Thomas Edison Charter Academy A public non-profit TK-8 school in San Francisco

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Overview of What Students Learn

Language Arts


In kindergarten, students learn the foundational reading and English language arts skills that set them on the path to become lifelong readers, writers, and effective communicators. Reading is the most important skill that students develop during their early academic years, and kindergarten through grade three is the optimal period of time for such learning

Instruction in kindergarten is focused on developing foundational skills that prepare students for later learning in the all content areas, including English language arts. A primary focus of language arts instruction in kindergarten is helping students make sense of the alphabet and its role in reading. It is critical that students develop phonological awareness so they can move on to decoding words; yet reading in kindergarten is not merely decoding words. In kindergarten, students learn beginning skills to comprehend and analyze what they are reading.

Kindergarten students begin to develop writing skills by using a combination of drawing, dictation, and writing to express opinions, relate an event, or provide information. They learn to use digital tools to produce and publish writings. Kindergarten students develop skills in speaking and listening through discussions with peers and adults. In both writing and speaking, students learn the conventions of English.

In kindergarten, students learn academic language in context while reading, writing, listening, and engaging in discussions about books and grade-level topics.




In kindergarten, students are introduced to the relationship between numbers and quantities and build a foundation for place value as they count, represent and compare whole numbers, initially with sets of objects. Students also describe and model objects in their environment using simple geometric shapes and vocabulary.

Kindergarteners learn the number names as they count (to 100 by 1s and 10s) and write number names (from 0 to 20). Students learn that each successive number name refers to a quantity that is one larger as they count objects and say the corresponding number names.

Kindergarteners use a variety of approaches (e.g., use of objects, fingers, drawings, sounds, verbal explanations or equations) to represent addition and subtraction (putting together and taking apart) and to solve problems (within 10).

Students use objects or drawings to compose and decompose numbers (from 11 to 19) into ten ones and some further ones (e.g., 18 = 10 + 8).

Kindergarteners directly compare objects with measureable attributes (such as length or weight) to see which object is longer, shorter, lighter, heavier, or in general have “more of” / “less of” an attribute.

Students describe objects in the environment using the names of shapes (e.g., squares, circles, spheres) and identify shapes as two-dimensional (flat) and three-dimensional (solid).


Social Science


Students explore what it means to be a good citizen, national symbols, work (now and long ago), geography, time and chronology, and life in the past.

Students explore the meaning of good citizenship by learning about rules, working together, and the basic idea of government.  Students learn to analyze problems; consider why the problem arose; examine other alternatives; develop awareness of how alternative behaviors might bring different results; and learn` to appreciate behaviors and values that are consistent with the democratic ethic.




Kindergarteners are expected to learn both the content and process of science.

During kindergarten, students participate in classroom discussions to share ideas and evidence and are provided with opportunities to change or revise understandings based on new evidence. Kindergarteners use their senses of sight, sound, and touch to investigate a variety of objects and learn how to classify, compare, and sort these objects. They observe, measure, and predict the properties of materials.

They begin the study of the properties of matter and its transformation, and observe and describe different types of plants and animals. In addition, kindergarteners use the study of weather as a basis for the study of earth science, including the characteristics of land, air, and water and the use of Earth’s resources in everyday life. Students expand their vocabularies by learning appropriate grade-level scientific terms, such as freezing, melting, heating, dissolving, and evaporating.

Kindergarten science topics are organized into four standard sets: Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Investigation and Experimentation. As students learn the content defined by the standards in the Life, Earth, and Physical Sciences strands, they are also practicing investigation and experimentation skills.


Visual and Performing Arts


Kindergarten students dance, sing, act, and paint, exploring their world through their senses and improving their perceptual skills—so important to learning and performing in the arts. They can act like cats; move to music, rhythm, and sounds; and turn everyday movements such as walking and jumping into dance. Listening to music, they repeat the tempo with rhythm sticks and pretend and act out the stories they hear and the pictures they see by performing group pantomimes and improvisations. They like to talk about what they see in pictures and use glue and scissors with enthusiasm while learning about line, color, shape, texture, value, and space in the world around them and in works of art. While learning vocabulary in each of the arts disciplines, they see, listen, and respond to dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts from various cultures and time periods. For kindergarten students, the arts are among their first exciting adventures in learning. They are beginning to develop the vocabulary and skills unique to the arts.




In kindergarten, students learn basic health concepts and skills. They learn how to plan nutritious meals and snacks and the importance of physical activity for good health. They learn that living things grow, and they gain knowledge of their own body parts and the five senses. Concepts and skills for staying safe at home and school and while riding in a vehicle or on a bicycle are introduced. In kindergarten, students learn to identify trusted adults and the people to go to for medical, vision, and dental care and for help with mental and emotional health concerns. By the end of kindergarten, students can demonstrate ways to prevent the spread of disease, such as washing hands, and simple practices that are good for the environment, such as turning off lights and picking up trash.


Physical Education


In kindergarten, students begin to learn the proper technique for locomotor and nonlocomotor movements and how to manipulate (e.g., strike, toss, kick, bounce) objects, such as lightweight balls and beanbags. They learn the names of body parts and can describe locomotor and nonlocomotor skills. By the end of kindergarten, students can demonstrate the proper form for jumping, hopping, galloping, sliding, walking, running, leaping, and skipping. Throughout the kindergarten year, students practice nonlocomotor movements—including bending, stretching, swaying, and twisting—and learn stretching exercises. They also learn that muscles move bones; the heart is a muscle; and the lungs and the heart work together to send oxygen to the other muscles.