The Kindergarten Program at St. Anthony of Padua is designed to provide experiences that meet the needs of children and stimulate learning in all developmental areas (physical, social/emotional , cognitive and language). Different levels of development, abilities, and learning styles are expected, accepted and used to design appropriate learning opportunities. Lessons are planned and designed to develop each child’s self-esteem and generate positive feelings about learning.
Young children learn best when they are active, exploring real objects, and talking to others to solve real problems. Our kindergarten program is designed to include these activities and exploration of new concepts.
Children will work individually, with partners, in small groups, and as a whole group. The learning activities will be teacher-directed and student-centered. Close observation reveals that children are actively learning as they choose their own activities, so there is also time to allow for student-directed learning. These learning opportunities aid children in the development of self-esteem, self-control, listening skills, and cooperation.
Our Catholic Faith is infused within all that we do each day. The Diocese of Grand Rapids Curriculum Standards are the framework for daily instruction. The kindergarten program at St. Anthony of Padua provides a foundational learning experience that ensures our students thrive spiritually, academically, and socially by instilling strong Catholic values and a rigorous, proven academic program.
The kindergarten religion standards aim to help kindergarten students develop a positive sense of their self-worth. Young children come to appreciate themselves so that they can learn a true appreciation of God. Their ability to know God, and their ideas of God, are strongly influenced by their ideas of themselves. Every child is special and has special talents. Specific topics include Family and Home, Creation, God’s Storybook, Exploring God’s Work, The Liturgical Seasons of Christmas, Easter, Advent, and Lent.
Children develop an understanding and insight into the patterns of mathematics through the use of concrete materials and exploration. A variety of materials gathered from the world of a kindergartener enables the teacher to meet the child at his level, concretely set in his/her world, and to gradually build a bridge to the adult abstract world. In this hands-on approach, kindergarten students study patterns, sorting and classifying, counting, comparing, graphing, money, time and numbers (1-30). Number exploration includes the concept of numbers, connecting numbers, and symbols of numbers.
Phonics and Reading
Kindergarten is rich with language! Opportunities abound for listening, sharing, speaking, reading and writing, which allows a kindergarten student’s vocabulary to grow exponentially. Children are introduced to upper and lower case letters and both types of letters are practiced and required within context. Students will become familiar with the phonetic sound of each letter and words that contain the sound. Children learn through stories, songs, poems, puppets, journal writing, and the VoWac Phonics program. By the end of kindergarten many students are reading beginner books and sight words independently. Students go to the library weekly to check out books.
St. Anthony of Padua teaches handwriting in conjunction with our phonics program, also incorporating principals from “Handwriting without Tears.” Through visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and developmentally appropriate instructional activities, students learn the letters in a way that appeals to their interests and build on their concentration and fine motor development.
Science and Social Studies
Science and Social Studies are incorporated throughout the program. The program focuses on developing fundamental skills and acquisition of knowledge necessary to explore the world around them. The lessons present a balance of content in life, earth, and physical science. The content is developed throughout various strands: plants and animals, weather, ecology, the human body and the 5 senses, earth and space, families, communities, and new life.
St. Anthony of Padua also partners with Blandford Nature Center. Students go to Blandford 2-3 times a year for hands-on learning experiences aligned to grade level curriculum standards.
Art is an integral part of the kindergarten experience. Art is important not only as a chance for children to express themselves, but also an excellent way to continue to build fine motor coordination. A variety of media is explored. Most art units are based on the thematic unit for the week. Art is taught in the classroom, as well as by a Grand Rapids Public School Shared Time Art teacher, once or twice a week.
The Spanish program at St. Anthony of Padua begins in preschool and continues through eighth grade. When children are younger, they learn the sounds of language much more readily than older children. Our goal is to ensure children have exposure to the Spanish language on a regular basis at a young age. The emphasis in kindergarten is on listening and comprehending first, and then on speaking. Greetings, names, numbers, colors, simple commands, and songs are the basis of their first Spanish vocabulary. Students have Spanish, once or twice per week.
Kindergarten students use iPads and Chromebooks daily in the classroom to enhance their learning. Students also go to the computer lab once or twice a week for instruction from the Grand Rapids Public Schools Shared Time Technology teacher.
Music is infused in the curriculum throughout the day in the classroom. Students also attend music class once or twice a week for instruction from a Grand Rapids Public Schools Shared Time Music teacher. Students learn songs and perform in a school-wide Christmas program in December. Students also have the opportunity throughout the school to sing at Mass weekly.
Students go outside daily for two recess periods. They also attend physical education once or twice a week for PE instruction from a Grand Rapids Public Schools Shared Time PE teacher.
All St. Anthony of Padua students are assigned a “Super Friend.” Grade levels are paired to attend Mass together, special field trips, or do classroom activities. Older students act as a mentor to the younger students.
Kindergarten students attend several field trips throughout the year to enhance their learning experiences. These trips include, but are not limited to, an apple orchard, a pumpkin patch, John Ball Zoo, and Blandford Nature Center.
Things to note:
- Kindergarten students are required to wear school uniforms in accordance with the St. Anthony of Padua School Uniform Policy.
- Kindergarten students participate in NWEA MAP testing. NWEA Map testing is a computer adaptive measure of academic progress in the areas of reading and math taken two or three times a year. Scores will be reported to parents a minimum of twice during the school year.
- The Diocese of Grand Rapids Curriculum Standards are followed in Kindergarten.
2021-2022 School Year