"Last year my son transferred in the fall to the kindergarten program at Overbrook. Transferring during the year is a big deal, not easy for the new student, or the teacher and staff. However, not only did the transition to a new school and a new class and new friends go smoothly, it was a new and wonderful place for my son. He began to thrive in this program and school. Maybe it was a readiness issue. But we believe that it was more than that. We believe that it was the outstanding K program and teachers. We believe that it was the culture of this school, and the Dominican approach to educating the whole child. Are they structured and rigorous with the academic program? Yes, certainly. But are they caring about the child as a young whole person? Indeed. We have experienced the caring about the whole child and family here at Overbrook. The teachers and staff are a cut above. And the Sisters? Well, there is nothing like the Sisters and a Dominican approach to life and learning. It is something special. We think it's so special that we drive a fairly long distance to Overbrook. It's worth it."
- Michele Gautsch
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Within the kindergarten environment at Overbrook School, the whole child is educated spiritually, socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually. A positive self-image is fostered so that each child appreciates the unique person that God created.
Each child is encouraged to make choices, build responsibility, work with others cooperatively, and express ideas verbally and non-verbally. The students grow in learning to work independently, in following directions and in lengthening their attention span.
Kindergarten marks the beginning of the reading and writing program. The reading program is principally phonetic with a focus on letter and sound recognition -- the process of blending sounds into words, words into sentences, vocabulary enrichment and establishing a firm basis for future reading ability. The fundamentals of the writing process are covered. The students share experiences and stories using phonetically spelled words.
The skills developed in this area include number form, number identity, place value, measurement, estimation and reasoning. The students use manipulatives for addition and subtraction. They solve simple word problems, identify geometric shapes, and learn how to tell time, count money and recognize the components of the calendar.
An introduction to science is approached through the observation of familiar, every day things. Topics covered allow the students to identify common plants and animals; sense organs and their functions; simple topographical features (e.g. mountains, valleys, oceans and rivers); the solar system; weather and insects.
Basic knowledge of the Catholic faith is the focus of daily religion classes supplemented by twice weekly visits to the Atrium where the Montessori-based Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program is housed. Kindergartners participate in the weekly all school Mass, the annual Faith Rally, as well as impromptu visits to the devotional chapel.
The program is preparation for the study of history, geography and civics. History is introduced through a focus on important holidays and the individuals or events they celebrate. Geography lessons begin with elementary concepts of distance and direction, the globe as model of the Earth, and simple map-making exercises. Initial citizenship exercises concern the importance of school rules, the value of honesty, fair play, and hard work.
Singing hymns and songs of many genres, as well as, reading music and rhythms are only a few topics of our classes. Children learn how music relates to history, art, literature and dance. Creativity is encouraged throughout.
Students experience the joy of playing together while learning how to play according to rules and with respect for other persons. The young child continues to develop large motor skills and coordination in a friendly and encouraging environment.