INTRODUCTION:

Our teachers lead Cascadia’s kindergarten students through an advanced program using a wide variety of teaching resources.  Unlike the typical Montessori preschool and kindergarten model based on free-choice selection of work, our students are guided through a carefully planned and sequenced curriculum.   The program implements the step-by-step, hands-on, concrete Montessori materials for children to learn language arts, reading, and mathematics.  To extend the breadth of practice, work is paralleled with traditional educational resources.  By learning from the concrete, the student is able to continuously apply concepts across the curriculum.  The breadth and depth of practice using both methods of learning, accelerates the learning process and challenges and extends higher thinking skills.  During the kindergarten year, students work on academic concepts and skills that are commonly found in the first and second grade.  Also valued in our program is the inclusion of vocal music for performing arts, French as a foreign language, art instruction, and physical education. Cascadia’s approach prepares our kindergarten student to grow through Cascadia’s elementary grades of first grade through the fourth grade.

EXPRESSION AND SPEECH DEVELOPMENT:

Kindergarten students greatly expand their abilities in speech and oral expression. Daily, they are engaged in classroom discussions and activities using new vocabulary gained in their learning experiences.  For example, in special studies lessons in science and social studies, students learn and utilize vocabulary for such exciting topics as rocks and the rock cycle, vocabulary for the geologic layers of the earth, and the names and locations of the ancient and modern wonders of the world.   As the students extend their reading and learning of phonics to longer versions of short vowel words and to all types of long vowel words, students create sentences that reflect the meaning of the words.  Students speak clearly in sentences to explain thoughts, share ideas and information.  Learning poetry and singing subject related songs add another aspect of creativity and expression.

READING

Continuing to build reading skills, focus is on continuous growth through a sequence from phonetic short vowel words, blends (st, tr, etc.) and diagraphs (th, sh, ch, etc.), to the common spelling patterns of the long vowels and vowel pairs.  Students are reading short vowel booklets, long vowel booklets and books that combine all reading components.  Students grow into reading at a first grade reading level in both fiction and non-fiction booklets.

WRITING AND SPELLING:

Cascadia’s kindergarten students are prepared to “burst” into composing directly onto paper.  Composition skills parallel the advancement in spelling and reading skills.  By mid-September, communicating in written sentences is well under way and continues to mature through the year.  Students create and write sentences focusing on using words with various spelling patterns.  Writing skills grow by writing informational compositions about topics in special studies.  Aided by the use of word boxes, students can write paragraph stories about the different planets, paragraph stories about the vertebrate groups of animals, and other special studies topics.  Students enjoy writing creative stories about holidays and personal and class events. During kindergarten, Cascadia students are writing within the first grade level.

MATHEMATICS:

Kindergarten students are learning and applying number and place value concepts at the first grade level and are introduced to place value concepts of the second grade level.  Students review number concepts to 100.  Then sequence of number is extended to 1000 using Montessori materials to see and understand number and quantity relations.  Feeling confident in skills, the students understand numbers that come before and after:  870 comes before 871, and 872 comes after 873.

Montessori concrete place value manipulatives show the concrete quantity of units, tens, hundreds, and thousands.  Students utilize the materials to add and subtract 4-digit number problems without regrouping.  Ending the kindergarten year, students are able to regroup in addition using the manipulatives.  This work is paralleled with traditional resources practicing all the addition and subtraction fact families which are the sums to 18 and minuends to 18.  This work takes Cascadia’s kindergarten students into concepts typically introduced to students in the first and second grade.

Using both Montessori concrete materials and traditional resources and materials, students gain understanding of money, graphing, telling time, fractions, and geometry typically found at the first grade level.  It is exciting to practice beginning problem solving by reading problems, determining whether to add or subtract, writing equations, and completing the calculation to arrive at an answer.

SPECIAL STUDIES:

A variety of science and social studies topics are presented each year.  Typically, one topic is a special study for a month.  Topics may alternate from year to year to provide broad experiences because the prekindergarten students and kindergarten students are in the same classroom together for two years.

As topics are presented, kindergarten students are engaged in discussions and educational games with the teacher to clarify and understand information and concepts.  Each topic is thoroughly examined by including a number of lessons; for example if the solar system is the topic, each planet would receive attention.  Students internalize and express understanding through discussions, comprehension activities, composition, and art projects.  Each study is accompanied by an at-home poster project which each child presents to the class. Special studies composition grows into a first grade standard.

Science instructors from the Pacific Science Center come into the prekindergarten and kindergarten classroom.  These lessons add another dimension to special studies. Discussions and hands-on activities reinforce concepts and understanding.  Topics may be about insects, the human senses, and the earth and planets.

FRENCH:

Weekly French lessons continue to introduce basic and common vocabulary of interest to the kindergarten student.  Lessons focus on such topics as colors, numbers, animals, family members, and foods.  Lessons involve creative crafts to focus on memory of vocabulary.  A delightful fun activity is for each student to take home a French stuffed animal ,Pistu, for a week.  Parents create a photo journal of the student’s adventures with Pistu which the student shares with classmates.  Reoccurring vocabulary is practiced.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION LESSONS:

The combined pre-kindergarten and kindergarten class gym activities and games are provided by Mini-Mountain instructors.  Students are transported by Starline Bus to the Redmond Community Center for lessons in the gym.  Students practice the skills and techniques involved in dribbling, passing, and shooting basketballs or soccer balls.  In addition, students are engaged in activities that practice following directions and using all parts of their bodies as warm-up exercises such as walking, running, skipping, hopping, and crawling.  The more mature development and skill level of the kindergarten students are apparent in contrast to their fellow pre-kindergarten students.

ART LESSONS: MONART FOR CHILDREN:

The combined pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students benefit from art classes that promote visual perception skills.  Students follow the step-by-step instruction of the instructor, Mrs. Brucker, to construct a drawing of a picture.  Mrs. Brucker is a certified Monart art teacher.  Art pieces are created with a variety of mediums:  collage, pen, water colors, colored pencils, pastels, and markers.  In comparison to prekindergarten, it is exciting to see the kindergartener’s growth in visual and fine motor skills.

VOICE AND PERFORMING ARTS LESSONS:

The combined prekindergarten and kindergarten students engage in singing lessons, taught by Mrs. Scollick, a professional voice instructor for children.  Students learn to follow a director and find that different songs have different singing personalities:  for example “Oompa-Loopa” from Willy Wonka; “We are a Rainbow;” “Jow’d Ja Do” from Woody Guthrie.  The students perform in an All-School-Concert the end of March.  The kindergarten students are role models to their pre-kindergarten friends and provide a strong voice in the performance.  Presenting to an audience brings smiles to parents, but more importantly, helps students build self-confidence.