Welcome Trinidad School Dragons to the Kindergarten Kingdom of Discovery!
My name is Emilee Prince and I have been teaching Kindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten at Trinidad School for 13 years. Trinidad School has an amazing community full of support and passion for learning. It is a joy to work with children, families, and staff in this truly special learning environment.
Philosophy of Teaching: I believe that education should be hands-on, integrated, meaningful, and cooperative. I like to design exciting, motivating themes for the children along side the curriculum that has been adopted by our district. In my planning, I keep in mind the standards and skills we are expected to teach, then try to integrate those into our thematic studies.
Standards: What we teach is in kindergarten is determined by the State of California and set forth in the Standards. If you are interested in learning what the Standards are please click here https://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cc/ The standards provide the foundation of the skills we teach, but since we try to help each child reach their potential, we may teach higher grade-level skills, depending on the students and their needs.
Reading: In our classroom, our approach to teaching reading is one of balance. We use the whole language approach, meaning that the text determines the skills. We also use phonics instruction, which emphasizes the sounds of letters. Our goal is for the children to reach a level of independence in reading and love to read. However, most kindergarten children simply learn the basics—some are not ready to learn reading due to developmental issues—if they aren’t ready this year because reading is such an abstract concept for their brain development, they will be next year. Our adopted language arts curriculum is from Fountas and Pinnell. When teaching strategies for reading, we want the children to learn to monitor what they read and ask themselves if it makes sense. If it doesn’t make sense, the children should learn to self-correct and re-read. This skill is something that beginning readers learn after they learn the letter-sound association. Asking “Does that make sense?” is more important than asking your child to “sound it out.” Only simple, three letter words can be sounded out and this should only be expected if you know your child knows the sounds of the letters in the words. We suggest that you point to the words as you read to your children. You can ask them to read simple words as you point to them or to say the word you leave out.
Writing: Writing is something we do almost every day. To start children build up their fine motor skill coloring, cutting, and manipulating small objects. We transition to writing names, learn to print the letters and to write their ideas. In the beginning, when they are just learning about letter sounds, the children dictate their ideas. But, as they learn more sounds, they do their own invented, phonetic spelling.
Science: Students use the scientific process of discovery to explore our world by asking questions and experimenting. We will be use an online curriculum called Mystery Science and garden throughout most of the year. We will also immerse ourselves into ocean month and study the pond habitat.
Social Studies: Students study community, family and their place in the environment. We also study Yurok Native American cultures, beliefs, customs and language. The adopted curriculum is History Alive!
Technology: Students work with our technology teacher 30 minutes per week on our chrome books to learn typing skills while practicing their phonics and math skills through educational games. We use the following games that can be accessed at home as well:
Physical Education: Students will continue to grow their gross motor skills as they learn how to maintain a healthy body. Students learn and practice balancing, throwing, catching, and moving skills.
Math: Math is everywhere in our everyday lives. We try to use what happens in the classroom to create problems for the children in addition to what we work on in our My Math text books. An example would collected milk cartons for the kingdom project. We counted the cartons to see how many we had and how many more we would need. Some of the basic concepts we cover are patterning, sorting, basic addition facts, geometric shapes, graphing, and problem solving. Since much of our math work is hands-on, you won’t see lots of math worksheets coming home, except ones from our My Math books. Whenever you see a paper with math equations on it, know that your child has recorded the equations using real objects. One of the best ways to help your child learn to count and recognize numbers is to use board games and cards.
Homework: You may be wondering if there will be any homework in Kindergarten. Beyond reading to your child every day, we do not assign homework until after the winter break. Reading and talking to your children are the most important things you can do for them to be successful in school.
Discipline: Our school wide behavior program is P.B.I.S. which is positive behavior intervention and support. We try to teach the children our expectations, then use praise and encouragement to help them learn how to behave so that we can establish a learning environment in the classroom.
Communication: I will keep you informed on class goings on with our weekly newsletter format, a monthly calendar of important dates, and google classroom, and class dojo, where I can be reached most easily. https://www.classdojo.com/
Volunteers: Trinidad School loves volunteers, so we hope that you will find ways to be involved in your child’s education, even if you can’t be a classroom volunteer. You could attend the Parent Teacher Organization meetings, serve on the Education Foundation, or participate in class or school-wide events. We are excited to have so many wonderful new families attending Trinidad School. You have joined a wonderful school community and what you give of yourselves will come back to you many times over.