Kindergarten Curriculum Expansion

Educator Name: Barbara Kinnunen-Skidmore
School Name: CLK Elementary School

Purchase a class set of snowshoes to be shared by all kindergarten students and teachers to enhance student learning. The use of snowshoes would encourage our staff to continue an "outdoor classroom" approach during our long winter months. Expanding our Kindergarten curriculum and lessons around the use of snowshoes would open up the door to many novel and authentic learning opportunities for both the children and the teachers.

In addition to cross-curricular (science, math and language arts), hands-on learning opportunities, there are many more areas that could be enhanced:
  1. The development of lessons utilizing historical literature and historical narratives.
  2. Exploration of multiculturalism, via the study of Ojibwe Indians.
  3. Art instruction: the introduction of sketch books as the class explores the genre of historical narratives. Examples of Ojibwe art could be displayed and discussed.
  4. Music instruction: introduce Ojibwe music and instruments used. Invite musicians from the local Native American community.
  5. The final classroom instruction enhancement is to have the snowshoes used as a part of our P.E. program for Kindergarten children.
A positive, and much needed, association with the natural world during our long winter months would benefit our children greatly. The development of observational skills in an outdoor environment, while providing “hands on” learning experiences(science, mathematics, language arts, social studies, health education), would lend itself to making many academic benefits. Connected studies and experiences have been proven to make more lasting impressions on children's minds. In addition to the academic benefits, the children would benefit from this healthy, physically active approach to learning. The snowshoe excursions could make a lasting impression for future family involvement and an overall enthusiasm for outdoor recreation, of which our geographical region offers limitless opportunities. Lastly, a parent volunteer who has expertise in the areas of surveying, forestry, agriculture, and orienteering is in place to mentor all kindergarten classroom teachers and the collaborating P.E. teacher. Exposure to this resource person and his areas of expertise, have the potential to have a substantial impact on student learning. Students would also be exposed to potential career opportunities in our region.

Academic results specific to the concepts studied. A more intimate connection with the natural world. Collaboration and team building within the grade level. A stronger understanding and connection regarding our local history and heritage. A more extensive and complete Kindergarten curriculum, especially in the area of Social Studies. An increase in physical activity, specific to the outdoors during the winter months. All teachers investigation and first-hand experience with the concept of the "OUTDOOR CLASSROOM".

Formal assessments(including the tool and rubric) are already developed for the following GLCE’s: 5 Senses, Writing Development, Living and Non-living, Basic Needs of Living things, Greater Than-Less Than, Positional Words. Informal assessments via teacher observations will also be utilized. Both forms of assessments will be used to strengthen the quality of experiences, lessons and outcomes annually.