Early Literacy

Surrounding Kindergarten students in a literacy-rich environment piques their interest in letters, words and reading. Using a balanced literacy approach, we intertwine phonics, sight words, read aloud stories, shared reading experiences, and independent reading to ensure our students have developed strong reading foundational skills.

From the beginning of the year, students engage in a multi-sensory approach to review the alphabet and learn each letter’s corresponding sound, how letters blend together to make one sound, rhyming with word families, the short vowels, and how to sound out words to decode words. We introduce sight words through our Morning Message, shared reading, and predictable texts.

Students learn to use “growing reader” strategies, such as using picture cues, matching words to the printed text and sounding out words to read books at their individual reading level. The combination of these skills helps students to build a strong foundation in reading. These skills are reinforced in small group settings during Reading Workshop in Guided Reading and Literacy Centers. Children also develop their reading comprehension skills through stories read aloud to the class. They are encouraged to make predictions, note personal connections and discuss stories with their peers. Every Kindergarten homeroom also participates in an author study. During these units, each class focuses on the various elements of a story, including the characters, settings, problem, solution and main idea. The author study unit allows students to highlight similarities and differences across texts and draw conclusions.


As students build their understanding of letters and sounds, they begin to express their thoughts and ideas through dictation, labeling and phonetic spelling by applying learned sounds in words. They also incorporate correct formation of lowercase letters into final draft pieces.

In Writing Workshop, children practice several writing strategies. Students learn to brainstorm, organize their ideas, edit their rough draft and finally publish and present their writing pieces. They learn to attend to writing mechanics by using the environment as a tool for their writing, including referring to the spelling word wall, leaving spacing between words, and adding in beginning and ending punctuation. Once a week, the children write a personal narrative in their Weekend News pieces, and they apply writing strategies, incorporating the goals they are working on. As a part of the editing process, students confer with their teachers. Some writing units include pattern books, small moments, How-to Books, All About Books, and creative and opinion writing pieces.


In Mathematics, students develop problem solving and critical thinking skills by working with manipulatives, such as pattern blocks, counting bears, colored tiles and unifix cubes. These tools are used to strengthen their number sense and understanding of numerical relationships as well as to identify, create and extend patterns.

Students work to build their number awareness by counting objects, recognizing numbers, building combinations of one- and two-digit numbers, and by creating and solving basic equations and through number stories. Students also work to develop their skills of measurement, graphing, sorting, composing and decomposing number combinations and time through a variety of engaging activities. They learn to identify and describe shapes and analyze, compare, create and compose plane and solid geometric figures. Math concepts are incorporated through calendar work, recording the daily attendance, and counting the number of days we have been in school. Games extend each unit of study.

Social Studies

Our year begins with a study of self and expands to include our responsibilities as members of a classroom community. Together, students create and establish the classroom “Community Practices,” including expectations for their roles and responsibilities, in order to sustain a safe, happy and fun learning environment. Students create self-portraits and discover many ways in which they are similar and different from their peers.  Then, students engage in a family study where they focus on the differences within the family structure, highlighting immediate and extended family members. In addition, they learn about family traditions that are celebrated during the winter months. 

Our studies continue as we learn and discuss communities and how they grow and change. We begin with conversations about the components of a classroom and then expand our focus to discuss our school community and the neighborhood. Each class focuses on the essential components that make up a neighborhood community by reading literature, sharing personal experiences and going on neighborhood visits to learn about the people and businesses that surround our school.


In Science, students explore changes in the world around them. The integrated curriculum focuses on paleontology, weather, rocks and minerals, life science, and the human body.  Throughout the year, students learn how to make observations by using their senses and creating inferences based on the observations they make. 

In the fall, students explore the differences between living and nonliving things and investigate the variations that exist among individual plants or animals.  Then, during the winter and spring months, students use scientific tools to observe changes to evaluate weather patterns.  Additionally, they learn to use their senses to describe the differences between Earth’s materials (i.e. rock, soil, sand, water, etc.).


In Kindergarten, we use a variety of themes to expose students to the words and sounds of the language, preparing them for more advanced learning in the future years. Through songs, games, books, and activities, we learn greetings, basic numbers, primary and other colors, the weather and clothing, classroom objects, and parts of the body.


In Kindergarten, we use a variety of themes to expose students to the words and sounds of the language, preparing them for more advanced learning in the future years. Through songs, games, books, and activities, we learn about greetings in Spanish, basic numbers, the primary and other colors, the weather and clothing, classroom objects, and parts of the body.  Students also learn about some of the monthly cultural holidays of Spanish speaking countries.


In Kindergarten, we use a variety of themes to expose students to the words and sounds of the language, preparing them for more advanced learning in the future years. Through songs, games, books, and activities, we learn about greetings in French, basic numbers, the primary and other colors, the weather and clothing, classroom objects, and parts of the body.  Students also learn about some of the monthly cultural holidays of Francophone countries.

Visual Art

Students tap into their imagination while experimenting with various artistic media. Their fine motor skills and spatial understanding develop and grow as they create each piece.

We begin with painting. Using a limited palette, the students explore the primary colors and determine how secondary colors can be made. Students work to cover their whole paper with many colors. We continue with collage, examining the work of Eric Carle, cutting up the painted papers we make, and using them to create fish, parks, people, and abstract designs.

After working in two dimensions, students start thinking about how to take their work off the page. We look at work by sculptors such as Richard Serra, an artist whose work is all about standing, leaning, and balancing. We lean, stand, and balance cardboard to create 3D structures. We continue to think sculpturally when we work with clay. We roll clay into balls and coils, and pinch and pull the clay to make various clay formations. We learn about the different stages of clay; wet, air dry, bisque, glaze.

The semester ends with different forms of weaving and interlocking materials.  We make paper and stick weavings called “God’s Eyes.” Each project involves following a pattern of action, such as under/over, over/wrap around, and fold/turn. These actions create a pattern in the projects, which become clearer as the projects near completion.  


The woodworking curriculum is centered on four main principles: the practice of individual safety and awareness of others, teamwork and cooperation between students, the development of tool usage, and a lasting sense of accomplishment and success. The overall goal of the program is for students to increase motor skills and tool usage, as well as develop a strong sense of personal accomplishment, success, and ownership by completing meaningful projects.

Students learn how to use straight and coping saws, safety googles, files, c-clamps, hammers and wood glue to build their projects. Once the project is assembled, students further design their project with paint and ink to give it a finished quality and to promote ownership and achievement.

Students begin woodworking by learning about safety in the wood shop. We study several tools and their usage, and the children’s first assignment is to assemble a simple drum, utilizing this tool knowledge. The next project each child builds a “Market Basket” that coincides with a class field trip to the urban farm and outdoor market. The basket can be used beyond the classroom as a useful shopping basket to promote healthy nutrition or for display and utilitarian purposes at home.


In Kindergarten Music vocal technique, ear training, musicianship, and music literacy are developed through a variety of structured and engaging activities. Echo singing of tonal patterns and traditional melodies continues to be an important part of every class. Students practice using their singing voice to match pitch while singing together as a full class, in small groups, and independently, using proper posture and listening skills to improve tone quality. Students continue to create tonal and rhythm patterns and play pitched and non-pitched percussion instruments.

In the spring semester, students are introduced to the violin. Beginning with a focus on rest position, playing position, and instrument safety, students use foam violins and the “TOPS” song to learn about proper violin posture and practice the steps to transition from rest position to playing position. Performing the “TOPS” song throughout the process allows students to focus on building foundational violin technique while developing their singing voice. Soon they make the exciting switch to real violins, and practice making a beautiful pizzicato sound by gently plucking the strings.

Physical Education

Students spend the first few weeks of school learning the rules and routines of physical education. A safe environment is necessary to nurture a positive experience. From the very first day of class, students gain knowledge of lifelong fitness in a safe and fun manner. Throughout the year, students learn about spatial and body awareness, directional concepts, and locomotive skills. Through creative games and activities, cooperation and fine and gross motor skills are developed.   

Locomotive movements such as skipping, galloping, tiptoeing and running are skills that are continuously reviewed throughout the year. Creative movement is a large part of our curriculum. Students enjoy our animal unit where they explore the movements of other animals. From slithering like a snake to crawling like a spider, students widen their imagination while strengthen muscles and working on key movement skills. Students also participate in a mini yoga unit exploring the cobra, cat, cow, and downward facing dog poses. Learning how to aim is very important to the development of eye-hand coordination, and students’ practice tossing and catching to themselves and with a partner, and throwing or rolling objects at target to sharpen these skill. Our curriculum is integrated, and we try to reinforce many of the concepts that are being taught in the classroom in physical education, including our study of the four seasons, pattern development, and the alphabet and animal movements. The highlight of our year is our circus arts unit. During this unit students learn how to juggle scarfs, walk on bucket stills, and practice balancing. At the end of this unit students get to see and participate in a circus of older students. We conclude the year playing games that reinforce problem solving and cooperation.


A safe environment is necessary to nurture a positive experience in the water. Students spend the first few weeks of school learning about water safety. We discuss the importance of following the rules and how they can help us become more productive swimmers. Throughout the year students learn to exhale underwater or “blow bubbles”, float (supine and prone floating), streamline ready position, and to flutter kick and dive. Differentiated instruction is crucial to the swimming development of each student, and students often work in small skills-based groups to ensure each student receives the attention they require to progress. Students also learn how to combine multiple skills, such as the transition from “ready position” to streamlining off the wall and gliding while exhaling from their nose. These are the beginning steps to learning the front crawl stroke. With practice, students will be challenged to complete a 25-yard swim.

Contact Us

  • Phone
  • 212-232-0266
  • Fax
  • 212-232-0284
  • Lower School
  • 41 Broad St
  • New York, NY 10004
  • USA
  • Upper School
  • 1 Morris St
  • New York, NY 10004
  • USA

Social Media

Request Information

Copyright 2015 Léman Manhattan

Request Information