On May 17, kindergartners celebrated the culmination of their studies of the self, answering the essential question “Who Am I?” by introducing their spirit animals, performing a play, singing songs in Spanish, and sharing their colorful artwork. Kindergarten students explore the self throughout the year in an integrated, hands-on, and creative curriculum that develops the full potential of the individual while teaching the importance of building a strong community. As their sense of self grows, students become mindful, active participants in their communities and motivated, open-minded leaders of their own learning.
I fly. I swoop. I glide. I am happy. I am a flower lover. I am a hummingbird! – Sara
Kindergartners start the year exploring what is unique and what is the same about themselves and others. They look at the attributes that make them an individual, such as what they look like, the things they do, and how they change and grow. Kindergartners learn what makes them unique and valued.
I explore. I listen. I stare. I am curious. I am smart. I am a snake! – Colin
In social studies, they investigate, through lessons about land, sea, and continents, other “selves” around the world. They discover that we all have the same basic needs. This is reinforced in science class, where they explore anatomy and learn that humans are all the same inside. It’s also reinforced in Spanish with a poem called “I Am the Same and I Am Different.” The poem describes the ways that we are all similar, from the things we do, like eating and sleeping, to the things we feel, like love for each other.
I balance. I build. I learn. I am jazzy. I am happy. I am a flamingo! – Katie
As students become aware of themselves as individuals, they explore the self in relation to others around them. Examining themselves as part of a whole, they think about themselves in the context of the classroom, school, family, and the world. They learn that each person has responsibilities, and mutual cooperation and support ensure the well-being of all community members. In science, kindergartners study the ecosystem of Willow’s pond, building their understanding of community by learning about the interdependence of the plants and animals that live there.
At their culminating learning celebration in May, kindergartners present their spirit animal sculptures. Together, students create a totem pole built out of these animals, recognizing what makes them different and unique while, through the process of stacking the totem, acknowledging that they are a part of a greater whole.
I run. I persevere. I play. I am fierce. I am smart. I am a wolf! – Hazel
Kindergartners also perform a play, The Rainbow People. The play demonstrates what the children have learned: that all humans are different, yet we all have the same fundamental needs and feelings. The rainbow metaphor is a beautiful, timeless, and age-appropriate expression of this belief: we are each a colorful ray of light, and together we are a beautiful rainbow.