age: 2.5 to 6 yrs.
･Kindergarten students attend class two, three or five days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 2:25p.m.. Optional extended care is provided between 8:30 a.m. to 5:00p.m.. While some of the Kindergarten students come up from our Preschool or After School programs, others are new to American World and have varying levels of English proficiency ranging from beginner to native. This mix motivates beginners to excel and older students to mentor their peers, creating valuable learning opportunities for all.
As in the Preschool, the primary goal is to nurture the overall development of each individual student. The objective is for them to become independent, self-confident and compassionate human beings through games, music, art, cooking and many other hands-on activities. We want to make your child’s early school experiences as enjoyable, exciting, and filled with growth as possible! More specifically, our objectives for Kindergarten are explained below.
･To Sharpen Fine Motor Skills. Fine motor skills are essential for performing tasks such as tying shoes, using a pencil, and manipulating small objects such as tweezers and beads. In Kindergarten, students devote much time to strengthening the small muscles in their hands. At this age, children are naturally interested in small, detailed work, so their progress in this area is quite rapid.
･To Continue Developing Coordination and Large Motor Skills. To complement the strengthening of small muscles in the hands and fingers, students are given the opportunity to move their bodies for exercise, fun, and self-expression. At the Kindergarten level, large motor activities will often require students to follow complex instructions and rules. Exercises designed to increase coordination and overall physical fitness are also a part of our Kindergarten day.
･To Develop More Complex Social Skills. Most Kindergarten students are able to interact socially with skills such as sharing, taking turns, and making polite requests. In Kindergarten, we build on these skills and learn how to solve problems independently using our words. Students also learn good sportsmanship, how to apologize to other students, and other complex social skills. At this age, children are developmentally ready to empathize with others, and staff guide students to think about how their actions affect the people around them. Staff encourage students to respect and help each other at all times to create a warm and caring community.
･To Teach and Learn Through Mentoring. Mentoring is one of the best ways for students to solidify academic skills while learning compassion, kindness and patience towards their peers. Not only do Kindergarten students mentor each other, but they also act as role models and mentors for the younger students, boosting their confidence and self-esteem.
･To Develop Public Speaking Skills. As Kindergarten students acquire more and more language daily, it is our goal to give them ample opportunities to share their thoughts, feelings, and ideas in front of their peers. This gives students self-confidence and builds a foundation for future public speaking skills.
･To Master More Complex Grammar Patterns. Students are encouraged to speak in full, grammatically correct sentences as much as possible through repetition and prompting. Activities such as Show and Tell give students a venue for expressing themselves and practicing speaking in full sentences. Kindergarten students are naturally very talkative, so their progress is quite rapid.
･To Continue Developing Reading, Writing, and Math Skills. In Kindergarten, students are taught to write. They begin with individual letters and then progress on to short words, their first and last names, and sentences. Students are also introduced to reading, beginning with short sight words and moving on to content words with the aid of pictures and manipulatives. Math skills such as basic addition and subtraction are also introduced as the year progresses.
･To Develop a Sense of Individuality. In Kindergarten, we encourage our students to find their own voices and express themselves in their own special ways. Children are given opportunities to express themselves through activities such as free art and group conversations.
･To Develop a Love of Learning and an Awareness of the World Around Us. Because Kindergarten is one of the first steps for children on the life-long journey of education, we want to give our students a curiosity and desire to learn that will last throughout their lives. Students review and are presented with new and challenging concepts through music, games, and other engaging activities. We do our best to provide a wide array of stimulating, age-appropriate activities that will keep our students interested and curious about the world around them.
HOW WE ACHIEVE THESE OBJECTIVES – THE DAILY KINDERGARTEN ROUTINE
Although the daily routine at each campus will vary slightly, here is a general overview of what happens during a typical Kindergarten day.
･Drop-Off. This is one of the most important times of the day for our students. After saying goodbye to family members, children practice self-care by getting ready for the day. Students also practice social skills through morning greetings and joining their peers in play.
･Free Play. This time is key to students’ social development. Children must practice sharing and taking turns using toys, making polite requests, and playing nicely with their peers. At American World, kindness and respect for others are emphasized even at this early age. Free play is also a time when Kindergarten students can interact with the younger Preschool students, giving them an opportunity to mentor and help their younger friends. This kind of interaction is especially beneficial for students who do not have younger siblings.
･Circle. Every morning, Preschool and Kindergarten students come together for circle time. After morning greetings and stretching, the group discusses the calendar, sings the ABC song, conducts a phonics drill, and sings monthly music. Again, Kindergarten students act as role models for the younger students and take pride in helping them sit appropriately and participate throughout the circle.
･Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Once the Preschool students have left the circle, Kindergarten students participate in a group discussion of things that they have done recently or will do in the near future. This time is very special as it allows children to express their own experiences verbally and solidify their understanding of time and correct grammar. Students must also learn how to listen to their peers and wait patiently for their turn to speak in front of the group.
･Potty Time. All students are taken to the restroom after circle time. Although most students have already been potty trained and can ask to be taken to the restroom on their own, all students are expected to use the restroom at this time to avoid accidents and promote a regular routine. Because safety is always our first priority at American World, students are accompanied by a teacher or manager at all times when using the restroom.
･Language or Math Worksheet. Every day, Kindergarten students are given a worksheet that introduces or reinforces a math or language concept. Students begin with letter and number recognition then move on to basic addition, subtraction, reading and writing. Students are never rushed into reading; when a student is ready, he or she will progress at a phenomenal rate and enjoy reading. If there is pressure to read, students tend to lose their enthusiasm and progress slows.
･Snack Time. Because of the longer school day, Kindergarten students at Setagaya have a snack in the morning to maintain their energy and help them focus. Snack time also gives students an opportunity to converse with their classmates and teacher while practicing good table manners.
･Large Motor Activities. Throughout the day, students are given opportunities to move and actively use their bodies through games, dancing, stretching, and other physically stimulating activities. Students learn how to follow and give verbal instructions while repeating key phrases and expanding vocabulary. Large motor activities challenge students physically and mentally while developing coordination and strength. While having fun and striving to succeed, children are also learning good sportsmanship and how to respect their classmates’ personal space.
･Fine Motor Activities. In Kindergarten, fine motor skills are strengthened in a variety of ways across the daily curriculum. Cooking and art lessons provide excellent opportunities for students to practice using the small muscles in their hands. Kindergarten students spend a lot of time practicing writing, which is in itself an excellent small motor activity.
･Lunchtime. Students are asked to bring their lunches every day. As with snacktime, lunchtime presents an opportunity for students to feed themselves while practicing good table manners and conversing with their peers. At the Setagaya campus, parents have the option of ordering catered lunches for their children for an additional fee.
･Buntec. Buntec is a group of activities based on the Montessori method of self-discovery designed to help children acquire practical life skills. Each activity is contained on a labeled tray to provide self-initiated individual learning. Some activities include pouring water, transferring beads, and matching using various items. Buntec not only teaches fine-motor skills but also encourages students to respect their classmates’ workspace and care for materials.
･Daily Specials. Every day, students are given the opportunity to experience a different special activity such as art, cooking, and science.
･WALK Once a week, Kindergarten students are taken on a walk to a nearby park. Time at the park allows students to interact with each other as well as observe natural phenomenon such as the changing seasons, the weather, insects, etc. Walks to the park are a favorite activity – children enjoy the change in environment and love spending time out in the sun! Due to safety concerns, students must be able to give and understand basic instructions in English and walk holding the walking rope.
･ART activities range from open-ended, student-directed projects that allow exploration in various media to goal-specific, teacher-directed art projects that require students to carefully follow instructions. Examples of art projects include glitter ornaments during the Christmas season or animal masks to reinforce a unit on animals.
･COOKING is a favorite activity for most of our students. Projects range in difficulty from pancakes to broccoli and cheese casserole. Students take turns pouring, stirring, mixing, spreading, and cutting to create a tasty dish that they sample at lunchtime! Kindergarten students are also given opportunities to measure, read the recipe, and cut ingredients. Safety is of paramount importance during the cooking lesson, so children are drilled in kitchen safety and are never allowed to handle hot objects or sharp knives.
･SCIENCE activities range from making volcanoes with baking soda and playdough to making rockets with a balloon, a straw, and a string. At this level, science is very hands-on and is designed to interest students in the world around them.
･THEME activities are based on the current monthly theme, such as “Gardens,” “Animals” or “Insects.” Theme activities reinforce the current theme and are usually based on art, music, fingerplays, or games.
･Music. Singing is one of the best ways children acquire language and a sense of rhythm at this age. Music can be either a large or small motor activity; sometimes it can be very physical, requiring children to use their bodies to “act” out the music while singing. In Kindergarten, students are required to follow the directions that they hear in the music and do things such as hop, clap, twist, and wiggle as they sing.
･Storytime. Stories not only teach children about the world, but they also give children new vocabulary and captivate them with vivid colors and pictures. An early introduction to books will interest children in reading and promote letter and word recognition from an early age
･Pickup. At the end of the day, students again practice how to dress themselves and get ready to go home as independently as possible. At the end of the day, mommies are greeted with smiling little faces and great big hugs from the Kindergarteners!
At American World, we strongly believe that nurturing each child as an individual is our most important job as educators. We are more than happy to accommodate students with special needs such as allergies or dietary restrictions. If your child has any special needs that we need to be aware of, please consult the Headmistress.
Please note that Kindergarten is on holiday during the summer (June through late August). Kindergarten students are encouraged to attend at least one session of Summer School to maintain the school routine.