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 in the kindergarten school year.
Renbrook’s Lower 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.