At The Tobin School, your child will be part of a small Kindergarten class (typically 8-10 students), which runs from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. daily. Complimentary early drop-off is available beginning at 7:00 a.m. Afterschool care is available for those who need it. In Kindergarten, your children are recognized as active learners, who need a developmentally appropriate environment—but are also immersed in a strong academic curriculum to set them up for future success. Your child’s Kindergarten day is a careful balance of teacher and child directed activities, large and small group instruction, and both active and quiet activities. Our Kindergarten teacher provides a warm, supportive, and challenging environment, allowing students to flourish and grow.
- Hands-On Approach: Using the well-regarded Wilson Fundations program for Phonics and Language Arts, your child will be exposed to a hands-on approach, featuring a systematic introduction to phonics basics. This approach allows Tobin students to feel successful as they begin to decode and write independently.
- Reading: Our balanced approach to reading instruction supports learning phonics for decoding and spelling and mastering high frequency sight words. This approach allows each child to move at their own pace, which empowers them to build fluency and reading success.
- Handwriting: Your child will use Wilson Fundations for handwriting practice and letter formation. Writing activities are practiced daily as we encourage the students to see the value of written expression. Using Lucy Caulkins Units of Study, these young writers try their hand at expressing opinions and providing evidence for their ideas in writing.
- Daily Language Arts Center Activities: Your child will work at their own pace with a reading buddy and have individualized reading time with a teacher every day.
- Reading support: Tobin students also participate in lots of read-alouds and live in a classroom with lots of picture books and early readers. Their monthly visits to the Morse Institute Library in Natick exposes them to library skills and gives them the opportunity to refresh their reading options.
Science & Math
Kindergarten students learn by actively engaging with what they are learning. Your child’s daily math work involves a variety of manipulatives, number lines, measuring tools and balance scales, mini clocks, and more. Science lessons are also about active exploration of concepts.
- Math: Kindergarten students use the McGraw Hill’s My Math curriculum, a Common Core aligned balance math program, to build a strong understanding of number sense, value, and math vocabulary.
- Science: Your child will work on thematic units based on the Common Core Science Standards. This work is more project-based, incorporating classroom experiments and research to fully explore weather, animal habitats – e.g. how animals adapt to winter weather – dinosaurs, and more!
- Common Core: Using Common Core aligned curriculum materials ensures that Tobin students will be well-prepared for a future transition in higher grades.
- Spanish and Mandarin in Kindergarten: Your child will participate in engaging lessons that allow them to learn new vocabulary in a fun manner. We know that this early foreign language instruction enhances brain flexibility by supporting the idea that a word or idea can be expressed in numerous ways.
- New Vocabulary: Our foreign language teachers introduce vocabulary in your child’s everyday world, including manner words, numbers, colors, calendar words, and seasonal and theme vocabulary.
- Cultural Celebrations: Kindergarten students also join whole school celebrations for Chinese New Year and Cinco De Mayo as an opportunity to explore other cultures and how others view the world.
Social Emotional Learning
Kindergarten students continue our school-wide approach to building a strong set of ‘school behaviors’ that go a long way toward future success. Children are encouraged to:
- Follow a structured routine
- Begin to solve problems on their own
- Figure out social issues as a ‘social detective’
- Work together with another child on a group goal or plan
- Be ‘bucket fillers’ to their classmates and teachers
Our teachers also help the children:
- Learn about their emotions and share them in a way that is safe and respectful to others
- Set the stage for self-regulation and executive function skills that will prepare them for the school years ahead
- See how their own hard work can take them far
- Begin to study etiquette as they practice introductions, how to be a good host and guest, and table manners.
- Balance the learning with fun in a nurturing, warm environment.
With respect to their young age, our Tobin Kindergarten students have the chance to enjoy music and art activities as a part of each and every day.
- Music and Art Classes: Your Kindergarten student will have a weekly class time with a specialist teacher for both visual arts and music.
- Music: Your child will explore musical ideas and learn about new musical genres with our talented music teacher.
- Art: Your young artists will learn to express themselves through a variety of mediums and will find out about well-known artists, styles, and concepts.
- Performing: Your child will have the chance to perform in front of a supportive audience of classmates, family, and friends at our annual Performance Festival.
Physical Education & Wellness
While our Tobin School Kindergarten students have a comprehensive academic curriculum, we very much respect the need for these young learners to have opportunities for active play throughout the day. Our Kindergarten students utilize all of our outside play spaces, including:
- Tobin’s early childhood playground
- Our school-age playground
- Turf field, and
- Our gated paved play area.
- We include two outside periods per day, weather permitting, respecting that children need to move to learn.
- Physical Education Class: Your child will also meet with our Tobin School Physical Education teacher twice weekly, who uses fun games and activities to focus on building gross motor skills.
- Yoga: Twice per month, your child will have yoga class, which is not only fun, but a great way to practice flexibility and breathing techniques that can support self-regulation.
- Indoor Play Space: Your child will have access to our lower level large motor space on rainy and cold days.
At Tobin we respect each child as an individual and know that each will learn and develop on their own timeline. As education professionals well-versed in child development, our teachers support your child’s individual learning goals.
- Assessment Tool: We are proud to use Teaching Strategies Gold at Tobin. This research and evidence-based assessment tool provides a thorough look at each child’s current development and allows teachers and parents to work together to set goals for future learning. Teachers make observations throughout their classroom day using iPads to take photos and notes of children’s progress over time. These daily observations become a digital portfolio of the child’s learning during their time at Tobin.
- Parent-Teacher Conferences: Teachers welcome parents in for parent-teacher conferences three times a year to set goals and review progress but we also welcome parents to play an active partnership all year round.
- Benchmark Tools for Reading: Our Kindergarten students are also assessed using some benchmark tools, including those found on Reading A-Z and the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA’s). These tools watch progress in all parts of the reading process, from decoding to fluency to comprehension. Our My Math curriculum uses unit assessments to ensure students are fully grasping skills and developing a solid number sense.