Our full-day kindergarten experience is rooted in a strong academic program through which boys gain a foundation in math and literacy. Building on this underpinning of problem solving, critical thinking, and reading and writing, boys spend time each week with specialists in science, art, music (including violin lessons), and physical education. Field trips to a local orchard, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Shofuso Japanese Garden enhance the boys' study of cultures and symbols.
Whether your son is beginning to build his phonemic awareness skills or is an advanced reader, our reading curriculum supports differentiated learning for each boy. Through multiple instructional techniques, such as guided reading, teachers are able to meet the individual needs of each boy, whether targeting a fluent reader's comprehension or building decoding strategies for emergent readers. Through daily read-alouds, students are exposed to multiple genres, which develop deeper literary skills and nurture a love of reading.
Through Writer’s Workshop, the boys are exposed to three genres of writing: personal narrative, informational and persuasive. Through daily practice, boys who enter kindergarten writing only individual letters are able to construct multiple sentences independently before entering first grade. Haverford takes pride in this accomplishment, knowing that writing can often be a daunting task for boys. Sentence structure is enforced through the four-star sentence model. As writing skills progress, boys are taught to edit their own writing by using a sentence structure checklist. These strategies help build the foundations of writing that will be used throughout their years at Haverford.
Math is explored on a daily basis using the Everyday Math program. Using a hands-on approach, the boys begin to experience mathematical concepts as they appear in the surrounding world. Similar to our guided reading approach, small group work allows teachers to vary math instruction, targeting the needs of each boy. Through this language-enriched math program, boys make connections between different mathematical theories, explain their reasoning, and stretch their thinking to develop strategies that solve a range of concepts.
Knowing most boys enter kindergarten still finding their sense of independence, it is our mission to teach life skills that will cultivate confidence and self-advocacy within each boy. Through our Social Studies curriculum, global awareness is taught starting with the classroom, continuing into our country, and extending to the world. By exploring these communities and examining similarities and differences, the boys are able to see the world from different perspectives.
Technology is used to enhance our academic curriculum. Games are played through the use of technology, such as iPads, laptops, and interactive Smartboards. Through avenues such as Google Maps, boys are able to take a virtual “tour” of the White House and explore Mount Rushmore. During our study of Japan, we use multimedia to provide the boys with a face-to-face experience with students from across the world.
In kindergarten science, boys learn how to:
- Be curious and explore
- Organize their thoughts to ask a questions
- Investigate topics in ways to learn more about it
- Follow lab procedures
- Have fun while pursuing inquiry
- Cooperate and collaborate with their peers
In kindergarten art, boys learn how to construct creations that reflect classroom studies through:
Our program focuses on nourishing a love for creating while focusing on fine motor skills used in tasks such as cutting, gluing, and gripping. Perhaps the highlight of the year is slathering paste on colored paper to coat a life-sized monster, a Haverford tradition that involves the entire Lower School. Art lessons include basic color theory, shape recognition, and texture and size relationship. The boys are inspired by the work of various artists like Faith Ringold, Paul Klee, and Wassily Kandinsky. There is a conscious balance between following directions and nurturing individual expression.
Favorite characters come to life in the Lower School library, where our boys develop a love of reading. While listening and responding to stories, the boys practice a number of important skills, including:
- How to ask a question
- How to think about their reading preferences
- How to locate books within the library
In kindergarten music, boys learn the fundamentals of musicianship:
- Understanding a steady beat
- Playing and reading rhythm patterns
- Developing a clear pitch and proper singing voice
Each student is given the opportunity to learn the basics playing the violin, helping to stimulate parts of the brain responsible for reading and writing. Boys are actively engaged throughout the music lessons through singing, listening, moving creatively, and playing musical instruments.
Being a Haverford boy has helped my son see the world from varying perspectives and has encouraged him to confidently share his own thinking and learning. He has made connections to people, places, and ideas in a way that has given him a great appreciation for learning, exploration, and research. He is never without a book and always excited to independently or cooperatively learn about a new concept. Kim Walker, parent