FIVES / KINDERGARTEN / FIRST GRADE
Fives: 9:00-12:00, 9:00-2:00, or 9:00-3:00. Enrichment classes available.
Kindergarten/First Grade: 9:00-3:00.
Our Fives/Kindergarten/First Grade make up our Honey Bees class, a community of enthusiastic learners and the oldest children in the school.
After enrolling in the fall and winter, new families visit with their children in the spring. On visiting day children come after school in a small group to play with new friends and teachers so they can get to know their new school.
In the fall, children return for Orientation Day, when they play again with teachers and a small group of classmates for a short period time. Later in the week school starts, with all of our daily routines in place.
For over twenty-five years Elmwood has offered a transitional pre-kindergarten “Fives” class for children born late in the year. This class is a mix of Elmwood children and new to Elmwood children. It is designed to give them another year to grow, learn, and play together. They are part of a larger group for all social experiences and split into small, differentiated learning groups to work on literacy, science, math, and thinking skills. Sports, Music, Movement, and Art experiences are a part of their regular curriculum. Children can stay half-day or for extended days, when they engage in enrichment experiences, including early reading skills.
Our Kindergarten-First Grade class is composed of Elmwood children and new to Elmwood children. The class comes together for social experiences that build mature play, relationships, and a strong sense of community. We break into small, differentiated learning groups throughout the day, where children learn literacy, math, science, and thinking skills, all taught in accordance with New York State early education standards. Children have regular opportunities to build speaking and listening skills, through planned experiences where they share ideas with a partner, present to a small group, engage in building challenges, and put on a class play. Sports, Music, Movement, and Art experiences are a part of their regular curriculum. We strive to know each child individually and support their emotional, intellectual, and social growth. We partner with parents, helping them understand their child’s progress and next areas of development.
A Typical Day
We gather each morning to play, read books, and talk with friends and teachers. We clean up, sing our class song and move into our meeting room to begin our day.
Children lead much of our morning meeting, taking increasing ownership throughout the year. We sing hello, work with the calendar, count the days in school, and engage in an interactive writing of our morning message to find out about our day. Each morning meeting, we have time for energetic games, songs, and a share activity in which children talk with one another or the whole class.
Once we are ready to stretch our brains in Literacy and Math, we move into small groups.
Small Group Time
Children are part of differentiated small learning groups for Literacy and Math. Literacy groups are structured to include a mini lesson, guided practice, writing time (when children conference with a teacher while also building independence and stamina), and an authors share. Children practice writing across genres, with different audiences and purposes in mind.
For Math, the Fives follow the Building Blocks Math curriculum, which we enhance with fluency games from Eureka/EngageNY. Our Kindergarten engages in Cognitively Guided Instruction, a problem-based math group that is based on the children’s math intuition. Our First Grade follows Eureka/EngageNY.
We come back together for a picnic “Honey Bee style” snack. It is a very social time, and often filled with conversations about what everyone was up to in their small group.
We go to SandWorld, the Back Playground, Basketball, Elmville. Bikes, Gaga, Sky Park, CLIMB, and the Ballpark. We have free play time as well as opportunities to play active Elmwood games. If the weather keeps us inside we play games in small groups upstairs or go down to the Big Room for obstacle courses, ball games, and strategy games.
We enjoy reading books across many genres. Children have frequent opportunities to share their thinking and understanding through turn and talks with a partner and whole group discussions before, during, and after reading.
Children choose which room to play in and move freely about our choice time rooms. Available daily are blocks, dramatic play, painting, play dough, card games, board games, Legos, puzzles, and sand or water. There is also always a teacher-initiated activity such as a STEM challenge or artistic project.
We talk about our day and invite children to share how another child was a good friend and “filled their bucket”. Children often lead the class in favorite songs and we end by singing goodbye.
After lunch children play and then transition to either an enrichment class or return to the Honey Bees class for the afternoon.
PM Honey Bees
Similar to the morning, we begin our afternoon with a meeting, a message, and a plan for the rest of our day together.
After some songs and games, we break out into small groups for either K-1 Math and Word Explorations (a blend of sight words and phonics) or a range of enrichment experiences for Fives (choice time, makerspace, book making/shared reading, building).
Love of Reading
We come back together for Love of Reading, which is when we spend time with books or literacy centers, while teachers conference with each child.
We celebrate particular values throughout the year and take time to acknowledge ways the class has worked hard to develop and demonstrate that value.
We end the day with active sports and strategy games, developing a vast repertoire throughout the year.
We dismiss from the main hallway. Parents drive around the loop to the front of school and teachers escort children to cars or buses.
Children take on the role of scientist as they help solve realistic problems. Science is hands-on, literacy rich, meaningful to children and aligned with NGSS.
*Music with Anne
We enjoy Music and Movement with Anne each week (morning and afternoon). We sing along to the music of her guitar, play musical games, dance, and act out songs and nursery rhymes. In the winter our Music curriculum builds toward a dance party, which families attend. In the spring we work together to write and star in our own class play.
*Young Artists with Lisa
We enjoy the Young Artists enrichment each week with Lisa, when we look at a famous work of art and make our own in a similar style.