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Kindergarten Student Development

  • The purpose of kindergarten is to enhance learning and social opportunities for students by providing an environment where the student’s natural love for life, play and learning are encouraged, nurtured and intrinsically instilled.  
  • Our kindergarten program provides a quality learning environment that is meaningful for children by integrating subject matters into units of study that begin with the development of the child’s understanding of the world around him or her.
  • We strive to create a strong sense of community while creating a caring and respectful environment.
  • The kindergarten year is when we can give your child the gift of a social curriculum as well as an academic curriculum.  Social and academic learning are inextricably connected and both are important.
  • Our beliefs about how students learn are rooted in a foundational assumption that intellectual, academic, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical aspects of children must be considered in instruction and learning environments.

Dereh Eretz דרך ארץ  

Dereh Eretz, literally “path of the land,” is the value that is taught throughout SJCS.  Dereh Eretz is taught in all the grades as a practical, tangible practice of polite behavior, respect, and caring for others and our world.

Foundations of the practice in Kindergarten:

  • Greeting each person
  • Saying, “Please” and “Thank you.”
  • Picking up after oneself
  • Helping classmates
  • Helping teachers
  • Following rules
  • Questioning politely

Ladder of Success

Ladder of Success is both a visual and language model that is used  in kindergarten. Ladder of Success teaches the student to understand the connection between our emotions and our physical responses. Ladder of Success provides students the opportunity to take responsibility for one’s part in any problem, while also building empathy for “the other.”

Foundations of the model in kindergarten:

  • Green means ‘GO’
  • Red means ‘STOP’
  • Any movement up the ladder is a step toward independent problem solving
  • In any given problem, both participants are likely to move in and out of the ‘Red’ and the ‘Green’
  • Each rung corresponds to a typical physical reaction which allows children to develop a practice of listening to their own body and helps develop an age-appropriate level of self-awareness
  • Teachers help students come to ‘calm,’ the first rung in the ‘Green.’

Responsive Classroom

Responsive Classroom offers guidelines for working together as a school and community to solve academic and social problems.  

In a Responsive Classroom we understand that students learn best when:

  • they feel seen, loved, honored, and respected as individuals
  • they feel their self-identity belongs as a part of a greater community
  • they explore and learn through shared experiences and social interaction
  • their current knowledge is built upon to construct new knowledge
  • they are presented with material at their appropriate level
  • they are taught through many modalities
  • they are interested in and find personal meaning in the curriculum
  • they have clear guidelines, expectations, and feedback

This approach  teaches students skills for solving problems and increasing independence.

Responsive Classroom  – Morning Meeting

  • Morning Meeting allows us to begin each day as a community of caring and respectful learners.
  • All classroom members gather in a circle, to acknowledge one another.
  • This morning time creates opportunities for the development of social and academic skills.
  • We briefly grapple with problems that may be challenging and we are informed of the events in the day ahead.  
  • Morning Meeting allows us to begin each day as a Gan community that may also include family members.
  • Morning Meeting is made up of four, sequential components. These are:
    • Greeting – Children greet each other by name, often including handshaking, clapping, singing, and other activities.
    • Sharing  – Students share some news of interest to the class and respond to each other, articulating their thoughts, feelings and ideas in a positive manner.
    • Group Activity – The whole class does a short activity together, building class cohesion through active participation.
    • Morning Message – Students practice academic skills and warm up for the day ahead by reading and discussing a daily message posted for them.
  • The goals of Morning Meeting are to be recognized as a member of the classroom community, as well as the ability to take notice of other classmates.
  • We also develop the skills of attention, listening, expression and cooperative interaction.

Communication

  • Email – We use our email to communicate about your student, upcoming events,  and curriculum,
  • Seesaw – We use Seesaw as a way to send you a snapshot into the daily experience of your student with photos and/or videos.
  • Ki-Tov – Important information in the form of blog  regarding the school community

Please contact both teachers when emailing questions or concerns.  haMorah Mary Grace  mlentz@sjcs.net and  haMorah Shoshana sstombaugh@sjcs.net