The pre-kindergarten program places particular emphasis on nurturing the three-year-old students’ natural need for independence, exploration of environment, and purposeful play. Through daily songs and calendar activities, SMART board interaction, gross and fine motor development, and maximum exposure to age appropriate literature, the three-year-old Keith scholar will be well prepared for the curricular goals and expectations of the junior kindergarten program. The pre-kindergartener learns to follow school procedures (line up, take turns, listen to a speaker, follow multiple step directions, maintain routines) and through weekly observations and portfolio documentation, the teacher adapts and individualizes the curriculum for each student. Weekly or biweekly letter based themes provide a framework for language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and art.
Our program fosters a love and appreciation for literacy, creating numerous opportunities for independent, small group, and whole group reading. Other expected outcomes for our language arts curriculum include:
- To properly use and care for books
- Establish a connection between written words and meaning
- Letter/sound recognition of the entire alphabet
- How to pre-read, predict, and sequence events in a story
- The varied purposes for writing through weekly journaling with parents and teacher
Mathematics will assist students in developing the ability to think logically, solve problems, and identify various mathematical relationships. Mathematical concepts will always be presented in a concrete, manipulative format (counters, measuring cups, toys, graphs). Students will also be expected to:
- Recognize and duplicate patterns
- Sort and classify objects
- Compare quantities (more than/less than)
- Identify and count numbers 1-20
- Identify and begin to describe the attributes of geometric shapes
- Use graphs to chart information
- Order numbers before/after/between up to 10
The social studies curriculum places an emphasis on the personal identity of the student and their family as well as an introduction to the United States government and patriotic symbols. Learning and being able to recite personal home information (full name, parents’ names, address, city, state, country, and phone number), understanding the importance of the American flag, memorizing of the Pledge of Allegiance, and exploring geography are just a few of the many topics covered. Additionally, our Spanish coursework will compliment the curriculum weekly by exposing the students to various cultures, helping them broaden their awareness of the world around us.
Through observation and exploration of magnets, plant growth, insects, weather charting, and dental care among several other interesting concepts, science will be incorporated very naturally into the students’ daily activities.
Art is incorporated into the pre-kindergarten weekly thematic units. Children have daily opportunities for drawing, painting, play dough manipulation, and using scissors to cut straight lines, curves, and eventually circles. Paint brushes are also used to practice circular and up-and-down motions as a foundation for writing. Art is used as a means of self-expression while developing fine motor skills.
The pre-kinder music program incorporates the unique instructional techniques of Zoltan Kodaly and Carl Orff. Concepts are taught sequentially and the students build on their prior experiences with music. Activities include singing, moving, listening, creating and playing instruments. Specific skills addressed in pre-kinder include instructing students to find their singing voice and sing with a head tone; walk, run and gallop to the music, play singing games to reinforce musical and social skills, build a repretoire of thirty songs, games and rhymes and perform in the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Holiday and Grandparent’s Day programs.
Students in pre-kindergarten are exposed to a variety of skills in a general way in order to gain a beginning understanding of skill development. Some basic concepts covered in PE are body and space awareness, balance, gross motor skills, cooperative learning, and hand-eye coordination.
At Keith, our technology program begins at three-years old. Students begin the year by learning basic computer vocabulary and how to use a mouse and keyboard to interact with software. Later in the year, computer etiquette is a point of emphasis because at Keith Country Day School, our students are taught to be good citizens both physically and electronically. As the year progresses, classroom projects become integrated within our weekly activities so that technology becomes one with the classroom environment.
Mrs. Sombke, adopted at 12 years of age from South Korea, learned two languages simultaneously — English and Music. An accomplished pianist and violinist, she has extensive experience teaching music to students of all ages. After attending college, she taught English classes in Japan where she gained a deep appreciation of the Japanese culture. Mrs. Sombke has been an English as a Second Language teacher as she is familiar with Korean and Japanese languages. Her early childhood teaching experiences have included the Montessori Private Academy and in the City of Rockford’s Head Start program. Additionally, she has taught for many years at the Music Academy of Rockford where she has instructed “Music Together,” keyboarding, and directed the chamber orchestra. Mrs. Sombke integrates the philosophies of Suzuki, Orff, and Kodaly into her music curriculum. She enjoys directing the handbell choir, adult choir, and instrument ensemble at her church in Belvidere. In her spare time she reads, knits, quilts, and of course, enjoys spending time with her husband and four children.