KINDERGARTEN & 1ST GRADE TEACHER
Dive into being a Narwhal with Natalie in K/1! Be prepared for glitter, giggles, singing, and learning!
Kindergarten/1st grade is the students’ first experience in a multi-age classroom. The diversity of our student population provides for students to learn from one another as well as teach their peers.
I am passionate and committed to helping students become independent thinkers, to believe in themselves as unique individuals and learn to honor and respect the differences that help shape the identities of our world. Throughout our year together, we will discover and learn through a variety of topics and spend copious amounts of time doing the most important work of the child, playing! We will build a strong classroom community in which taking risks and making mistakes is expected and valued.
In our K/1 classroom, I strive to let students be little, honoring and preserving the joys of childhood. Our learning is focused around children’s natural curiosities which helps cultivate a classroom community full of risk-takers. The child-centered curriculum is inquiry based and rich in meaningful, hands-on experiences. Students are given the freedom to progress at their own pace, academically, socially and emotionally each day. Our K/1 cuties learn in a multitude of ways including whole group instruction, partner learning, team and group learning, as well as one-on-one individualization.
The primary goal of my literacy program is to plant the seeds for a lifelong love of reading. This occurs by reading rich novels together (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory always being a favorite) as well as daily read alouds, poetry readings and character explorations. Students take their own role in reading, as well as choosing books that are “good fits.”
Our classroom has a heavy emphasis on phonics instruction to ensure students’ foundational skills are strong. Phonics instruction teaches children how to decode letters into their respective sounds, a skill that is essential to read unfamiliar words independently. Letter-sound knowledge allows children to link the unfamiliar print words to spoken knowledge. These skills together along with Secret Stories and Heart Words allow students to grow their word bank throughout the year.
As part of the learning experience, I use independent shelf work centers. These centers include literacy, math and writing activities. Students take ownership of their learning by working independently. This independent work instills self confidence while also providing myself the opportunity to float around the room to work one-on-one with students to individualize and personalize their progression of learning.
Creative play is honored above all. Students have daily free-choice play centers in addition to ample outdoor exploration and play. After all, play is the brain’s favorite way of learning!