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Kindergarten Excel
Offered by the Mount Olive Township Board of Education

The Kindergarten Excel program; the design for a whole new kind of schooling experience, one that keeps pace with the social, academic, and technological changes our young children will encounter, is available to residents of Mount Olive Township. We propose a rich, challenging curriculum for all students, technology for an information age, and careful guidance through skilled certified instructors.

This is the Age of Exploration for five & six year olds. Drawing on their innate curiosity, we intend to reinforce each child’s desire to know through daily opportunities to explore, discover, and build. We see children as active learners who eagerly seek information, ask questions, solve problems, and create things in a playful and joy-filled environment.

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The Distinctive Characteristics of the Kindergarten Excel

A Child-Centered Approach

Kids are naturally curious, and they learn from their curiosity. The Kindergarten Excel program is designed to cultivate children's innate curiosity and capacity for wonder. The curriculum elements come out of the child's surroundings, questions, and interests. Instructors create a structured environment that encourages exploration, active play, and learning and opens up new areas of interest. Much of the learning activities involve group projects. Through the instructor's guidance, the children choose projects they wish to pursue.

We have found that children learn best when the topic of study is in context with the things that young children know and are familiar with. Most days, while the focus is literacy, the typical visitor won't be able to tell if the class is concerned with reading, writing, art, science, or social studies.

A rich learning environment invites exploration. The Kindergarten Excel room is filled with materials for making things and "messing about". There are learning centers for a variety of literacy-based topics, computing devices for deliberate practices as well as wide scaled explorations, reading and writing centers for creative imaginations (as well as academic discovering), class meeting headquarters (for whole group instruction), as well as individual spaces. Children will find a warm, caring, inviting climate for developing literacy in a variety of settings-from whole class instruction to independent study, cooperative groups, or one-to one tutoring. Whatever the setting, all Kindergarten Excel kids are active and engaged.

A Literacy Curriculum

In the Kindergarten Excel program, we take advantage of the age of literacy by ensuring that students develop competence and confidence in their reading ability, read widely for a variety of purposes, and become makers of meaning. We accomplish this by immersing children in a language-rich environment that is filled with print and electronic books and by teaching with the most effective practices and materials available.


Kindergarten Excel focuses on a…

  • To provide a strong emphasis on language development and appropriate literacy experiences through a balance of whole group, small group and independent activities.
  • To reinforce the foundational components of literacy learning to develop awareness of letters and their specific sounds and the relationship of ‘letters to words’ and ‘words to sentences.’
  • To develop the recognition of the basic sight words and academic vocabulary by listening to and reading rich literature such as nursery rhymes, fairy tales, folk tales, and songs.
  • To develop initial writing skills and habits to communicate ideas.
  • To provide opportunities to work cooperatively and respectfully with other students.
  • To practice listening and speaking skills by participating in discussions.

Reading

Our program for emerging readers and writers fosters a love for reading and offers the motivation to read for pleasure and information while providing direct instruction in the mastery of basic decoding (phonemic and structural analysis, visual and semantic cueing), and comprehension (predicting, questioning, drawing conclusions) skills and strategies. Recognizing that basic skills provide the foundation for children during this critical pre-first grade year, instructors focus on presenting instruction in the context of reading real literature. Skills, such as letter and sound recognition, are introduced and strengthened as students read, read, and read some more.

Daily SnapShot (what it looks like each day…)

  • Class Message- Students read a sentence with the instructor in a shared reading format to practice decoding skills, concepts of print, and phonics. Then they add another sentence together via the interactive writing process.
  • Sharing Circle- Students engage in discussion (speaking and listening) about ‘what they learned’ yesterday and something they learned from a book that was read.
  • Readaloud- Instructor reads classic literature and poetry to students to develop listening and thinking skills and to share the pure enjoyment of books.
  • Shared Reading- Instructor models concepts of print and fluency by reading ‘big books’ to and with students. This includes choral reading, echo reading, readers theatre, retelling using puppets and magnetic boards.
  • Guided Reading- Students work in small groups reading an emergent-level book with the instructor incorporating decoding skills and picture clues to assist with their oral reading.
  • Fundations- (Phonics/Phonemic Awareness/Word Study) Provides a multisensory language-based program to develop the foundational skills of letters, sounds, word families and spelling patterns.
  • Independent Reading- Students independently whisper read books of their own choice as the instructor conferences with individuals.
  • Literacy Centers- Students rotate through literacy centers practicing word work, reading, and writing skills. During center time, they listen to audio books and use Chromebooks and literacy apps and games to reinforce literacy skills.
  • Writing Workshop- The instructor models the act of writing by thinking aloud while composing in front of students. Students sketch ideas, talk about what they want to write, and then start writing their ideas on paper.

Just as the payoff for studying how to play the piano…comes when children use the tools -recognizing how notes on the staff correspond to keys on the keyboard, practicing scales, and interpreting time signatures - to play actual piano pieces, so it is with reading in the Kindergarten Excel program.  Children learn how to put their meaning-making tools to work immediately in interesting and appealing reading materials.

As they read, children are taught to ask the questions all good readers ask.  These questions guide their approach to the text and provide the motivation for reading further.  These questions become an important part of the daily conversation between and among students and instructors.  Students learn to formulate sensible questions as well

as to respond with increasing levels of thought.

Writing

Is an essential means of communication, and Kindergarten Excel students learn to express themselves in ways that are both compelling and correct.  Like reading, we teach writing in all subject areas, and students learn to write for many purposes and audiences.  Children start to see writing as a tool for understanding all of the curriculum.  During their first attempts at writing, we encourage them to get their thoughts down on paper or on the screen, using whatever skills they have (including invented spellings), whenever they need to.  As they become more fluent in writing, students work on correct spelling and grammar.

Because we value cooperation between home and school…we establish an atmosphere that is like an extended family.  We work closely with parents, the child’s first teachers, to build on each child’s experiences and to provide a smooth transition to the larger world.


An Early Start

Kindergarten Excel is designed to fill in any gaps in student literacy; ensuring that kids get the very best start for first grade.  The program helps to prepare Mount Olive students for the ambitious academic program ahead.

In developing the program, we drew on many outstanding early-education models already working in America.  We also consulted outstanding teachers and other education experts. 

In this program, all teaching and learning activities aim for the same goal; preparing children intellectually, socially, and emotionally to take full advantage of school.  Children develop imagination, curiosity, and knowledge as they become citizens of the ever-expanding world.  As a result, Kindergarten Excel students are never underestimated.

Kindergarten Excel is…

         Fact-based and literacy-focused

         Developmentally appropriate

         Parent friendly

         Affordable

         Convenient

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Logistics

The Kindergarten Excel program is offered for tuition to operate just after or just before the regular half-day of kindergarten programming offered by the Mount Olive Township Schools. The school day is 3 hours long. During the one hour transition from Kindergarten to Kindergarten Excel, students eat lunch, have recess, and a twenty minute “activity period” which may include music, art, library, computers, or physical education.

Each Kindergarten Excel program is staffed with a certified instructor and partial teaching aide (primarily used during the transition from one half of the day to the other).

Transportation is provided to and from school. As space for the popular program is limited, Kindergarten Excel students are sometimes housed in other Mount Olive Township school sites. In such cases, transportation to the alternate site is a parental responsibility. Transportation mid-day to the home school for PM Kindergarten, as well as transportation home at the end of the school day is provided by the district.

The program fee is $300 per month. A $300 deposit is required to secure your child’s seat in the program. The $300 deposit will be applied to the first month’s tuition. Monthly payments of $300 will be due the 20th of each month beginning September 20th. Students are accepted on first come, first serve basis. Once a class is full, children are placed on wait list.

If sufficient seats are not available in your child’s resident school, the district offers seats in the next closest elementary school. Students are automatically wait-listed for any seats. The district offers full scholarships for students that meet finanical or academic needs. For more information, see the district K Excel website (www.mtoliveboe.org/KEXCEL)

Mt. Olive Board of Education
227 US Highway 206, Suite 10
Flanders, New Jersey 07836
Questions or Feedback click here
Phone: 973.691.4000 Fax: 973.691.4022

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