Focus on Kindergarten
About Focus on K2 (Kindergarten)
Kindergarten students learn through our Focus on K2 curriculum. In the BPS, we use the term K2 instead of kindergarten, referring to our five-year-old students. Focus on K2 was written to help teachers promote children’s creativity and their abilities to collaborate, communicate and think critically. It was written to develop essential literacy and numeracy skills. It was written to connect children with their city. It was written to give our K2 students the adventure in learning they deserve.
Kindergarten Rubric and Report Card
What: Kindergarten Rubric to help facilitate child growth through documentation and observation
Who: recommended for all K2 students
When: See the BPS District Report Card Schedule. Fall is optional.
Supporting Documents (including translations) (NOTE: Instructions in progress; this will NOT be on Illuminate but will instead be on Aspen for SY18-19)
October 29 - November 16, 2018
May 20 - June 14, 2019
New BPS students: Before October 20, 2018
Period 1: September 17 - October 5, 2018
Period 2: January 7 - January 25, 2019
Period 3: May 13 - May 31, 2019
Launching Focus on K2
The first unit of Focus on K2 is designed to introduce children to the kindergarten community and to the routines and structures of the classroom. Activities are intentionally simple and open-ended at the start of the unit, building as time goes on and as children are able to manage the routines of centers.
You can choose to open the centers all at once or gradually over the first two weeks of school. Two sets of weekly plans are provided for the first two weeks (see below in Unit 1); please select one of the strategies to launch your centers, and follow the appropriate set of weekly plans accordingly. For more on launching Focus on K2, please review this introductory document, starting on page 7, as well as additional launch resources.
Unit 1 - Our Community
For many children, the kindergarten year is their first experience of being in a group beyond their family. If that group becomes a community that cares about each other and supports each other emotionally as well as intellectually, the school experience is a more positive one for children. A supportive learning community creates things together, gives each other feedback on their work, and raises and solves problems as a group. In this first unit of study, Our Community, the goal is for children and teachers to build relationships and form the foundation for a strong, interdependent community of learners, developing shared dispositions, language, and habits that will grow throughout the year. When children are part of a strong community, they are better poised to confront challenges that they will encounter in school and beyond.
Unit 2 - Animals & Habitats
Kindergarteners are naturally drawn to learning about animals. They tell and enjoy stories filled with animal characters and are curious to learn information about animals as well. They might have pets at home or see animals in their communities – a dog out for a walk, a squirrel in a tree, or ants on the sidewalk. In Animals and Habitats, this natural curiosity opens a door to deep learning about animals both familiar and unfamiliar to kindergarteners. Building off the previous unit, Our Community, children continue to explore concepts of living in a community, working with Beautiful Stuff, and Storytelling/Story Acting. Looking ahead, the concepts that children develop about animals and their habitats during this unit will come into play again in Our Earth, when the scope widens to consider people as stewards of the earth.
Unit 3 - Construction
People construct; one of the defining characteristics of humanity is that we make. We make structures, institutions, rules, ideas, and works of art. Kindergartners are also makers. A defining characteristic of kindergarten-aged children is their initiative. Children may be particularly intrigued with structures and places they make for themselves: forts, homes, secret hideouts, and the like. They also have unique and valuable perspectives about what makes structures attractive, useful, and fair. The threads of community and citizenship continue from previous units. Themes of collaboration and group work reemerge from Unit 1 (Community), as you now guide children to consider how people collaborate in constructing. And from Unit 2 (Animals & Habitats), the focus on protecting and caring for animals is now extended to consider issues of fairness, equity, and access that arise when something is constructed.
Unit 4 - Our Earth
Our kindergartners will inherit a complex world where scientific, environmental, social, and moral issues intertwine. In order to meet the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century, our children need an equally complex set of skills and abilities. During the Our Earth unit, children explore the natural world by investigating and researching the earth’s properties, focusing on its surface and plant life. Responsibility, sustainability, and stewardship for the environment, as individuals and as members of a community, are explored in literature, discussions, activities, and a Capstone Project.
The unit begins by fostering children’s intellectual and emotional connections with nature, as explored in Animals and Habitats. The second phase focuses on sustainable systems that reduce human impacts on the earth, such as recycle/reuse and food production/urban agriculture. The final phase engages the children as citizens, first introduced in Our Community, who can contribute to our earth. Drawing on the design process of Construction, children generate ideas for sustainable choices in their classrooms and school communities.