Junior Kindergarten's lead teacher is Mrs. Cate Fernandez. She uses a combination of three reading readiness programs. Happily Ever After is a reading readiness program designed to give children the foundation they need to be successful when they begin formal reading instruction. It is built on the following principals:
1. Early reading skills are most effectively taught when integrated with the other language arts. Reading instruction works best when it keeps children constantly engaged in writing, spelling, listening, and speaking.
2. Explicit instruction supports children at every step. A good readiness program assumes nothing. Instead, it carefully breaks down and explains tasks.
3. A multimodal approach engages all children. Children, like all of us, learn through visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modalities. Strengthening children’s ability to learn in all the modalities prepares them for reading (which involves mainly the visual modality), spelling (auditory), and writing (kinesthetic).
Motivation is key to children’s success. Happily Ever After includes beautifully illustrated stories; lively discussions; and a great variety of hands-on activities, group games, and art projects—all of which delight children.
Our Junior Kindergarten also uses two additional programs. The Alphabet Curriculum encourages students EXPLORE and LEARN the letters through hands-on and engaging activities that utilize all modes of learning. It covers five areas of phonemic awareness: repeating sounds/sentences, identifying rhyming pairs, syllable counting, blending onset & rhyme, and identifying beginning sounds. Handwriting Without Tears was developed by an occupational therapist. It is the only developmentally-based program on the market, which means it pays particular attention to the needs of children who are learning to write. It offers basic exercises in figure-ground discrimination and top-to-bottom, left-to-right sequencing. These two programs focus on phonics and correct letter formation for alphabet mastery.
For math lessons, Mrs. Fernandez uses a comprehensive math curriculum that engages the students with music, movement, and hands on instruction. They build a strong foundation in number sense and foster a love of learning. Topics covered are sorting, shapes, patterns, positional words, comparing numbers, combining and subtracting sets, and kindergarten prep. Mrs. Fernandez also uses The Math Mingle Program, which offers a blended approach to the traditional calendar block with a focus on number sense and hands-on learning experiences.
Religion and bible stories are a daily part of our Junior Kindergarten. Our students learn that God is present and active in their lives and in the world. A faith-based education provides our students with a strong sense of direction in life. We pride ourselves in a long tradition of great academics, athletics, character building, and community service, but FAITH formation is the most important and is what makes our school special. Jesus loves us!
In addition, our JK students take part in our school extra-curricular classes - art, music, and physical education with certified and licensed teachers. They have great fun with holidays, seasons, and special events like: Johnny Appleseed Day, Fire Prevention Week, The Pumpkin Patch, The Thanksgiving Feast, TINK the Elf, Mardi Gras, Earth Day, The 100th Day of School, Dr. Seuss's Birthday, and much much more!
Our Junior Kindergarten is AWESOME! We love our JK! We purposely keep our Junior Kindergarten small in number to allow for more 1:1 instructional time with their teachers. In addition, we staff our JK with a teacher assistant in the mornings and afternoons.
Enjoy this PPT of JK photos!!