Kindergarten at SMES is focused on the development of the whole child. Kindergarten has a 1:6 teacher to student ratio with the majority of time spent in small group or one-on-one instruction.
Curriculum is research-based and balanced between the needs of the individual students and the class as a whole each year. The experienced teachers use the Kindergarten TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) as well as the following curriculums & curriculum models to guide their instruction:
- Everyday Mathematics
- Teacher's College Reading & Writing Project: Reading Workshop & Writing Workshop
- Handwriting without Tears
- Small group reading instruction
- Words Their Way (phonics instruction)
- Science Explorers: provided by DaVinci school
Social/Emotional Development is at the forefront of all teacher-student interactions. Students learn to work independently and in small groups to accomplish goals fostering self-confidence and an excitement for learning.
The Kimochis Social Emotional Learning program is designed to give children the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to recognize and manage their emotions, demonstrate caring and concern for others, establish positive relationships, make responsible decisions, and handle challenging situations constructively. These skills have been identified by leading researchers in the field of social and emotional learning as necessary for school success, academic achievement, positive social relationships and the development of emotional competence.
Physical Development is an important aspect of early childhood education and the SMES kindergarten program. The class takes two outdoor recesses daily to encourage gross motor development as well as participating in multiple physical enrichment classes. While in the classroom, teachers address fine motor skills, strengthening fingers & hand-eye coordination, through games, manipulatives, the Handwriting without Tears program, and more.
Community Involvement & Empathy Development are woven throughout the kindergarten year: class meetings to discuss & solve classroom issues, singing at retirement communities, collecting canned goods, creating Valentine’s Boxes for children in hospitals, and reading to & supporting younger students at SMES.
Janet Hanks has taught kindergarten for 12 years; she developed and has taught the SMES kindergarten program for the last 3 years. Prior to joining the SMES staff, Janet taught kindergarten at Armstrong Elementary in Highland Park ISD. Janet earned her BS from Louisiana State University in early childhood education and her Masters of Education from the University of Missouri in literacy education. Janet is also a National Board certified teacher in early childhood education, having met the profession’s highest standards for accomplished practice.
Carmen Escobar graduated from New Mexico State University with a BS in communication disorders and a BA in Spanish literature. Carmen comes to us with a background in Applied Behavior Analysis and 10 years working with children in small groups and one-on-one. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Behavior Psychology at Pepperdine University and can’t wait to begin her first year teaching kindergarten!
Kindergarten Year at-a-Glance