prompted with a letter name
    • Discriminate syllables in words
    • Recognize and produce initial and final sounds in words  
    • Demonstrate understanding of concepts during and following fiction and nonfiction stories (e.g. whole group, one-to-one, guided reading).
    • Recognize that reading has a variety of purposes 
    • Represent thoughts and emotions on paper in the form of pictures
    • Express self through words and pictures
    • Write all upper- and lower-case letters of the alphabet
    • Write own first name using upper- and lower-case letters
    • Represent spoken language with invented and/or conventional spelling
    • Write two sentences independently using invented spelling 

    • Recognize and use numerals to 20
      • Count by rote from 0 to 100 by 1’s and 10’s
      • Count forward beginning from a given number 
    • Count using one-to-one correspondence to 20
      • Count backwards by rote from 20 to 0
      • Write numbers 0 through 20
      • Identify one more and one less 
    Patterns & Functions 
    • Sort objects by more than one attribute
    • Show spatial awareness by demonstrating an understanding of position and order
    • Recognize and use a variety of positional vocabulary
    • Recognize, duplicate, create, and extend complex patterns using a variety of materials
    • Recognize and use a comparative vocabulary (more than, less than, equal to)
    • Make comparisons among objects, people, or events 
    Operations & Computations 
    • Estimate and verify a number of objects
    • Use manipulatives, number lines, drawings, and mental arithmetic to solve problems that involve the addition and subtraction of single-digit whole numbers
    • Use a ten-frame to count objects in groups of ten 
    • Identify and describe simple plane and solid figures 
    • Measure length and distance using non-standard units
    • Demonstrate an understanding of sequence, time, events, and time periods 
    • Identify and use graphs to answer simple questions 

    • Describe basic cause and effect
    • Observe and ask questions about the natural world and answer questions pertaining to classroom experiments
    • Identify and use tools to investigate (microscope, magnifying glass, magnets)
    • Identify and use measuring tools for linear, weight, and volume measurements (rulers, scales, measuring cups) 
    • Use science vocabulary (sink, float, melt, freeze, solid, liquid)
    • Engage in simple experiments with a peer or small group
    • Make and verify predictions about what will occur in simple experiments 

    • Recognize similarities and differences in people
    • Become familiar with basic map and globe skills 
    • Discuss the history and significance of our country’s holidays
    • Identify sources of information 

A Day in Kindergarten

  • Choice time  
  • Morning Meeting  
  • Fundations – phonics lesson
  • Specials Class
    • Library, PE, Spanish, or Art
  • Snack  
  • Writer’s Workshop
  • Math (Math in Focus)
  • Outdoor Play  
  • Lunch  
  • Rest  
  • Story
  • Theme-Related Activity  
  • Dismissal 

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