Kindergarten at BASIS Curriculum Schools is designed to enhance a child’s natural instincts to question, discover, and participate in the world around them. The Lead Kindergarten Teacher, together with the Kinder Teaching Fellow, facilitate opportunities for children to interact with academic, physical, and social concepts in goal-oriented activities throughout the day.
BASIS Curriculum students in Kindergarten, develop their literacy and math skills, enjoy Physical Education (PE), and connect what they know about their environment to new ideas in civics, science, and history. Additionally, the students’ educational experience is enriched with a curriculum of fine arts (music, drama, and visual art), engineering, and Chinese language and culture. We’ve learned that children thrive on academic challenges, so our kindergarten students work toward mastering first grade skills by the end of the year. We are unique in many aspects, but the most important detail is that our kindergarten students enjoy learning!
Kindergarten at BASIS Curriculum Schools is an exceptional experience for all students, and it lays a critical foundation for academic success in years to come. This success is based not only on comprehension of concepts, but also on the adoption of scholarly habits in a culture that values learning above all other endeavors.
The BASIS Curriculum is comprised of courses in English language and literacy, math, civics, history, science, Chinese language and culture, and physical education/martial arts. Our enrichment curriculum includes courses in engineering & technology, and fine arts (visual arts, performing arts, and music). Students in grades 1–3 take integrated, 85-minute blocks of content, supplemented by their enrichment courses. Additionally, 1-3rd grade students take an interdisciplinary course called Connections weekly. Beginning in the 4th grade, students attend 50 minute classes both in their core academic subjects and enrichment courses. These courses are the same in each of the primary years, so that important skills and concepts can be revisited in increasing complexity and detail. “Mastery of the basics” is a key component of the BASIS Curriculum, and early consistency is critical.
BASIS Curriculum School students are co-taught by two caring faculty members. The first is a Subject Expert Teacher (SET), who uses their deep knowledge of that discipline to design and teach their own lesson plans. The second is a Learning Expert Teacher (LET), who focuses on effective pedagogy, travels from class to class each day with their cohort of students, and co-teaches with each SET. This model is implemented in the primary grades based on school maturity and needs.
The role of the LET is to make sure that students understand what they are being taught, and that every individual student is working to the absolute best of his/her personal abilities. The LET provides a high level of individualized progress-monitoring. This unique level of student-teacher engagement allows teachers to quickly identify students who are struggling, assist them in getting the extra support they may need, and prevent them from falling behind. It also builds a relationship based on mutual respect, trust, and understanding. Importantly, LETs communicate with parents regularly to discuss progress.
The synergy of the SET and LET facilitates a relatively rapid transition from instruction in foundational skills and knowledge to independent thinking and active learning in the primary grades. These teachers work together to help students make interdisciplinary connections through the reiteration of key concepts across the curriculum. This fosters the progression from acquisition to application of knowledge, and prepares students for the challenges and opportunities of the 5-12 program in BASIS Curriculum Schools.
Aside from the five integrated course blocks, students in grades 1-4 also have a quiet reading block called The Literacy Center (TLC). Students meet for TLC five days a week for 25 minutes. During this time, students read books from home or from our classroom libraries and answer comprehension questions regarding the story. Students also work on projects based on their readings and share what they have read about with classmates.