Notre Dame Academy Elementary School Educating Today's Youth to be Tomorrow's Leaders

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Lower School TK-5 » Kinder Program

Kinder Program

Reading and Writing

Teaching strategies in reading are designed to maximize the full development and potential of each child. Differentiated instruction in phonics and phonemic awareness skills during centers, through games, hands­-on activities, and technology promotes optimum growth. A developmentally appropriate writing program, Write From the Beginning, utilizes Thinking Maps to focus on criteria for successful writing achievement. Integration in every subject area promotes a life­-long love of reading and writing.

Technology and manipulatives in centers are used to explore counting and cardinality, operations and algebraic thinking, number and operations in base ten, measurement and data, and geometry. Various opportunities exist to solve problems, and apply critical thinking skills, using real objects, pictures, diagrams, and models. Students discover how to select strategies and tools and construct viable arguments.

Students learn by doing, planning and carrying out investigations, designing solutions and exploring. Through observation and experiments using the scientific method, students make their own discoveries. They draw meaning and understanding from their experiences and begin to realize that they too are scientists.


Social Studies
Students explore the overarching theme that people’s actions can change our world by learning about community helpers, American legends, and historical accounts. Through projects, pen pals exchanges, dramatizations, and class­made movies, students are active participants in their learning. Kindergarteners gain a realization that they can make a difference in our world.


Various types of prayer (traditional, song/movement, and spontaneous) form an integral part of the day, both in the classroom and with the school community. Moral Catholic values are incorporated in every subject area and daily interactions. An awareness of liturgical seasons, celebration of Mass, and the lives of Jesus and the saints is developed through literature, prayer, Bible stories, song, and dramatizations.

Outdoor Play ­- Snack/Recess/Lunch
Play contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well­being of each child. Students enjoy daily, unstructured free play outdoors. Special events and activities are held outside in the Transitional Kindergarten/Kindergarten Terrace.

Music and Art
Music, chants, and imaginative art projects are integrated across the Kindergarten curriculum as well as stand­alone subjects with professional art and music educators. Music continues with the building blocks of musicianship. Students are introduced to ear training, rhythmic and melodic structure, as well as basic written musical form. These skills are carried throughout the music curriculum and lifelong learning.  Art introduces students to art appreciation and analysis with hands-on experiences and creative endeavors through diverse mediums. 

The Lower School SPARKE physical education program is a research based standards driven curriculum where Kindergarten students continue to develop gross motor skills, balance and coordination.  With the goal of making fitness fun, the P.E. class focuses on physical, developmental and locomotor skills along with cooperation and good sportsmanship.

Students develop positive attitudes and excitement about learning Spanish. Through song, games, and conversation, they learn to use simple sentences in common daily settings and explore target cultures.

Kindergarteners participate in school­wide service projects for a variety of causes, such as making sandwiches for the homeless. In class, they join Habitat for Humanity’s World Habitat Day and Act!Speak!Build!Week! to advocate for adequate and safe housing for all people of our global community. They write letters to the president and state senators, and create a t­shirt clothesline to increase awareness of others’ needs. Students understand that even though they are small, they can make a difference.

Experiential ​L​earning
The Kindergarten world of exploration, discovery, and wonder is nurtured by providing a jubilant, thought­-provoking, and supportive classroom environment. Diverse hands­-on opportunities allow students to explore concrete experiences, and engage in active experimentation and reflective observation. Whether building structures, making mountains, observing/analyzing experiments, dramatizing historic events, or creating songs to explain a concept, students are active, doing, and engaged.