TK and Kindergarten Academics at St. Nicholas School

Transitional Kindergarten

Our Transitional Kindergarten program provides the first year of an optional two-year Kindergarten curriculum giving space and time for our youngest Celtics to grow confidently into their abilities. This first year sets the foundation for learning in a safe and age appropriate setting, introducing base concepts while giving parents an additional option to help their children enter kindergarten with the maturity and social skills needed for success. Our littlest Celtics join our older students as a fully integrated part of the St. Nicholas community, joining in morning prayer assembly, proudly wearing St. Nicholas uniforms, participating in buddy sessions, attending hot lunch, and playing daily on their specially suited TK-K playground. The curriculum is age and developmentally appropriate and aligned with the Kindergarten California Common Core State Standards. A centers-based learning approach is also used for individual, pair and or small group activities. St. Nicholas recognizes children learn in different ways and sometimes on different timelines. No one child is exactly like the other.  In response, St. Nicholas School closely monitors student’s academic growth through adaptive standardized testing data as well as ongoing informal forms of assessment. Educators are able to gain immediate feedback on students’ progress and adapt instructional plans, meeting the need of their students and ensuring they are best prepared to move into Kindergarten.

Kindergarten

St. Nicholas offers a full day (8:00-3:00) kindergarten program with one full-time credentialed teacher and two full-time instructional assistants allowing us to offer direct instruction in both whole class and small group formats in all core subjects. We offer a comprehensive academic program promoting intellectual, social, spiritual and emotional development. It is our mission to teach Catholic values while fostering lifelong learning for the whole child. We strive to understand each child’s unique style of learning. St. Nicholas recognizes children learn in different ways and sometimes on different timelines. No one child is exactly like the other. In response, St. Nicholas School closely monitors student’s academic growth through adaptive standardized testing data as well as ongoing informal forms of assessment. Educators are able to gain immediate feedback on students’ progress and adapt instructional plans, meeting the need of their students and ensuring they are best prepared to move into first grade.

To learn about our curricula,  please click on the topics below or contact us!

Curriculum for TK and Kindergarten

Language Arts


St. Nicholas TK students delve into the world of Reading and Writing using fiction and non-fiction books to explore fairy tales, the wide world of animals and various in-class fun themes throughout the year. Drama productions bring Fairy Tales to life while weekly book boxes support weekly themes. The Lexia® Core5® Reading program allows for differentiation of reading instruction; literacy centers focus on letter identification, phonological awareness, phonics, and concepts of print. Kindergarten Language Arts begins a students’ journey within St. Nicholas School’s K to 8th grade Columbia University developed Reading and Writing program. Students read and write in workshop formats; using the Lexia® Core5® Reading program, meeting in small groups allowing for differentiation. Writing workshops are designed to enable progressive growth, with students planning and revising stories; working towards ‘publishing’ and sharing / publishing their writings widely in the library and with others.




Math


TK Celtic students are introduced to numbers 1-10, patterns, addition and subtraction and shapes in small groups where concepts are reinforced using manipulatives. Creative Math problem-solving is enhanced; motivating and challenging students using STMath software. Friday “We Cook!” days are designed to reinforce and recall learned mathematical concepts using measurements and ratios. Math comes alive for Kindergartners as they build on important foundations from TK~ focusing on sorting, counting, comparing, patterning and sequencing. They stretch and begin to learn about operations and algebraic thinking, exploring all concepts using hands on manipulatives and play based activities.The Daily 3 enriches math skills as they work in small groups allowing for increased individual time with the teacher. Love of Math begins here at St. Nicholas!




Science


We spark inquisitive minds in TK! St. Nicholas School offers a specialized science teacher that plants the seeds of scientific interest; expanding student engagement with hands on learning. Parents participate in a weekly parent co-op where students and parents collaborate to teach a science concept. A love of science starts here! St. Nicholas School offers a specialized science teacher for Kindergartners who tickles their budding scientific interest; expanding student engagement with hands on learning! Students use hands-on experiments along with exploring our outside classroom to experience nature and varying habitats. Our Garden of Learning is ripe with opportunities to learn more about science and sustainable agricultural topics; our students love to plant and watch their creations grow.




Religion


TK Celtics experience Religion in various parts of their day as they discover and build a relationship with their peers, Jesus and our Catholic Faith. Living our religious instruction, students participate in school masses and prayer services, work on empathy toward others and problem solving and visit the Daughters of Charity bringing conversation and song to the retired sisters within the facility. The Buddy Program is a beloved favorite where students are paired during this important first year with an 8th grade buddy, being mentored on the tenants of becoming Christ-like Citizens, Community Leaders and Critical Thinkers. Just like in TK, Kinder Celtics experience Religion in various parts of their day, discovering and building relationships with peers, Jesus and our Catholic Faith. Students participate in school masses and prayer services, work on empathy toward others using the Second Step program and develop independent skills of patience, manners, self discipline and perseverance. Kindergartners visit the Daughters of Charity bringing conversation and song to the retired sisters within the facility! Kindergartners are paired with a loving 4th grade buddy, being mentored on the tenants of becoming Christ-like Citizens, Community Leaders and Critical Thinkers.




Art, Music and Physical Education


Growing minds and bodies are shaped by their influences ~ TK and Kindergarten students have dedicated Physical Education, Art and Music teachers to round out development. Each class has PE classes three times a week. Art class takes place once a week for an hour and explores art through many different mediums. TK and Kindergarten also enjoy music classes weekly. Children sing songs, begin to learn about rhythm and the structure of music. Moving, playing and creating are all important to our littlest Celtics!




Enrichment


Our TK and Kindergarten classes benefit from a variety of enrichment programs throughout the year. TK attends a Children’s Theater production, a local farm and the Palo Altos Children’s museum. In addition, they host a mother's day tea and other fun events for their families, put on a fairy tale play, and get a chance to have their class mascot, Pete the Cat, spend the weekend with them - which they document and share with the class! Kindergarteners visit the fire station and library using public transportation, a farm, a pumpkin patch, a Christmas museum exhibition, and attend a Children’s Theater production. They also host events including a mother's day tea for their parents, and run the School May Crowning!




Buddies


St. Nicholas has a special buddies program for all our students. In TK, each child is assigned an 8th Grade buddy. They meet weekly to read books and do special activities together. The 8th graders help them to feel more comfortable on campus and during school events. Each TK morning starts with a welcoming hug and reassurance from their buddies. Mornings are softened, both for the big kids and small, with a warm smiles to start. It’s a special bonding tradition that brings St. Nicholas students closer together. In Kindergarten, child is paired with a 4th grade student as their buddy. Like TK buddies, the children read together. In addition, the buddies take on additional responsibilities leading a canned food drive for local shelters. The kindergarten students learn from and grow under their older buddies, and generally keep the same buddy from kindergarten through 3rd grade. In fourth grade these young Celtics are granted their OWN younger buddies to mentor, passing on the tenants of St.Nicholas’s Christ-like,Community Leader, and Critical Thinker’s approach. The buddy program is part of our larger effort to teach to the whole child, and emphasize empathy, inclusion and hospitality. Our older students act as mentors and role models to our younger students, and in doing so, these values are reinfornced for them.





​​Call Us:

650-941-4056

 

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St. Nicholas School

The Catholic School of St.Nicholas and St William Catholic Parish

12816 El Monte Road

Los Altos Hills, CA 94022 (near Interstate 280 & Foothill Expy)

Special thanks to Carla Razura-Duharte for the photographs. See her photos here.

Read the DSJ Standards for all School Workers Regarding Interaction with Youth here.

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