Academic Program
Lower School



Kindergarten is filled with exploration: getting to know one another, building confidence as members of their new school community, and learning through hands-on activities.
These priorities are supported by two homeroom teachers, whose academic focus is literacy, math, and social studies; and by special discipline teachers in library, PE, dance, music, art, science, and Spanish. With a Responsive Classroom approach across all disciplines, students are engaged and invested in building a community together. Each individual knows that she is seen and valued, and together students learn to care for themselves, for one another, and for their school community.

Kindergarten Curriculum

List of 9 items.

  • Literacy

    Students learn to engage with stories, making predictions along the way, answering questions, and finding words, rhymes and patterns in the English language that they might choose to use in their own writing. The Sounds in Motion program is at the heart of our phonics work. Students learn movements for each of the distinct sounds in the English language then learn how to use the correct corresponding letters to put the sounds they hear into writing. In writers’ workshop, students share stories from home and their imaginations, generate lists and labels and create books on topics that are important to them.
  • Mathematics

    Students build a solid foundation of math concepts as they explore the world around them, learning to use numbers and written numerals to represent quantities and solve problems. Sorting and classifying objects, counting items and sets, finding patterns and using simple bar graphs are some of the ways that students master math concepts by doing math. The understanding they build at this early age supports continuing confidence and success with the increasingly complex mathematics to come in future grades. 
  • Social Studies/Social Emotional Learning

    Social studies is grounded in the communities closest to students’ daily lives: their family, their classroom and their school. We begin with an in-depth identity study where students share, explore and celebrate who they are as individuals and as members of their unique, wonderful families. Students study their broader school community through mapping parts of the building and neighborhood, often translating their observations into detailed block reproductions in the classroom. Moving out into the broader world, students observe, investigate, research and share information about the wide range of bird species that live in Central Park. At every step of the way, students use and hone their math and literacy skills, along with strategies for science exploration and for synthesizing and sharing what they’ve learned.
  • Art

    Art is a process of combining learned skill with personal vision, and Kindergarten art projects balance these aspects so that every student learns to think and work as an artist. Students use art to express their ideas and emotions, learning to trust their own artistic instincts and judgment while building a set of skills for drawing, painting, collage, and sculpture.
  • Dance

    Creative movement is the heart of dance class, which flows through activities incorporating elements of ballet, jazz, and other traditions. Students build body awareness as they explore space and dance making, working collaboratively in pairs and small groups with an emphasis on positive process.
  • Physical Education and Athletics

    In PE, students build confidence as they challenge their bodies and brains to try new skills, activities and games. Participating in a wide range of fun movement activities, students practice foundational locomotor activities like running, galloping, skipping, hopping, and jumping. They increase balancing and rolling skills in tumbling, and develop greater awareness of how they move their bodies through space.
  • Science

    As young scientists, our students ask thoughtful questions, make careful observations, measure with a variety of tools, and record their findings in notebooks using pictures and words. Science investigations relate directly to the social studies curriculum, allowing for continuous exploration and query throughout the school day.
  • Spanish

    Kindergarten Spanish engages students in an active, immersive process of language learning. Songs, stories, art projects, and group games make classes fun and encourage students to take risks in speaking and expressing themselves in Spanish. Lessons often connect with what the students are learning in other academic subjects, reinforcing skills such as pattern recognition, counting and sorting, reading and writing, and expressing ideas through art and music.
  • Music

    In music class, students develop their identity as musicians who work together with a sense of joy, playfulness, and creativity. Playing various instruments, singing in ensemble, and participating in fun song experiences and movement games, students develop an awareness of the fundamental elements of music: beat, rhythm, pitch, dynamics, tempo, and texture. 

Curriculum Highlights

Explore Our Curriculum

A K-12 independent school in New York city, The Spence School prepares a diverse community of girls and young women for the demands of academic excellence and responsible citizenship.


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