The Foundation for a Meaningful Life Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Kindergarten - The Journey Begins
We believe that nothing is more important than your child’s first school experience, and the small class size and individualized approach of Fay’s Kindergarten program helps each student to establish a strong foundation for a successful educational journey. Our classroom teachers focus on each child’s literacy, numeracy, science understanding, and social-emotional development, supported by a team of expert specialists who coordinate instruction in art, music, French, and Spanish, and P.E.
Fay students begin to think like mathematicians early on, developing critical thinking skills and a passion for problem solving that leads many students to join our popular math travel teams in Upper School! During the Kindergarten year, children explore number and operations, algebraic thinking, geometry, measurement, and data analysis. They also focus on problem solving, reasoning, making connections, and communicating their understanding.
Students who successfully complete the Kindergarten mathematics program will be able to demonstrate knowledge in the following categories:
Number and Operations
Apply one-to-one correspondence
Skip counting by 10s, 5s, and 2s
Recognize, read, and form numbers
Use manipulatives to express numbers and perform operations
Compute simple addition and subtraction problems
Use comparison vocabulary to compare quantities of objects
Fractions, Decimals, Percents
Compose/decompose plane or solid figures to develop understanding of the part-whole relationship
Compose/decompose groups of items to develop understanding of the part-whole relationship
Use standard and non-standard tools of measurement
Describe and compare measurable attributes of objects
Identify and describe basic geometric shapes
Model shapes by building or drawing
Data Analysis & Probability
Collect and show information in a bar graph
Use graphs to answer simple questions
Identify, create, and extend simple patterns
Represent addition and subtraction using pictures, words, or equations
Fay Kindergarteners begin their journey as readers and writers in a structured program that is differentiated for each child. Daily literacy activities include read-alouds, group activities, hands-on projects, inquiry-based learning, and one-on-one coaching from homeroom teachers and literacy specialists. Phonics, spelling, and handwriting are a regular part of each day. Children practice writing in a range of genres, and classroom discussions about literature and ideas prepare students for Fay’s public speaking program, which begins in third grade.
In Kindergarten social studies, each child develops an understanding of himself or herself and how an individual fits into the larger community in terms of geography, history, and culture. Students explore the geography of the classroom and Fay School. Students learn that everyone has a role to play in making a group work well and that each member brings something unique to the group. Students also explore the various roles people play and aspects of diversity within the Fay School community as they learn about celebrations and traditions in other cultures.
Kindergarten scientists discover scientific principles through inquiry, investigation, and research. They explore weather, forces, simple machines, properties of matter, local wildlife, and other topics sparked by student interests. The spiraling curriculum in Primary School means that students will explore these topics in greater depth in first and second grade to develop a rich and layered understanding. The children learn essential principles of observing and documenting, laying the groundwork for the work they will do in Lower and Upper School in our fully equipped science labs.
The Primary School science curriculum is inquiry-based and project-based. Its practices have been adopted from the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012). Students who demonstrate success in primary school science courses will be able to:
Ask questions that encourage further investigation
Record observations and ideas using pictures, numbers, and writing
Share observations and ideas with peers
Compare and sort objects according to similarities and differences
Follow oral instructions for explorations
Recognize that scientists work in groups
Use tools appropriately to observe, draw, and describe objects
Fay Kindergarteners study bothFrench and Spanish, each for half of the school year, and this schedule continues through first and second grade. Through games, songs, and literature, the children practice common expressions, and other basic vocabulary while also learning about the cultures of different Francophone and Hispanic countries. The children benefit from our “language helpers,” native speakers in the Upper School who volunteer in the classrooms and become the Kindergarteners’ mentors and friends. When students enter third grade, they choose to pursue French or Spanish in depth.
Fay’s Primary School World Language program is based on the F.L.E.X. (Foreign Language Experience) approach.
For both Spanish and French, students in Kindergarten are introduced to basic greetings and daily expressions related to the classroom. They also learn descriptive adjectives, such as color, size, and feelings. They are exposed to basic vocabulary related to numbers 1-20, days of the week, body parts, shapes, and action verbs. Games, traditional Francophone and Hispanic literature, and nursery rhymes are used to teach and reinforce the classroom material. The classroom routine includes greetings, circle time for storytelling, play and songs, and art projects. Cultural celebrations are highlighted in the Kindergarten program, and the children learn and observe important cultural celebrations, including Mexico’s Independence Day, Christmas in Latin America and Spain, Le poisson d’avril, and Mardi Gras.
In Art, which meets twice per six-day rotation, children develop fine motor skills and work in a range of media that includespaint, paper, clay, and textiles. Students explore the work of past and current artists and learn foundational skills that prepare them for the host of art electives available in the Upper School. Students experience the joy of sharing and exhibiting their work in on-campus shows as well as exhibits through Youth Art Month at the Worcester Art Museum.
Music classes meet twice per six-day rotation and incorporate the Kodály method, which emphasizes singing, movement, listening, and games. Children engage with simple folk songs from around the world as well as masterworks such as Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Kindergarten music sets the stage for the development of music notation skills in grade one and instrumental playing in Lower and Upper School, where students can sing in one of our five choral groups or play in our concert bands, string ensemble, or bell choir.
In Kindergarten, children become familiar with the library through in-depth explorations of each of its various sections beginning with picture books and moving through poetry, folk tales, and fairy tales. Kindergarteners learn about the parts of a book, identifying the author and illustrator, and then practice locating the book in a particular section of the library. Kindergarteners also explore their personal interests, develop a sense of who they are as readers, and practice responsibility as they browse and select books to check out.
P.E. classes meet three days out of a six-day rotation. Classes focus on developing motor skills and physical fitness, with activities that emphasize balance, spatial awareness, cooperation, and sportsmanship. The children also practice basic skills like throwing, catching, and kicking in preparation for Fay’s interscholastic athletics program, which begins in fifth grade.
The goal of the Kindergarten wellness program is for students to learn about themselves as how they relate to others. Teachers set aside homeroom time each day to address important topics such as sharing, advocating for one’s needs, conflict resolution, and accepting others’ differences. Teachers provide students with a structured, safe, and consistent environment in which they can develop communication, self-control, and interpersonal problem-solving skills. Students begin to practice mindfulness by identifying and talking about their feelings. Students who successfully complete the Kindergarten wellness program will have practiced the following skills:
Advocating for themselves
Independently problem solving with peers
Developing a vocabulary for conflict resolution
Practicing basic social skills such as greeting one another
Using manners and other general social courtesies
Some things we love about Kindergarten at Fay:
Our Faculty We think our dedicated faculty is simply the best—and we think you will, too. 90% of our faculty hold master’s degrees, and our team includes published authors, curriculum designers, and professional artists and musicians. Every kindergartener who attends Fay benefits from a web of experts that includes the classroom teachers, a literacy specialist whojoins the class for language arts instruction, and specialists for world languages, art, music, and P.E.
Family-Style Lunches Family-style lunches are a Fay tradition and a highlight of the school day! Kindergarteners sit with teachers at assigned tables, where they practice their manners and the art of conversation. Our Head of Primary School starts each meal with a reflection and ends with announcements and opportunities for children to speak in front of their peers, whether it’s a rhyme for Poetry Wednesday or a trivia tidbit for Fun Fact Friday.
A Friendly Morning Greeting Don’t be surprised to see our Kindergarteners racing towards the Primary School entrance each morning. They can’t wait to say hello to Mrs. Knuppel, the Head of Primary School! Rain or shine, she’s at the front door each morning to greet each student with a handshake or a high five, look them in the eye, and welcome them to another day at Fay.
Upper School Helpers The day and boarding students in our Upper School hail from more than 25 countries, and many of them volunteer in the Primary School as lunch, art, P.E., and language helpers. The children can’t wait to spend time with their Upper School heroes, and these cross-grade friendships build an
authentically diverse community as well as excitement for each next step in the kindergarteners’ journey through Fay.
Morning Meeting Each week, Primary School studentsgather in our Multipurpose Room for Morning Meeting. At these gatherings, our Head of Primary School presents commendations to children who have been “caught being kind” to peers and teachers. Children also practice their public speaking skills by sharing presentations about what they’ve learned. These informal speaking opportunities plant the seeds for
Fay’s public speaking program, which begins in third grade.
The Innovation Lab Fay’s Innovation Lab is a 3,000 square-foot lab space dedicated to the development of creativity and design thinking. Inside, you’ll find a host of tools, from laser cutters and 3D printers to circuitry projects and woodworking equipment. Students at every grade level participate in age-appropriate projects that feature real-world applications of engineering and design principles.
What does the research say?
On the benefit of investing in private school in the early years:
High-quality birth-to-five programs can deliver a 13% per year return on investment. Children in high-quality early education programs were found to demonstrate increased overall health and wellness; better-developed social and emotional skills, such as self-control and the ability to monitor; access to more information; and a higher level of engagement in the world around them.
— “The Lifecycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program,” James Heckman, Center for the Economics of Human Development at the University of Chicago
On the importance of small class size:
A 2014 analysis by the National Education Policy Center found that smaller classes generally lead to higher test scores for students, especially in earlier grades, when teachers are properly trained to work with small groups and adjust their instruction accordingly.
— “Does Class Size Matter?” The National Education Policy Center
On the benefits of learning foreign languages in the primary years:
“The results of the analysis showed that the groups who received foreign language instruction scored significantly higher in three areas of cognitive function than the control group. In particular, the students who had received foreign language instruction scored higher on tasks involving evaluation...the highest cognitive skill according to Bloom’s taxonomy.”
—Foster, K. M., & Reeves, C. K. (1989). Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) improves cognitive skills. FLES News, 2(3), 4.
On the importance of family-style meals at school:
Sigman-Grant et al. (2008) reported a positive association between family-style meal service and children’s social development, with adults helping to facilitate children’s motor skill development and nurture
children’s table manners, conversational skills, and social behavior.
—“Building Healthier Children Through Family-Style Service in School Cafeterias,” School Nutrition Association, 2015
On the importance of great Kindergarten teachers:
In a study conducted by Harvard economist Raj Chetty, “Students who had learned much more in Kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds…As adults, they were more likely to be saving for retirement. Perhaps most striking, they were earning more…Good early education can impart skills that last a lifetime — patience, discipline, manners, perseverance.”
—from “The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers” by David Leonhardt, The New York Times
“My child didn’t just benefit from amazing classroom teachers in Kindergarten—it was a whole network of amazing teachers. Every single specialist who worked with my child—literacy, art, music, French, Spanish, library, P.E., reading and language, even the Head of Primary School—got to know my child well and cared deeply about her progress.” –Fay Kindergarten parent
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