EARLY YEARS CURRICULUM OVERVIEW
Kindergarten (KG) – Foundation
The education of our youngest children draw on the best global research and practice of how they develop and learn most effectively. Our A Beka Book Program offers an intensive phonics approach where students are able to begin reading actual words very early. As soon as students are able to read words, phonics skills are applied in meaningful, character-building stories that correlate with the phonics concepts they have learned. This phonics approach is carried through in all areas of classroom teaching. Intensive phonics is taught systematically to ensure continued growth in skills. It is reinforced with daily seatwork activities, including alphabet sequence and recognition, identification of vowel and consonant sounds, blends, one- and two-vowel words, words containing special sounds, and sentence comprehension. These concepts are reinforced in the Letters and Sounds K book.
We aim to ensure that all of our children:
- Have a strong sense of identity
- Are connected with and contribute to their world
- Have a strong sense of well-being
- Are conﬁdent and active learners
- Are effective communicators.
Our Early Years team carefully assesses each child and plans activities so that all children are intentionally taught to achieve these outcomes.
- Play is a context for learning that:
- Allows for the expression of personality and uniqueness
- Enhances dispositions such as curiosity and creativity
- Enables children to make connections between prior experiences and new learning
- Assists children to develop relationships and concepts
- Stimulates a sense of well-being.
It is vitally important to our approach that Early Years education is not just about preparing children for later learning. At the Mosaic International Schools we want our children to experience the joy of these precious years. In fact, we know that their enjoyment is essential to their success.
KINDERGARTEN LEARNING OUTCOMES
Learning Outcomes are goals that describe how a student will be different because of a learning experience. Student achievement begins with good instruction. By the end of kindergarten, students will show mastery of these five learning outcomes.
Phonemic Awareness, Phonics & Reading: Phonemic awareness is the ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in words. We know that a student’s skill in phonemic awareness is the basis for learning phonics and a good predictor of later reading success or difficulty, so our language and literacy curriculum relies heavily on teaching phonemes to children.
Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with expression. Fluency is important because it provides a bridge between word recognition and comprehension. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. They group words quickly to help them gain meaning from what they read.
Reading comprehension is the act of understanding what you are reading. Reading comprehension is an intentional, active, interactive process that occurs before, during and after a person reads a particular piece of writing.
Reading comprehension is one of the pillars of the act of reading. When a person reads a text he engages in a complex array of cognitive processes. He is simultaneously using his awareness and understanding of phonemes (individual sound “pieces” in language), phonics (connection between letters and sounds and the relationship between sounds, letters and words) and ability to comprehend or construct meaning from the text. This last component of the act of reading is reading comprehension. It cannot occur independent of the other two elements of the process. At the same time, it is the most difficult and most important of the three.
There are two elements that make up the process of reading comprehension: vocabulary knowledge and text comprehension. In order to understand a text the reader must be able to comprehend the vocabulary used in the piece of writing. If the individual words don’t make the sense then the overall story will not either.
Literary elements are parts of a story. Kindergarteners will be able to identify the characters, plot, and setting of the story.
In the Early Years assessment for children’s learning refers to the process of gathering and analyzing information as evidence about what children know, can do and understand. It is part of an ongoing cycle that includes planning, documenting and evaluating children’s learning. It is important because it enables educators in partnership with families, children and other professionals to:
- Plan effectively for children’s current and future learning
- Communicate about children’s learning and progress
- Determine the extent to which all children are progressing toward realizing learning outcomes and if not, what might be impeding their progress
- Identify children who may need additional support in order to achieve particular learning outcomes, providing that support or assisting families to access specialist help
- Evaluate the effectiveness of learning opportunities, environments and experiences offered and the approaches taken to enable children’s learning
- Reflect on pedagogy that will suit this context and these children.
Educators use a variety of strategies to collect, document, organize, synthesize and interpret the information that they gather to assess children’s learning. They search for appropriate ways to collect rich and meaningful information that depicts children’s learning in context, describes their progress and identiﬁes their strengths, skills and understandings. More recent approaches to assessment also examine the learning strategies that children use and reﬂect ways in which learning is co-constructed through interactions between the educator and each child. Used effectively, these approaches to assessment become powerful ways to make the process of learning visible to children and their families, educators and other professionals.
The ﬁve Learning Outcomes in this Framework provide early childhood educators with key reference points against which children’s progress can be identiﬁed, documented and communicated to families, other early childhood professionals and educators in schools. Over time educators can reﬂect on how children have developed, how they have engaged with increasingly complex ideas and participated in increasingly sophisticated learning experiences.
Ongoing assessment processes that include a diverse array of methods capture and validate the different pathways that children take toward achieving these outcomes. Such processes do not focus exclusively on the endpoints of children’s learning; they give equal consideration to the ‘distance-travelled’ by individual children and recognize and celebrate not only the giant leaps that children take in their learning but the small steps as well.
All children demonstrate their learning in different ways. Approaches to assessment that are culturally and linguistically relevant and responsive to the physical and intellectual capabilities of each child will acknowledge each child’s abilities and strengths, and allow them to demonstrate competence. Including children, families and other professionals in the development and implementation of relevant and appropriate assessment processes allows for new understandings to emerge that are not possible if educators rely solely on their own strategies and perspectives. Developing inclusive assessment practices with children and their families demonstrates respect for diversity, helps educators make better sense of what they have observed and supports learning for both children and adults.
Assessment, when undertaken in collaboration with families, can assist families to support children’s learning and empower them to act on behalf of their children beyond the early childhood setting.
When children are included in the assessment process they can develop an understanding of themselves as learners and an understanding of how they learn best
When educators reflect on their role in children’s learning and assessment they reflect on their own views and understanding of early childhood theory, research and practice to focus on:
- The experiences and environments they provide and how it links to the intended learning outcomes
- The extent to which they know and value the culturally specific knowledge about children and learning that is embedded within the community in which they are working
- Each child’s learning in the context of their families, drawing family perspectives, understandings, experiences and expectations
- The learning opportunities which build on what children already know and what they bring to the early childhood setting
- Evidence that the learning experiences offered are inclusive of all children and culturally appropriate
- Not making assumptions about children’s learning or setting lower expectations for some children because of unacknowledged biases
- Incorporating pedagogical practices that reflect knowledge of diverse perspectives and contribute to children’s wellbeing and successful learning
- Whether there are sufficiently challenging experiences for all children
- The evidence that demonstrates children are learning
- How can they expand the range of ways they assess to make assessment richer and more useful