The academic curriculum for Primer, our program for four-year-olds, and Kindergarteners offer students a challenging but fun and active learning environment. Early exposure to core academic subjects, Spanish, and the arts awakens their intellectual wonder and nurtures their curiosity. We raise the bar and never underestimate the potential of a child. Children’s early social and emotional development is vitally important. It’s why families start their children early at Kirby Hall.
About Kirby Hall
We find substance to the quote attributed to St. Ignatius of Loyola: “Give me the child until he is seven, and I will give you the man.” During school days, we have your children for more of their waking hours than you, and we take this as a true honor and privilege. Let us make your child’s first formal school experience be one that is challenging, joyful, fun, nurturing, safe, and loving.
“This is a uniquely comfortable environment,
and you feel it right away.”
“The school is a mini-United Nations –
a very diverse, global community.”
“We have a very good read on each child –
his or her abilities, challenges, and personality –
and are able to nurture that in an effective way.”
“There are no invisible children here.”
“Mean is not tolerated.”
“Here, it’s okay to raise your hand and answer,
it’s okay not to know, but what’s not okay is not to try.”
“The school is extremely inclusive, celebrates diversity, promotes equity, and builds the capacity for student achievement by committing to a common purpose that reflects pride, respect, and successes.”
– AdvancED Summary of Findings
Even though learning to read is not an expectation for our four-year-old students, we provide a phonemically enriched environment. Filling your child’s toolbox with phonemes and letter sounds that open up the magical world of reading. Most of our primer students will be reading during the course of the year, and our kindergarteners typically conclude the year reading above grade level, often in early chapter books.
Writing instruction is taught in tandem with reading; as students associate the phoneme with its grapheme (letter), they are taught proper letter formation. As writing and spelling skills emerge, written work becomes more sophisticated.
Spelling begins in kindergarten, employing a mnemonic marking system, which when coupled with the rules of spelling and syllabication, helps your child understand and remember why words are spelled and pronounced as they are.
We use the Saxon Math Program, starting with a kindergarten course in our primer class and progressing to first grade curriculum in our kindergarten class. This is part of our philosophy of elevating the learning experience. The Saxon program stays with our students through Algebra II. It’s a spiral-based curriculum, so concepts are introduced in an elementary fashion and constantly re-enforced. When our students compete in math competitions, they usually place first, second, and third across all grade levels.
Tapping into the innate curiosity of children, we approach science as hands-on learning. Children roll up their sleeves, explore, experiment, and delve into their immediate environment. Science is taught once a week and includes plants and plant growth, animals and their needs, the human body and its five senses, magnets and their forces, weather and the four seasons, and the earth and its environment.
We approach teaching history as a narrative to engaging learners through thought-provoking stories. American history units teach students about what makes the United States of America unique. Learning about the greater world helps develop their sense of global citizenry. History is taught once a week and includes units like the seven continents, Native Americans, past and present, exploration and settlement of America, and presidents, past and present.
Kirby Hall is committed to creating truly bilingual students. The earlier a child learns a second language, the more readily the brain adapts. Our primer and kindergarten students have Spanish instruction three to four times a week. This dedicated study continues throughout our primary and secondary education, resulting in Kirby Hall graduates positioning themselves for placement into second or third year college-level Spanish.
We focus on many different beginning elements of theater. We cultivate the child’s naturally vibrant imagination and creativity, as they learn to use the body as a tool of expression. In these classes, we focus on creating and acting out characters who have feelings similar to those of children at this age. We also use pantomime and improvisation as a way for children to familiarize themselves with the limitless opportunities they have for self-expression while in class and on stage.
We spend a great deal of time learning and singing age-appropriate songs. We begin to learn musical vocabulary so that students come to understand the concept of music as its own language. Students are taught and encouraged to harmonize with song melodies and often act out the “characters” in the songs while singing along, to create a small musical theater integration. Using bongo drums, students focus primarily on dynamics and the concept of creating and maintaining percussion instrument tempos.
Students explore the creative process in a safe and fun environment. We nurture each student’s unique sensibilities through guided independent practices and collaboration with classmates. They broaden their color wheel vocabulary and knowledge of figures from art history as they practice techniques such as drawing, collage, painting, printmaking, and sculpture.
We inspire students to see the positive side of being physically active. Students learn traditional and non-traditional sports through engaging in activities that promote cognitive development. Our program builds gross and fine motor skills, teaches safe behaviors, and fosters awareness of personal space. Structured physical activities are an excellent avenue for the development of social skills.
Plan A Visit
We would love to get to know you better and discuss the future of your child. Come visit Kirby Hall and see what makes our environment special for yourself!