FIVES / KINDERGARTEN / FIRST GRADE
Fives: 9:00-12:00 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 years Elmwood has offered a transitional pre-kindergarten “Fives” class for children born late in the year. It is designed to give them another year to grow, learn, and play together. They are ready to start kindergarten the following year.
Elmwood children and new-to-Elmwood children enroll in our kindergarten program because of its focus on
- small groups
- investment in learning
- mature play
- joyful, thoughtful, reflective teaching
Excellent teachers and small group size allow each child to be known, understood, and supported in his or her growth, both socially and intellectually.
Occasionally children from our kindergarten continue on to first grade at Elmwood. They are part of our learning community, with differentiated instruction.
A Typical Day
Our Fives and Kindergarten gather each morning to play, read books, and talk with friends and teachers. We clean up, sing our “Honey Bees” 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.
In literacy, the themes are aligned and we always come back together at the end of a unit for an author’s celebration. We start by teaching children the think/draw process, encouraging details that match children’s verbal stories. The teacher always models her idea, gives children time to talk with a partner about their own, and conferences with children during writing time. We end with an author share, and the children love asking one another questions and offering compliments. Throughout the year we move on to labeling and writing across genres, always at the children’s level.
On math days, the Fives play games from our Building Blocks Math curriculum, which we enrich with games from EngageNY and other resources. Our Kindergarteners are part of a Problem of the Day group, which engages the children in thinking about a story problem and uses their math intuition to guide the share/lesson at the end.
We come back together for a picnic “Honey Bee style” snack. It is a very social time.
We go to SandWorld, the Back Playground, Basketball, Elmville. Bikes, Gaga, the Big Playground, 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 can choose which room to play in and move freely about our choice time rooms. Available daily are blocks, dramatic play, painting, play dough, artistic projects, card games, board games, Legos, puzzles, and sand or water. Teachers also frequently invite children to engage in a STEM challenge/experience.
We talk about our day and invite children to share how another child was a good friend that day or “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 Kindergarten math or a range of “Fives” activities (choice time, STEM challenge, book making/shared reading, Young Architects).
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 children who have been working hard to develop and demonstrate that value. The rest of the group offers compliments and we move on to game time with the “spotlight friend” choosing our first game.
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.
*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.