Academic Program & Supports
Kindergarten students engage daily in center-based learning in reading, mathematics, and science, as well as instruction in language arts and handwriting. Students also have time for structured and facilitated play and social skill development. Kindergarten students participate daily in specials, including art, music, library, physical education, and computers.
The kindergarten curriculum is developmental and meant to challenge each child’s unique physical, cognitive, linguistic, artistic, and social strengths. The curriculum is based on Massachusetts state standards and is designed by the kindergarten teachers using a variety of resources. You can learn about the Norwell district standards here and our standards-based system here.
At the early childhood level, students participate in Responsive Classroom activities with their classroom teachers. Responsive Classroom is an approach to teaching that emphasizes academic, social, and emotional growth in a strong school and classroom community. In addition, all students receive weekly Social Health lessons which are connected to the district Social Health Themes. These lessons may be taught by the classroom teacher and/or the Guidance Counselor. On occasion, the nurse, school psychologist, principal, assistant principal or community police officer may teach a lesson as well. Topics at these grade levels include: adjusting to the new grade, understanding self and others, listening skills, communication skills, identifying emotional feelings, empathy, impulse control, anger management, conflict resolution, bullying, choices and consequences, problem solving, creating peaceful community, conflict resolution, playing fair, tolerance and acceptance of others, and managing stress.
Counselors in the Classroom
- Understanding Self and Others
- Teasing and Bullying
- Telling vs. Tattling
- Stress Management
- Making Good Choices
- Managing Angry Feelings
- Making Friends
- Conflict Resolution
- Alone at Home Safety
- Internet Safety
- Water Safety
- Healthy Eating
- Fire Safety
- Bully Proofing
- Understanding Differences
- Violence Prevention, Empathy Training
- Drug and Alcohol Prevention
- Peer Education
- Sex Abuse Prevention
Short-Term Work with Individuals or Small Groups
- Social Skills: Eye Contact, Friend Skills, Body Language, etc.
- Adjustment: Divorce, Moving, Loss, Changing Families
- Building Self Esteem Groups
- Circle of Friends
- Parenting Resources Library: Books and Videos
- Individual Parents Consultation
In the implementation of these services, the following resources are utilized: Responsive Classroom Program, Social Health Lessons, Second Step Violence Prevention, various videos, various children’s literature books, the “All About Drugs” Prevention Program and school-wide initiatives such as the “Acts of Courage” program.
Norwell Tiered Systems of Support (NTSS)
The Norwell Tiered Systems of Support (NTSS) is an assessment-intervention model that allows all of our schools to deliver intervention and supports to students in both academic (K-8) and social-emotional areas (grades 3-12). In NTSS, all students are screened and monitored for specific educational outcomes, and those needing additional assistance are given targeted intervention that is monitored systematically. NTSS uses a multi-tier model of intervention. Each tier represents an increasing level of instruction matched to the student’s needs. Movement between tiers is decided by the current classroom teacher, grade level team, and content specialists based on student growth, as measured by screening instruments and progress monitoring tools.
All students in grades K-8 are regularly screened in English Language Arts, mathematics, and writing. Screenings take place several times a year. Based on the results of the screenings, students are supported through either content extension, additional practice, or reinforcement. Teachers and content specialists, including Reading Specialists, Math Specialists, and/or Literacy Specialists work collaboratively to provide students with this support. Specialists regularly support classroom teachers through education and training to ensure all student needs are being met in the classroom. In kindergarten, content specialists may work with classroom teachers to provide support in small groups within the classroom. For more information about NTSS, please contact the Principals, Assistant Principals, or your student’s classroom teacher.
Kindergarten report cards are sent home three times a year, in december, March and June. The Norwell elementary schools provide standards-based report cards that communicate where each student falls in relation to content standards in literacy and mathematics and communicate progress towards science content standards, social studies content standards, and social development skills.
Parent-teacher conferences are held twice per year, in November and April. In addition to scheduled conferences, communication between teachers and students' families is encouraged throughout the school year. Teachers are available by email or phone to discuss questions or concerns at any time.
State-mandated kindergarten screening takes place each June at the Vinal School and Cole School for students who are entering kindergarten the following fall. This screening assesses students’ development in the areas of motor skills, language, and cognition. Screening provides the kindergarten teachers with information about each child's development to inform their planning for the school year. Families of students registered for kindergarten will receive notification about specific dates and times of screenings.
Hearing and vision screening is completed in the fall of the kindergarten year.
For more information, please see the Norwell Public Schools Elementary Student-Parent Handbook.