More: Visit the Younger Kids classroom pages
Younger Kids at Rivendell encompasses Pre-K through kindergarten. The Younger Kids program at Rivendell is designed to meet the individual needs of every student. We believe that children learn at different rates and that students should be taught in ways that are appropriate to their own learning styles and needs. Like the rest of Rivendell, Younger Kids classrooms are comprised of students of mixed ages. This gives our students the opportunity to learn from their peers and to help other children as well. Learners become teachers at Rivendell.
Our Younger Kids program is designed to stimulate the learner in every child. A one-on-one approach to teaching is employed to ensure that each child is being challenged. A good deal of our time each day is spent on reading, writing, and math, but our program goes far beyond these important foundations of learning. Younger Kids at Rivendell also participate in art, music, PE, Spanish, and technology which all contribute to the varied education that children receive. Additionally, science and social studies units are incorporated throughout the school year.
The learning in Younger Kids extends beyond the classroom. A whole child approach is paramount to the Younger Kids program. We believe that kids need to play so we incorporate several blocks of playtime into our daily schedule. During these times we help kids develop a strong sense of responsibility, independence, self-esteem, and empathy. In our safe environment children are taught how to take an active role in resolving problems with their friends. The social skills learned in these interactions may be the most important lessons students learn.
Our overall goal in Younger Kids is to build a community of happy, successful, independent, and responsible learners.
Reading in Younger Kids is a one-on-one activity. The Younger Kids teachers and parent reading volunteers read individually with students multiple times every week. Some of the highlights of the Younger Kids reading program are:
- A minimum of three reading work sessions every week during which teachers and volunteers read with students while others work on skill reinforcement activities at their desks.
- Teachers read picture books and/or chapter books with students daily to build language skills, vocabulary, comprehension strategies and a love of books.
- Book Partners—A time for older Rivendell students to read individually with their younger counterparts.
- Readers' Theater performance opportunities for able readers who will be transitioning to Middle Kids the following year.
Rivendell Younger Kids teachers believe that literacy skills should develop in concert with each other. It is with this in mind that writing in Younger Kids gets a large share of the literacy time. Varied writing times at Rivendell include the following activities:
- Weekly Topic Writing during which student writings are centered on our school-wide learning theme and are completed using correct spelling, grammar and punctuation.
- Journal Writing during which students are encouraged to explore writing creatively on their own by writing about what is important to them. During these writing times children use their own phonetic spelling techniques and the work is not corrected.
- Author's Chair – During this time students take turns sitting in the Author's Chair to share their creative writings with the class. The audience of children shares with the author what they liked about her/his writing. This is a celebration of the writer in every child.
- Mini Lessons—These short, five- to ten-minute instructional times happen during the beginning of all of our writing and journal work sessions and are designed to focus on a specific area of writing that our students are working on.
- Weekly Spelling assignments and tests for students who are ready for this challenge and who will be transitioning to Middle Kids the following year.
- Handwriting Without Tears—A program designed to help children work on strengthening their hand muscles and develop their fine motor writing skills.
In Younger Kids Math is integrated throughout the day in several different ways
- Zeroman—Rivendell's very own super hero of math
- A minimum of three math work sessions every week during which teachers work individually and with small groups of students while others work on skill reinforcement activities at their desks.
- Small group math with manipulatives
- One-on-one instruction
During work sessions and small group activities students are working on concepts in the following math progression:
- Recognizing numerals 0-9
- Counting 0-12 with one-to-one correspondence
- Recognizing larger and smaller groupings of similar objects
- Counting specific amounts up to 15
- Completing counting activities independently
- Learning and understanding simple counting rhymes
- Working with simple patterns
- Introduction to basic 2-D geometric shapes
- Introduction to sequencing
- Sorting objects
Beginning number combinations and rod recognition
- Recognizing and writing numbers 0-12
- Making different addition grouping combinations correctly
- Recognizing rods 0-12
- Patterns, sorting, sequencing, and shapes
- Understanding concepts of “greater than” and “less than”
- Counting using ordinal numbers (1st-12th)
- Counting backwards 12-0
Beginning Addition and Subtraction
- Recognizing addition and subtraction combinations 0-12
- General fact family stories
- Orally explaining concepts of addition and subtraction, understanding related vocabulary terms (add, plus, minus, subtract, etc.)
- Introduction and exploration of missing addends (algebraic unknowns)
- Understanding and using inverse operation as a method of checking problems 6-2=4 check with 2+4=6
- Introduction of story problems
- Recognizing and solving doubles
- Counting to 100
- Introduction of time -minute and hour hand
- Introduction to money
Giraffe—addition and subtraction
Cape Buffalo—Place value, two digit addition and subtraction
Peach I—Measurement, money, logic, geometry, patterning
Puffins—Place value, two digit addition and subtraction with regrouping
Peach I+—Measurement. money, logic, geometry, patterning
Peach II—Measurement, money, logic, geometry
Science and Social Studies are introduced to even the youngest children at Rivendell. Our learning units focus on different topics throughout a four year rotation. These Science and Social Studies themes are studied throughout the entire school which provides excellent collaborative learning opportunities for our students. Two work sessions per week are designed to teach the school-wide theme and an additional cross curricular work session every week is spent on writing about the theme. The list of our school-wide themes can be found here.