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Academics >> Junior Kindergarten

Campus

Situated in a three-room suite near the Cloister, the Junior Kindergarten classrooms contain several unique features that enrich the JK learning environment. SMART Boards, sensory tables, a climbing dome, aquarium, and stage platform create opportunities for individual and group play.

  

Hours/Schedule (for 2017-2018)

Junior Kindergarten AM: Monday-Friday, 8:00 to 11:00 am

Junior Kindergarten PM: Monday-Friday, 12:15 to 3:15 pm

After-School Program: 3:15 pm to 6 pm for JK-PM students only

Weekly schedule

  • Individualized welcome
  • Free exploration – large group (three times per week); small group (two times per week)
  • Academic Lessons (reading, math, science, social studies) 1-2 per day
  • Whole class instruction and small group reinforcement
  • Journal writing (three times per week)
  • Shared Reading (poem) opposite French (three times per week)
  • Library and PE time (once per week)
  • Tactile/Fine Motor opposite Music (once per week)

Faculty

The Junior Kindergarten faculty is a committed, nurturing team that value creative, hands-on learning experiences for their students. Mrs. Gutierrez, and Mrs. Wiltz have over 35 years of teaching experience with Pre-K, Kindergarten, and early elementary students. Their creative, research-based approach to teaching provides students with authentic, multi-sensory learning experiences and real-life application of concepts.

 

Curriculum

The Junior Kindergarten Program provides a stimulating and enriching environment that fosters:

  • creativity
  • self-confidence
  • critical thinking

The children are nurtured emotionally, socially, and academically to achieve their potential and feel valued as learners. Skills are taught through a thematic approach with emphasis on variety and various learning modalities.

A combination of small group instruction and whole group activities allows the children to develop as cooperative learners. The Junior Kindergarten experience fosters a safe learning environment and fuels the children's natural curiosity and desire to learnElements of the JK curriculum include:

  • Jolly Phonics  A multi-sensory phonetic program that uses puppets, actions, pictures, and music to teach children the sounds and blends of the English language.
  • Everyday Mathematics (Kindergarten level)  The Mathematics program focuses on teaching concepts through problem solving based on everyday situations. The content strands of measurement, geometry, numeration, patterning, sorting/classifying, money, time, numeral writing, and number operations are emphasized.
  • Reading A-Z  Differentiated reading program meets the needs of emergent and independent readers in a small group setting.
  • Second Step  A social-emotional skill curriculum designed to help children focus their attention, control behavior, and develop interpersonal competence.
  • Brain Gym®  Through intentional movement, Brain Gym® exercises help students improve concentration and focus by connecting movement, cognition, and applied learning.

Traditions

Gingerbread Man Activities: During the month of December students learn the traditional tale of the Gingerbread Man. Studies include comparing multiple versions of the story, sequencing the events, and dramatizing the tale. After baking and decorating a gingerbread man, he escapes and must be found hiding in the school building

 

DuPage County Farmers Visit: Two local farmers organize activities for the JK students to experience processes on the farm. The children make homemade applesauce, shuck and shell corn, and use a twine twisting machine to make ropes. 

100th Day of School Celebration: To commemorate the 100th day of school, the children rotate through center activities that build on their understanding of the number 100. They estimate, count, design, build, and organize groups of 100 objects. The 100 minutes of center time is devoted to conceptualizing the number 100 with hands-on, multi-sensory activities.

Dr. Seuss' Birthday: In celebrating the birth of Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), JK reads several Dr. Seuss titles and "Seuss stations" are set up for the children to explore. The children wear pajamas to stay cozy and a large tent fills the big room of the JK suite to add a camp-out feel to the event. As a service project, the students may donate pj's and books to a local charity entitled The Pajama Program. 

Earth Day: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! From sorting plastics to planting flowers, the students learn about how to take care of their environment.

Alphabet Countdown: A fun way to count down the final 26 days of school, students are involved in daily activities that feature a letter of the alphabet. Besides wearing zippers on "Z" day, the children also explore opposites on "O" day and estimate on "E" day. It is a wonderful way to maintain high levels of interest throughout the warming days of spring.

Special Events

  • DuPage Children's Museum visits
  • Grandfriend's Day
  • Party Celebrations
  • Thanksgiving Performance
  • Holiday House
  • Downers Grove Fire Department Presentation
  • Heritage Festival
  • Parent Seminars (Why We Play in JK; Giftedness; Factors that Impact Learning)
  • JK Open Gym Night
  • Family Free-Choice Evening
  • Morton Arboretum Field Trip
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