Kindergarten and the early elementary years are crucial in shaping children’s attitudes toward school. We instill a love of learning by providing a predictable and positive learning environment—one that sparks and honors children’s curiosity, and makes it safe to take risks. Because our teachers deeply know their students, they are able to meet each child’s needs for challenge and support.
We integrate a variety of strategies to promote childrens’ developing literacy.
Our program is deeply grounded in cognitive science and evidence based research, empowering students to decode words fluently and with confidence. The Word Wires curriculum employs a multi-sensory approach to analyzing words designed to support reading, writing, and vocabulary development for a wide range of students. From simple letter sounds up through greek and latin roots, Word Wires provides students with a deep understanding of English language structure and phonics.
In kindergarten and first grade, children are learning to read and growing in their comprehension skills. By second grade, they are reading to learn. Through the reader's workshop model, student activities include:
Our program goal is for legible and fluent handwriting to be an easy and automatic task for all students. Handwriting Without Tears is a multisensory approach using fun, engaging, and developmentally appropriate instructional methods as students progress from practicing proper grip, to the formation of letters, to spacing and size.
Kindergarten and First Grade
Math at Villa is built around the Standards for Mathematical Practices. K-1 students learn basic math fundamentals through hands-on games, small groups for reteaching and enrichment, and individual practice. They learn important skills such as measuring, estimating, telling time, counting coins, place value, addition and subtraction, and two/three dimensional shapes.
Our goal for math instruction is to provide smaller math classes to allow for the highest level of differentiation. Beginning in second grade, a third math teacher is included. Using assessment, observation, and input from homeroom teachers, students are "clustered" to allow for complementary groupings based on learning style, social dynamics, skills, and development. This smaller cluster model allows teachers to offer support and enrichment to each individual student, while also ensuring appropriate levels of stretch and pacing. Using EnVision Math as a core curriculum, teachers also pull from various sources to supplement and enrich math instruction as they see fit.
Second grade topics include: problem solving with addition/subtraction within 20,100, and 1000, using various strategies and algorithms; measuring length with a variety of tools; creating and using data and graphs; geometry concepts.
In exploring communities—of families, school, and those around the globe—students begin to understand their place in the world. Through curricula like Social Studies Alive, students investigate new ideas, try on differing perspectives, and look for social justice opportunities. By exploring how communities work, students learn their role in helping to take care of the world. Villa’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion play an important role in childrens’ developing awareness as they:
Science at Villa is hands-on! Throughout the year, we incorporate Villa’s expansive campus as an outdoor learning lab, where the garden, orchards, woodlands, and other resources enhance learning in all science topics. The internationally benchmarked Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a central component of our program. They comprise a global set of skills that guide science education, with a focus on developing cognitive skills rather than memorizing facts.
Using the FOSS core curriculum, our lessons incorporate inquiry-based instruction and STEM principles. We also incorporate whole class discussion, analyzing and interpreting data, writing in science journals, and role play to enhance children’s understanding of scientific concepts. From studies in Earth, Physical, and Life Science, students engage in all four steps of the scientific method.
Learn more about Villa’s approach to STEM education.
MakerSpace and Computer Lab
In the MakerSpace, the power of hands-on learning is evident as students progress through the five steps of the engineering process - Ask, Imagine, Plan, Create, Test, and Improve - in designing 3D projects with a variety of materials.
In the computer lab, students build computer literacy and skills including: basics of computer operations, working in a variety of applications, web research for multimedia presentations, introductory robotics, and three weeks of coding.
In the immersion study of Spanish, students use the language to communicate and to express themselves. In a fun, active, and participatory environment, they learn through repetition, songs, games, and even physical movement to develop oral comprehension and facilitate language acquisition and retention. By first and second grade, students are beginning to read and write in Spanish.
The goal of our once-weekly library program is to develop students who value learning and can apply the skills, strategies, and processes to be independent users of information as they:
Our approach to social emotional learning is central to a Villa education and is woven throughout every day and across all grade levels.
Mother Cabrini and her legacy of compassion is central to students’ spiritual growth and incorporates social emotional and service learning. Students learn about God’s grace, explore the story of Jesus through the Gospels, and come to understand the role of the Catholic Church as a community. A special focus of study are the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent. Students experience the many forms of prayer, attend school wide liturgies, and are responsible for planning and playing an active role in one liturgy per year.
We promote the importance of regular year-round Physical Education for a lifelong healthy lifestyle. Students visit the gym twice weekly.
We connect our K-2 students to the wider school community. They are teamed with older students who become their mentors and special friends through our Buddy Program. They participate in school events like the Halloween Parade and Christmas concerts, and take part in the rich offerings of our after school programs.
Beyond the school community, students participate in the wider community through service learning throughout the year.