Kindergarten

The kindergarten curriculum is designed to guide and support our youngest students as they learn about themselves as individuals and how they can be part of a larger community. Students begin their Norwood journeys with a diverse set of experiences and developmental levels, and teachers create child-centered lessons to model, encourage, and facilitate growth for each student in a joyful and nurturing environment. In reading and math, teachers use frequent informal assessments to check in on students’ development and mastery of fundamental skills like phonics and addition. Further, they facilitate opportunities for students to apply and extend those skills. For example, as writers, kindergartners may tell stories by drawing them or writing them down. They also take part in weekly Guided Discovery, an inquiry-based and hands-on learning experience that promotes ownership of new information through kinetic simulations. In science, students begin to question, observe, and explore the world around them through the study of bubbles, physical science, and the environment. In Spanish, students explore the world they know through the lens of new cultures, looking at different words for things in their world and different practices for familiar things. Importantly, throughout their kindergarten experiences, students learn the fundamental collaborative and social skills that will help them be successful in their Norwood classrooms and beyond. Kindergartners participate in two stage performances for their parents, one in the fall and one in the spring.

List of 11 items.

  • Reading/Language Arts

    As students emerge as readers, the kindergarten reading and writing program emphasizes supporting students in their particular developmental reading level. Using the Reading Workshop model, students build their foundational skills such as decoding text by reading alongside the teacher, listening to stories read aloud, word work, and independent reading time. Word work, such as sorting words by sound and manipulating word segments, supports development of phonemic awareness and phonics. Using the Writing Workshop model, teachers work with students in group and one-on-one settings to support each student’s growth. While learning how to form letters, space words on the page, and write sentences, kindergartners publish their first book. Students are encouraged to tell their stories and to notice the words and rhythms authors use to write stories. By going back to their work and adding details such as picture labels and titles, kindergarten writers learn early on that revision is part of the writing process. Students experience a wide range of mentor texts including fictional stories, informative works, and opinion pieces.
  • Math

    Kindergarten students build their number sense, learning how numbers correspond to quantities and learning how to put numbers together and take them apart. The curriculum emphasizes not only procedural skills but also conceptual understanding; students go beyond understanding just the basic computations and develop an enduring understanding of math concepts. Concrete visual models, such as five and ten frames, bead racks, and number lines are used as tools for developing numeracy. Using many different forms of frequent assessment, teachers work with students individually and in small groups to support their growth. Students learn through a balance of games, inquiry, multi-sensory activities, and direct instruction. 
  • Social Studies

    The focus of the social studies curriculum in kindergarten is on learning to be respectful, secure, responsible, and objective thinkers, and to appreciate and understand our own and others' special and unique qualities. Students learn by exploring how each individual fits into our community, and by cultivating a sense of gratitude and responsibility towards others. Helping our young students understand how we are all connected to peers, the classroom, and our school increases their sense of worth and broadens their perspective. Through Norwood's Value of the Month Program, field trips, interactive lessons, holidays, and projects, kindergarten students study and create their connections to our school community.
  • Guided Discovery

    Norwood’s signature kindergarten program presents students with project-based challenges that require and foster critical thinking, collaboration, communication skills, problem solving, creativity, manners, self-advocacy, and public-speaking skills. For example, students are divided into small groups, given specific materials to work with, and asked to build a bridge. Teachers encourage, guide, and support students, but facilitate an environment in which children are leading the project and discovering their own unique solutions.
  • Science

    Kindergartners approach science class by immersing themselves into the scientific process. Studying units on physics, bubbles, and the environment, they explore the topic through investigation and build skills fundamental to scientific inquiry. In 'bubble-ology', they focus on communicating with their teacher and peers. In physics, they look at data to make conclusions about falling objects and gravity. When exploring the environment, students work in the school garden, observing plant growth. Throughout the process, students learn through hands-on instruction that engages active and curious kindergartners.
  • Spanish

    Young children have a natural gift for learning languages and this is why our kindergartners are exposed to Spanish language and culture. The children explore Spanish in a story-based approach through movement, songs and skits. They build vocabulary as they repeatedly hear clear and accurate Spanish, helping them learn proper language patterns. They practice everyday conversational Spanish that is natural and child-centered, and they are encouraged to use the language beyond the classroom. Topics include, but are not limited to, greetings, numbers, colors, animals, family members, emotions, parts of the body, and parts of a house.
  • Art

    The lower school music program is devoted to instilling a joyful sense of music and music making in every child. The goal is to increase musical understanding through activities involving performing, listening, and creating. These activities include singing, playing rhythm instruments, playing xylophones, reading music, dancing/movement, dramatizing, and composing. After establishing an emotional connection with music performed and heard, these activities lead students to discover, explore, demonstrate comprehension of, and create something new using concepts related to the elements of music: rhythm, melody, harmony, form, expression. Kindergartners play a wide variety of rhythm instruments to songs, meet an imaginary creature called “Magic Mouth,” and perform in their own staged Halloween show and spring musical.
  • Music

    The Kindergarten music program is devoted to instilling a joyful sense of music and music making in every child. The goal is to develop students’ aesthetic sensibilities by increasing musical understanding through activities involving performing, listening, and creating. Kindergarteners can look forward to learning a number of appealing and age-appropriate chants and multicultural folk songs that serve as the basis for fun and exploration! Kindergarteners play games with these songs, play the rhythm instruments to accompany them, dramatize them, and dance to them. The basics of music literacy are also drawn from these songs. Carefully chosen recordings spark the kindergarteners’ imaginations, allowing them to express through story and movement. In the fall, kindergarteners put on a very kid-friendly Halloween performance for K parents and the Lower School that showcases the musical fun they are having in the classroom. The kindergarteners perform a musical show in the spring as well.
  • Physical Education

    In Lower School, students are introduced to basic loco-motor skills and activities that develop hand-eye and hand-foot coordination, spatial awareness, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Each year builds on the skills, games, and experiences from the previous year. Going beyond the games and activities, teachers process the experiences with students individually and in groups, asking questions like, “Can a self-win also be a team win?” and “What does it mean to be a good sport?” Lower school students learn the mental and physical foundations that will help them succeed in later experiences. 
  • Library & Technology

    During library class, kindergartners are exposed to variations of traditional folktales from all over the world, learning that children from different cultures and countries are more alike than different. They are introduced to technology through the use of iPads, with apps used to strengthen phonological awareness and fine motor skills.  They also learn basic coding using codable robotic devices.
  • Life Skills

    As part of our commitment to the whole child, Norwood School’s Life Skills Program introduces students to age-appropriate information about personal and community health and well-being that will help them lead happy, healthy lives and make positive contributions to their community from early childhood through adolescence and beyond. Some of the topics for lower school students include friendships, self-esteem, being inclusive, bullying, conflict resolution, peer pressure, responding to teasing, and Internet safety. At all ages, the program establishes skills and strategies for lifelong well-being and promotes caring for the well-being of others. Throughout the program, teachers emphasize the important role students’ own family members play in guiding goal-setting, problem-solving and decision-making.
A Week in the Life of a Norwood Kindergartner

Each morning starts with a community gathering to focus on the value of the month and to prepare for the day ahead. Kindergartners then enjoy a balanced schedule combining Daily News, PE, reading, Spanish, music, math, science, art, Writing Workshop, social studies, Guided Discovery, and Library.
 

Homeroom Teachers

List of 4 members.

  • Lulito Newsome 

    Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher
    University of Evansville - B.A.
  • Cathy Caruso 

    Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher
    Coe College - B.A.
    New York University - M.A. Educational Theater
    New York University - M.A. Early Childhood & Elementary Education
  • Sarah Lee 

    Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher
    Wheelock College - B.S.
  • Andy Morgan 

    Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher and Pre-kindergarten/Kindergarten Coordinator
    Hamilton College - B.A.
    University of Maryland - M.A.

Highlights

  • Hands-on Learning
  • Child-centered Classrooms
  • Guided Discovery
  • Value of the Month
  • Sharing Box 
  • Buddy Program
  • Science Lab
  • Abundant Art & Music
  • Library Storytime
  • Dramatic Play
  • Physical Education & Recess
  • Halloween Show & Parade
  • Spring Musical
  • Field Trips
  • Author's Breakfast
Located in Bethesda, MD, Norwood School develops students in grades PK-8 into confident lifelong learners who have the academic, character, and leadership skills to succeed in high school and beyond. Recognizing that children are multi-faceted, Norwood provides many opportunities for safe risk-taking, exploration, discovery, and growth in a nurturing, supportive, and inclusive school community.