Language Arts:

At Karen’s Kiddos we emphasize one letter each week starting with the single sound consonants. We work on recognition of the letter and the sound that letter makes. Because these materials are developmental (one must learn how to do task 1 before they can successfully move on to task 2) we keep records of the child’s progress so that we always know where that child stopped on the previous session. Thus, they are not trying to do a task that is too difficult, leading to frustration.

When an individual child knows all of the single sound consonants and has at least a partial knowledge of the other letters we start them on a pre reading program. This consists of “word families”, where the ending of each word is the same. Only the beginning consonant or consonant blend changes. Using word families reinforces rhyming and, with individual help and guidance from the teacher, helps the child to learn how the separate letter sounds are connected to form complete words. Once this process comes easily for a child they begin reading books. At this point the child receives a book to color and read daily to his/her teacher. When the child can read that book with confidence he/she takes it home and gets a new book the following week. Most children who have advanced to this level are able to read their book with ease in one week, especially if they attend school at least three days per week.

Most, but not all, are reading by the time they go to kindergarten. If a child is not interested in or ready for reading there is no pressure to do so. The nice thing about a multi age grouping is that their level of participation is not determined by age but by interest and readiness. Interestingly, we have found that most of our children are indeed interested. Perhaps that is because we incorporate fun activities in the curriculum and the children can get as much or as little individual help as they want or need.


Though we do teach recognition of numerals and counting, primarily through the daily calendar activities, the majority of our math approach is one of using manipulates and becoming familiar with spacial relationships. Through the use of Tangrams, pattern blocks, and Cuisenaire Rods children learn about length, size, shape, and how they all fit together. Cuisenaire Rods helps us teach “math language” (plus, minus, equals, etc.), without using numerals, until the child understands the concepts of addition and subtraction. Tangrams and Pattern Blocks help teach spatial relationships, the basis of math. The use of manipulative materials also allows the child to use his/her kinesthetic skills to unravel the often complex concepts of math and develop a strong foundation for further understanding. The children really enjoy using these math tools and often ask for them.


We use the exploration approach to science. In addition to reading science related materials the children have fun with bugs, plants, light refraction, learning about the solar system and dinosaurs, and doing experiments. They especially love creating a volcano, using baking soda and vinegar, and are always thrilled when the volcano “erupts”.