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Reading is the foundation for almost all other subjects. In preschool, students have learned alphabet letters and sounds, how to blend, and how to read one- and two-vowel words. Our kindergarteners find real joy as they continue to develop their reading skills and learn to overcome the many exceptions in the English language.
Challenger students have fun with math as they sing memorable songs that help them retain important concepts. As our kindergartners learn to measure and compute, we introduce additional math concepts, such as money, time, place value, odd and even numbers, story problems, and probability. We teach math in the proper sequence, working from fundamental to complex concepts and reviewing former concepts while teaching new ones for greater retention and mastery.
Our students practice handwriting skills through dictation and by independently copying from the board. Throughout the year, they learn to compose their own original sentences and stories and use correct capitalization and punctuation. When they are writing for creativity, our objective is to enable students to communicate their ideas clearly. Students learn spelling naturally through repeated exposure to it in daily dictation practice and phonics drills.
In logic, we teach students to focus on observable facts, identify their essential similarities, and resolve—not tolerate—contradictions. We do this by teaching students to categorize objects and to identify patterns and sequences—including what would be next in a sequence. Challenger kindergartners explore logic concepts such as point of view, word associations, similarities, and opposites. Students sing “Give me a problem; I’ll figure it out” in our song “The Challenger Way.” This song articulates our students’ attitude and confidence in their thinking skills when facing challenges.
At Challenger, we teach concepts about our world: the Earth and the planets orbit the Sun, the energy we need comes from the Sun, and minerals (materials for plant and animal growth) come from the Earth. We also teach how scientists classify animals to better understand them and their relations to each other. Students are introduced to and use the scientific method in projects and experiments.
Challenger kindergarten teachers regularly help students understand content and apply public speaking skills and techniques as they recite brief poems. The memorized selections inspire students with life-enhancing values as the practice of recitation helps them to memorize easily and present themselves well in public.
Kindergarten students learn that geography is the study of our world. We start with what they know and can directly perceive—their classroom and the environment around them—and then build outward. Maps and globes help expand their understanding of the world beyond their homes to neighborhood, city, county, state, country, continent, and planet! They also gain insight into customs and celebrations of our country.
Kindergarten-age children are quick to learn lyrics and to hear tones, musical patterns, and rhythm. Every day, Challenger students sing happy songs that will stay with them throughout their lives. They explore musical stories such as Tubby the Tuba and learn about musical instruments used in orchestras, marching bands, and jazz bands. The Christmas Sing and Spring Program give students opportunities to show off their musical skills.
In teacher-directed art activities, students learn to see and reproduce basic shapes and forms, enabling them to draw and paint. Art is integrated into other subjects as students illustrate science, reading, and writing lessons. They discover that they are artists!
Mina W., Strawberry Park campusKindergarten
Children love playing outside. We use PE time to help children develop their physical abilities and the skills they need to play structured games. Whether children are walking the balance beam, learning a square dance, or catching and throwing a ball, they are challenging themselves physically and reaping the benefits.
In this composition, the student writes a multi-sentence paragraph using correct punctuation capitalization, and spelling. He also includes several specific details and forms letters neatly and correctly.
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2021 National Blue Ribbon School