Wel­come to our Preschool (“Pri­mary”) Classrooms

Wel­come to The Renaissance International School preschool (known as “Pri­mary”) class­rooms. Our preschool is on our Oakland campus. The class­rooms are for chil­dren age 3 to 6 years old. You will notice that at The Renais­sance Inter­na­tional School, what is tra­di­tion­ally referred to as ‘kinder­garten’ takes place in the last of year of our Pri­mary classrooms.

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We have three Pri­mary classrooms:

Span­ish Pri­mary I: In this class­room there is one Spanish-​speaking Montes­sori teacher, one English-​speaking Montes­sori teacher, and one Spanish-​speaking assis­tant teacher.

French Pri­mary II: In this class­room there is one French-​speaking Montes­sori teacher, one English-​speaking Montes­sori teacher, and one English-​speaking assis­tant teacher.

Span­ish Pri­mary III: In this class­room there is one Spanish-​speaking Montes­sori teacher, one English-​speaking Montes­sori teacher, and one Spanish-​speaking assis­tant teacher.

There are no more than 27 stu­dents in each Pri­mary class­room. While each class­room is slightly dif­fer­ent, in accor­dance with the per­son­al­i­ties present in each class­room, our core cur­ricu­lum is con­sis­tent across the class­rooms. Prac­ti­cal Life, Sen­so­r­ial, Lan­guage, Lit­er­a­ture, Art, Music, Math­e­mat­ics and Cul­tural work are the core com­po­nents of the preschool cur­ricu­lum. It is impor­tant to under­stand that each of these areas is deliv­ered in the lan­guages present in each classroom.

Prac­ti­cal life involves activ­i­ties which develop and strengthen the child’s inde­pen­dence, motor-​coordination, con­cen­tra­tion, sequen­tial mem­ory and social­iza­tion. Dur­ing these pri­mary years, chil­dren move from sim­ple tasks like pour­ing and pol­ish­ing to more com­plex exer­cises which each involve an hour or more of the morning’s work.

2013 rotator intro to Kc v2By way of exam­ple, because each pri­mary class­room stud­ies a par­tic­u­lar con­ti­nent each school year, group cook­ing expe­ri­ences become an exten­sion of prac­ti­cal life, as the stu­dents prepar­ing and serve lunch once a week based on a recipe from the classroom’s con­ti­nent of study.

 hands-​on learn­ing mate­ri­als that make abstract con­cepts clear and concrete.

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Stu­dents can lit­er­ally see and explore what is going on. Our approach to teach­ing math­e­mat­ics is based on the research of Drs. Maria Montes­sori and Jean Piaget. It offers a clear and log­i­cal strat­egy for help­ing stu­dents both under­stand and develop a sound foun­da­tion in math­e­mat­ics and geom­e­try. Since quan­ti­ties larger than twenty rarely have any mean­ing to a young child, Dr. Montes­sori rea­soned that we should present this abstract con­cept graph­i­cally. Chil­dren can­not nor­mally con­ceive of the size of a hun­dred, thou­sand, or mil­lion, much less the idea that a thou­sand is equal to ten hun­dreds or one hun­dred tens.

preschool level are placed in either a Spanish/​English or a French/​English immer­sion class­room. They are in an envi­ron­ment where at least one of their three class­room teach­ers speaks to the chil­dren in the sec­ond lan­guage at all times.

2013 rotator world cultures v2Lessons are given in both Eng­lish and the sec­ond lan­guage. Stu­dents have an oppor­tu­nity to acquire new vocab­u­lary dur­ing lessons and in the con­text of con­ver­sa­tions. Words that are new today are famil­iar tomor­row, build­ing on the child’s con­fi­dence to under­stand and express him­self in the sec­ond lan­guage. Because teach­ers are native speak­ers, chil­dren acquire excel­lent accents and lan­guage pat­terns. The writ­ten form of the lan­guage is intro­duced based on the readi­ness of each child.

lac­ing our youngest stu­dents in classes in which the older stu­dents are already read­ing. All chil­dren want to do what the big kids can do, and because the intrigu­ing work that absorbs the older stu­dents involves read­ing, there is a nat­ural lure for the younger children.

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The process of learn­ing to read and write at The Renais­sance Inter­na­tional School comes nat­u­rally and begins with a child’s first inter­est.
Our stu­dents begin by learn­ing the pho­netic sounds of the alpha­bet, then going on to phono­grams, and then to puz­zle words. Mas­tery of these basic skills nor­mally devel­ops so smoothly that stu­dents tend to exhibit a sud­den explo­sion into read­ing that leaves our young stu­dents, not to men­tion their fam­i­lies, beam­ing with pride.

Once our young stu­dents have made their first break­throughs into read­ing, they tend to pro­ceed rapidly.
There is typ­i­cally a quick jump from read­ing and writ­ing sin­gle words to sen­tences and sto­ries. At this point, we begin a sys­tem­atic study of the Eng­lish lan­guage: vocab­u­lary, spelling rules, lin­guis­tics, and gram­mar. We begin to teach the func­tion of words to stu­dents as young as kindergärt­ners, just as they are first learn­ing how to put words together in writ­ing to express them­selves. This leads them to mas­ter these vital skills dur­ing a time in their lives when it is a delight, rather than a chore. Before long, they learn to write nat­u­rally and well.

  level of our Art pro­gram, chil­dren are intro­duced to new mate­ri­als, and begin learn­ing to work with var­i­ous mate­ri­als and textures.

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They are also intro­duced to Art Appre­ci­a­tion, via expo­sure to cre­ations of great artists and the art and beauty of nature. Some chil­dren will begin mod­el­ing ani­mal and human fig­ures using new types of clay and carv­ing tools. Older pri­mary chil­dren begin mak­ing more detailed images and may begin to cre­ate sculp­tural group/​composition, using var­i­ous tools and tech­niques. In addi­tion, older pri­mary stu­dents learn about var­i­ous gen­res of art; por­trait, land­scape, still life. They begin cre­at­ing art­work in these gen­res, as well as learn­ing how dif­fer­ent art can be archi­tec­ture, sculp­ture, design, etc. Chil­dren begin to see a con­nec­tion between real life and art­work, and to see the beauty around us and truly appre­ci­ate art. Every Pri­mary stu­dent has one to two art ses­sions per week. Lessons are given to each child indi­vid­u­ally but within a group set­ting dur­ing one of the ses­sions. Each stu­dent chooses the day and time to go to art spon­ta­neously. Younger stu­dents have a one hour ses­sion; older pri­mary stu­dents (usu­ally 4.5 years old and older) have a one and a half hour ses­sion. We con­tinue work­ing with the basic art mate­ri­als listed above. But as stu­dents get older their con­cen­tra­tion and fine motor skills improve. They begin to explore new, more chal­leng­ing art mate­ri­als and techniques.

offers a com­pre­hen­sive pro­gram that addresses the musi­cal needs of chil­dren begin­ning in early child­hood. The pro­gram is based upon the Kodály Method of teach­ing, founded in Hun­gary by Zoltán Kodály. The phi­los­o­phy behind our music pro­gram is to fos­ter the child’s edu­ca­tional expe­ri­ence through sound abil­ity, to uti­lize and con­trol the first musi­cal instru­ment known to mankind, the voice, and to develop a basis to stim­u­late and enhance learn­ing in academics.

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As the chil­dren con­tinue to develop their abil­i­ties, they advance to The Renais­sance Inter­na­tional School’s var­i­ous ensem­bles, pri­vate lessons, and sub­jects within our music pro­gram.
The cur­rent music pro­gram com­prises sev­eral facets:
• Intro­duc­tory small group lessons using the Kodály method
• Intro­duc­tory choral ensem­ble for chil­dren who have learned to repro­duce and iden­tify notes with clar­ity and pre­ci­sion
• Intro­duc­tion to per­for­mance eti­quette
• Sec­ond level choral ensem­ble for those chil­dren who are ready to sing two-​part music
• Third level choral ensem­ble for those chil­dren who are ready to sing multiple-​part music
• Intro­duc­tion to per­for­mance with non-​parent audi­ences
• Pri­vate instru­men­tal lessons includ­ing the piano and the recorder, to be fol­lowed by the flute, the vio­lin and the clas­si­cal gui­tar
• Music appre­ci­a­tion and music history.

what is tra­di­tion­ally referred to as “kinder­garten” is the last year of Pri­mary. Here is a list of our con­sid­er­a­tions regard­ing readi­ness for that last year of Primary:

2013 rotator intro to Kd v2Emo­tional and Social: hav­ing the abil­ity to work with peers for an extended amount of time i.e. abil­ity to work on a project with another child and com­plete the project.
1) hav­ing the abil­ity to plan a work period with the guid­ance of a teacher
2) hav­ing the abil­ity to sep­a­rate eas­ily from par­ents at any given time
3) hav­ing the abil­ity to speak to a teacher with­out the help of the par­ent if a prob­lem arises.
Intel­lec­tual: learn­ing the idea of using work time effec­tively to meet goals and dead­lines with ease.
Con­cen­tra­tion: hav­ing the abil­ity to con­cen­trate on any sin­gle or multiple-​step task, with­out loos­ing focus, for a 2 to 3 hour work period.
Con­sis­tence: hav­ing the abil­ity to con­sis­tently choose work that enhances his or her level.
Prob­lem Solv­ing: hav­ing the abil­ity to fol­low through with a multi-​step task inde­pen­dently and hav­ing the abil­ity to rec­og­nize when help is needed
Oral Com­pre­hen­sion: hav­ing the abil­ity to com­pre­hend, retain and fol­low through with a multiple-​step com­mand.
Read­ing: hav­ing the abil­ity to read short pho­netic books, ready to be intro­duced to phono­grams.
Writ­ing: hav­ing the abil­ity to copy a list of words or num­bers.
Math: addi­tion: 4 digit prob­lems with material.