“I have a little valentine that someone sent to me. It’s pink and white and red and blue, and pretty as can be. Forget-me-nots are round the edge, and tiny roses, too. And such a lovely piece of lace – the very palest blue. And in the center there’s a heart, as red as red can be! And on it’s written all in gold, ‘To You, with Love from Me.’" - “My Valentine” by Mary Catherine Parsons.
My kindergarten daughter lost a front top tooth as she was memorizing this poem. I can still hear the slur in her voice as she said, “the very palest blue.” Valentine's Day was a very fun day in kindergarten as each student passed out cards and shared an ice cream party. Although this was a day for a party, I’ve been learning that, unlike the kindergarten of my childhood, a lot of learning occurs. As my daughter and her classmates were memorizing this fun Valentine poem, they were also memorizing Proverbs 3: 1-8. The most well known verses of these scriptures are verses 5 and 6:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
The children may not completely understand all that they are being asked to learn and why, but they are being made aware that they need to trust in God. Their teacher’s goal is to prepare them for first grade and beyond. That includes learning to sit still in a chair, follow instructions, and take written math and spelling tests. They also learn practical daily skills. After a fun day of ice cream, it is very important to brush your teeth. That evening, my daughter and I had a discussion about the teeth brushing tips she learned that day.
A week later, I enjoyed another visit to her kindergarten class. Let me share a small slice of a day in the life of a Heritage Oak School kindergartener with you.
Pledges and Prayer
My daughter's day began by joining her schoolmates, kindergarten through grade twelve, in the chapel where everyone said the pledges to the Christian flag and the flag of the United States of America. After a short prayer and devotion led by a secondary student, she and her classmates were dismissed to their classroom.
She and her classmates then learned about the sounds that the letters “t” and “h” make together. The “th” makes a soft sound typically when it is in the middle or the end of a word and, it makes a hard sound typically when it is at the beginning of a word. For example, listen to the softness of the “th” in the word “whether” or “with.” Now listen to the hard sound of the “th” in the word “that.” Notice that where you put your tongue while you are pronouncing the two different sounds is different. They practiced the sounds and wrote words in sand that had “th” in them. Then later Teacher read a story where nearly every word had a “th.”
Math lessons are quite fun as well. My favorite questions are the story word problems. For homework, I read the word problems to my daughter because she is still learning to read. My favorite word sentence was, “10 birds came to the bird feeder to drink water. Then 4 flew away. Draw a picture of the birds and write a number sentence to show how many birds are left.” Just as these kindergarteners held Valentines in their hands and recited a poem about Valentines, they are also experiencing math in tangible ways by talking about how many birds are at the feeder or how much a dime is worth. They often play store in their classroom. It is a great avenue to understand money.
One of my daughter’s favorite parts of the kindergarten day is to listen to her teacher read Bible stories and color pictures related to the Bible story as she and her friends are listening. She will recite some of those stories to me later at home. One of her favorite stories is about Sampson’s mom. She found it fascinating that Sampson’s mom could not eat or drink certain things while she was pregnant because of the plans God had for Sampson.
Tomorrow is a spelling test of small sight words.
Tomorrow these children will be our future. May God give them His wisdom as they set their sights on understanding all this world and their school has to offer.
Come visit kindergarten at Heritage Oak School.