Welcome to kindergarten! This is a special time when children are introduced to new learning experiences, friendships and environments. We are excited to have your child start their educational journey here in District 401.
Kindergarten is open to all Elmwood Park children who will be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1 of the school year in which they will be entering the program.
This page will answer questions regarding kindergarten curriculum, day-to-day schedules, student expectations and how to best prepare your child for the transition to kindergarten!
We look forward to getting to know your child and watching them learn and grow. Welcome!
Enrolling in Kindergarten for 2022-23
Full-Day Kindergarten in District 401
Students attend John Mills for kindergarten if they live north of the railroad tracks. They attend Elmwood if they live south of the tracks. (Please note that all District 401 pre-kindergarten students attend John Mills.) For contact information, see directly below.
District 401’s kindergarten program is a full-day model. However, parents always have the right to request a half-day option for their child.
In addition, we provide a one-way (Spanish) dual-language immersion program at John Mills, and we offer special education services for kindergarten students at both schools.
► FULL-DAY KINDERGARTEN
Full-day students receive instruction in the core curriculum, as well as daily opportunities to engage in purposeful play and participating in specials such as art, music, physical education, technology and enrichment.
► HALF-DAY KINDERGARTEN
Students receive literacy and math instruction in the morning before they are picked up at lunch time. Families interested in half-day kindergarten should speak with their building administrator to request the half-day option.
► ONE-WAY (SPANISH) DUAL LANGUAGE
District 401 offers a one-way (Spanish) dual-language immersion program in which students who are native Spanish speakers qualify for the (Spanish) bilingual program. Students in kindergarten receive 50 percent of their instruction in Spanish and 50 percent of their instruction in English by a certified instructor.
► SPECIAL EDUCATION
District 401 provides a full range of special education and related services, which are determined by a student's individualized education plan (IEP). For students eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), we follow procedures for identification, evaluation, placement and delivery of services to children with disabilities provided in the ISBE Special Education rules. For more information about the services we offer, contact our PK-5 Special Education Coordinator at 708-583-5852.
Kindergarten Core Curriculum & Specials
District 401’s core curriculum is aligned to Common Core State Standards and Illinois Learning Standards. For more information about the materials used for kindergarten instruction, please see the Curriculum & Instruction main page of our District website.
English language arts (ELA), mathematics, science, social studies and social-emotional learning (SEL) make up our core curriculum, along with time for purposeful play and movement. This curriculum is supplemented by instruction in "specials" — that is, weekly classes in art, music, enrichment, technology and physical education.
To learn more about our core curriculum and specials, please click any of the following rows:
Literacy includes reading, writing, speaking and listening.
Our kindergarten literacy curriculum develops foundational skills and competencies, enabling our students to:
- Demonstrate phonemic awareness.
- Recognize and name capital and lower-case letters.
- Use knowledge of letter sounds to decode words and read kindergarten sight words.
- Demonstrate comprehension of stories and informational texts; ask/answer questions about key details from a text; compare/contrast adventures and experiences of characters in a text.
- Read and understand grade-level text with independence.
- Apply sound-letter knowledge in written work and begin to understand the writing process.
- Write using illustrations, including writing text that accompanies a related picture and self-generated writing.
- Participate in collaborative conversations with peers and adults.
Our kindergarten math curriculum focuses on the foundational skills and essential concepts that enable our students to:
- Know number names and the count sequence.
- Count to tell the number of objects.
- Compare numbers.
- Understand addition as putting together and adding to, and understand subtraction as taking apart and taking from.
- Work with numbers 11-19 to gain foundations for place value.
- Describe and compare measurable attributes.
- Classify objects and count the number of objects in categories.
- Identify and describe shapes.
- Analyze, compare, create and compose shapes.
- Developmentally appropriate understanding of the eight Standards for Mathematical Practice.
Our kindergarten science curriculum focuses on the foundational skills and essential concepts that enable our students to:
- Compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.
- Analyze data to determine if a design solution works to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull.
- Make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth's surface.
- Use tools and materials to design and build a structure that will reduce the warming effect of sunlight on an area.
- Use observations to describe what plants and animals need to survive.
- Share observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.
- Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals and the places they live.
- Ask questions, make observations and gather information to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
Our kindergarten social studies curriculum focuses on the foundational skills and essential concepts that enable our students to:
- Create questions and explore facts.
- Gather information with guidance.
- Evaluate a source by distinguishing between fact and opinion.
- Ask and answer questions about arguments and explanations.
- Explain how weather, climate and other environmental characteristics affect people’s lives.
- Compare life in the past with life today.
- Explain the significance of our national holidays.
Our kindergarten social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum focuses on the foundational skills and essential competencies that enable our students to:
- Develop social-emotional life skills such as listening, focusing attention, following directions and identifying emotions.
- Collaboratively work and play with peers in activities that require sharing, taking turns and cooperation.
Our kindergarten health curriculum focuses on the foundational skills and essential competencies that enable our students to:
- Identify and employ methods of health promotion and illness prevention (e.g., hand washing, brushing/flossing teeth, cleanliness).
- Demonstrate and employ safety methods to reduce risks (e.g. traffic, strangers).
Our kindergarten art curriculum focuses on the foundational skills and essential competencies that enable our students to:
- Engage in exploration and imaginative play with materials.
- Engage collaboratively in creative art making in response to an artistic problem.
- Through experimentation, build skills in various media and approaches to art making.
- Identify safe and nontoxic art materials, tools, and equipment.
- Create art that represents natural and constructed environments.
- Explain the process of making art while creating.
- List details and identify subject matter of works of art.
- Create art that tells a story about a life experience.
Enrichment class exposes all kindergarten students to in-depth learning experiences from the following curricula:
- ReadyGEN curriculum for English language arts (ELA)
- Go Math! curriculum for mathematics
- STEMscopes curriculum for science
Kindergarten is the first of three consecutive grade levels in which all District 401 students are provided enrichment instruction. All students in grades K-2 receive weekly enriched lessons, which are taught by the District's elementary school enrichment teachers.
Our kindergarten music curriculum focuses on the foundational skills and essential competencies that enable our students to:
- Create musical ideas for a specific purpose.
- Demonstrate and choose favorite musical ideas.
- Apply personal, peer or teacher feedback in refining musical ideas and performances.
- Demonstrate a final version of personal musical ideas to peers.
- Explore and demonstrate awareness of musical contrasts in a variety of music selected for performance.
- Demonstrate awareness of expressive qualities that support the performers' expressive intent.
- Perform music with expression and appropriately for the audience.
Our kindergarten physical education curriculum focuses on the foundational skills and essential competencies that enable our students to:
- Demonstrate control when performing fundamental locomotor, non-locomotor and manipulative skills.
- Participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity while performing basic movement patterns.
- Understand spatial awareness and relationships to objects and people.
- Understand how to execute basic movement patterns.
- Demonstrate safe movement in physical activities.
- Follow directions and procedures while participating in physical activities.
- Work independently on tasks for short periods of time.
- Work cooperatively with another to accomplish an assigned task.
Our kindergarten technology curriculum focuses on the foundational skills and essential competencies that enable our students to:
- Recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.
- Communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.
A Typical Day in Kindergarten
A possible schedule for your kindergartener will include a day filled with academic and social exploration:
- Students take part in learning activities focused on reading, writing, speaking and listening, math, science and social studies.
- Students participate in a daily special. We offer the following specials: music, art, physical education, technology and enrichment.
- Students also have a daily recess before or after lunch.
We Use SeeSaw!
Our kindergarten teachers use the SeeSaw app for digital tasks, learning centers and communication with families.
Information on how to access your child’s SeeSaw account and classroom will be sent home by your child's teacher.
Tips to Prepare Your Child for School
- Read one of our social stories and get to know your child’s school:
- Speak positively about school so your child is excited about starting kindergarten and learning new things.
- Help your child be more independent with meals, using the bathroom, zipping jackets and putting on shoes.
- Practice basic numbers and letters with your child and how to write their first name.
- Encourage your child to express wants or needs, to be a good listener and friend.
- Introduce and review school-day routines so your child is familiar with the structure of school days.
- Make home a place for learning. Designate a spot where you can do school activities with your child after school on a regular basis.
For More Information
Have a question? See our Frequently Asked Questions document, which can be found here:
To learn more about the school your child will be attending, please see the contact information located above near the top of this page.
Again, welcome to kindergarten!