junior kindergarten (4 year olds)
The Junior Kindergarten program focuses on readying students for Kindergarten, using Kindergarten-level math and phonics programs to accomplish this goal. Students are formally instructed in small groups for math and language in a traditional setting. Students also learn in self-instructed centers which are influenced by a Montessori environment. Routine and a focus on patriotism, manners, and respect define the order of the room.
Patience, self-control, and fostering independence are an integral part of the curriculum. Social and emotional skills are developed during morning circle time and through daily interaction. Students are encouraged to model positive behavior and are rewarded for their accomplishments. Good working habits are taught through positive reinforcement and the consistency of the program itself.
The Junior Kindergarten language development program is designed to introduce both Spanish and American Sign Language to the student. In addition to both languages being used throughout the day, there will be two weekly lessons dedicated to Spanish instruction.
American Sign Language objectives include learning to sign the following:
- The Alphabet
- Basic Vocabulary
- Signs for Florida’s Endangered Species and Other Animals
- Objects in the Classroom
- Basic Commands
- Family Members
- Greetings and Salutations
The Spanish objectives include:
- Learning basic Spanish vocabulary such as: reciting numbers, colors, shapes, body parts, animals, pets, clothing, foods, sports, objects in the classroom, objects in the bathroom, objects in the kitchen and on the kitchen table, and members of the family.
- Students will also learn their five (5) senses, learn basic greetings and salutations, the months of the year, and the days of the week.
- Students will also learn Spanish heritage, holidays, and countries of Spanish heritage.
All language development lessons will be reinforced through repetition, songs, games, books, flash cards, and arts and crafts. Students are also paired with a “reading buddy” from the third grade. This program emphasizes mentoring, leadership skills, and a love of reading. Students meet and read with their reading buddy once a week. Reading buddies are invited to attend special occasions throughout the year, as well.
Phonics instruction helps children learn the relationships between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language. Students will learn:
- The 26 letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make;
- The first 20 high-frequency (sight words) from the Dolch Word List; and,
- Short vowels sounds to facilitate pre-reading.
In Junior Kindergarten, students begin to learn about the scientific processes that govern the world around them. Topics covered include:
- Endangered species native to the state of Florida
- Recycling and environmental conservation
- Gardening and the study of plant growth from seed to mature plant
- Planting and maintaining a portion of the school-wide garden
- Hands-on study of the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly
Students have scheduled Library periods each week. During this time, the JK class is involved in using various methods to reach visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic learning styles by participating in the following activities:
- Reading and discussing children’s literature, poems, and big books;
- Exposure to music in order to provide variety and encourage student participation;
- Filmstrips and CDs add to auditory and visual learning;
- Movement around the Library; and,
- Flannel board characters and puppets.
The Visual Arts program teaches art concepts and skills through an experience-based approach. Students will be introduced to the following concepts:
- Elements and Principals of Design
- Differences in Shapes and Forms/Light (Tints) and Dark (Shades)
- Primary/Secondary/Tertiary Colors
- Balance and Symmetry
The JK music curriculum expands on concepts introduced in Pre-Kindergarten, such as:
- The Basics of Reading Music
- Music Appreciation
- Performance Etiquette
- Singing and Matching Pitches
- Recognition of Musical Instruments
- Vocal Warm-Ups
- Two-Part Group Singing
The JK students attend physical education classes weekly in the Judith Rogers Gymnasium. The program is created to cultivate the child’s basic skills. The goal is to develop physical skills such as:
- Skipping and Jumping
- Hand/Eye Coordination (Throwing, Catching, Hitting and Bouncing Balls)
- Patience, Following Instructions, and Good Sportsmanship
The program includes both a school-wide weekly Chapel service and a classroom study program. The overarching theme of the program is love of God, self, and others. Students will learn:
- Jesus’ summary of the Law and that God is Love;
- Learn that prayer is talking and listening to God;
- Exploration various Bible stories;
- Peace education with I-Care Cat (puppet) and friends; and,
- Practice service to others.
Students attend lessons weekly in the Lowry Computer Lab wherein basic computer use is taught though various computer activities/games that reinforce the JK math/phonics curriculum. Students learn the following:
- Parts of a Computer
- Controlling the Mouse
- Basic Keyboard Functions