From cultural lessons about Diwali to leaf identification to the winter Olympics, kindergartners take classroom lessons they've learned alongside their younger peers to new heights through the Kindergarten Workshop. Once a week, while their younger classmates nap, kindergartners and their teachers gather for enhanced lessons - "more meaty content," as Primary lead teacher Erin Winner describes it.
Through the Kindergarten Workshop, they get their first exposure to the group lessons they will experience more regularly as first-graders. During the week, they also attend art, music, Maker (STEAM) Studio, physical education and Spanish as a cohort, and benefit from more individualized instruction in their classrooms on afternoons they don't meet as a group.
Over the last two months, kindergartners have also used their weekly Kindergarten Workshop time to develop their writing skills through their first Writers' Workshop. Drawing on literacy skills such as awareness of letter sounds, sight words and story comprehension, kindergartners begin to explore putting their thoughts and ideas on paper.
Using a book called "Halloween Who Am I?" as an example, they created a Halloween or fall-themed riddle page. Kindergartners gathered during their weekly workshop time to read "Halloween Who Am I?", used classroom time to compose and assemble their pages (with one-on-one assistance from their classroom teachers), and regrouped for "author share" time to share their finished page with their peers. "They learn to give feedback and ask questions," explained Primary lead teacher Erin Wehler. "Kids are given the option to share, but are not required to do so."
Throughout the course of the school year, kindergartners will also explore writing a personal narrative, an informational piece and an opinion story as part of future Writers' Workshops.