Kindergarten & First Grade

Aurora’s K/1 classroom has a full time Lead Teacher and Teaching Assistant.


Andie DiBiase

Lead Teacher


Cheaunie Sparks

Teaching Assistant


Aurora kindergarteners have the benefit of having older peers to help guide them, and Aurora first-graders gain confidence mentoring their younger peers.

Our social-emotional learning program, Open Circle, emphasizes skills like self-management, strengthening relationships, and sorting/solving problems. In morning meetings, students engage in greetings, games, and songs; talk about their experiences and feelings; and learn ways to resolve conflicts.

To make sure that lessons aren’t repeated and that certain topics are taught to specific learning levels, our curriculum runs on a two-year cycle.

Social Studies Units of study:
  • What is family?
  • What is my identity?
  • Lake Temescal
Related field trips:
  • K/1 Field Day at Lake Temescal
  • Joaquin Miller Park
  • All-School Field Day at Lake Temescal
Units of study:
  • What is community?
  • Aurora School
Related field trips:
  • Lake Temescal Park
  • Rockridge Public Library
  • Community Garden
  • Holy Names High School
  • Phonics activities (Teacher’s College Phonics Units & Fundations): letter sounds, blends, digraphs, short and long vowels, word families, and spelling patterns
  • Fluency development
  • Guided Reading group (Teacher’s College) strategies: directionality, one to one matching, initial sound
  • Partner reading
  • Poems, Rhymes, and songs
  • Comprehension strategies: making predictions, making connections, visualizing, and retelling
  • Read alouds
  • Self-selected literature
  • Just right book bags
  • Trick (Fundations) word study
  • Writing Workshop units :
    • Launching Workshop/Narrative Writing
    • Information Writing
    • Opinion Writing
    • Fiction Writing

  • Letter writing
  • Class books (often aligned with social studies topics)
  • Handwriting instruction
  • Writing Workshop units
    • Small Moments / Narrative Writing
    • Nonfiction Books / Information Writing
  • Letter writing
  • Class books (often social studies based)
  • Handwriting instruction.
Mathematics Math is taught by grade level.
Kindergarten units:
  • Numbers to five and ten
  • Numbers to ten
  • Bikes & bugs: double, add and subtract
  • Paths to adding, subtracting and measuring
  • Two-dimensional geometry
  • Three-dimensional shapes & numbers beyond ten
  • Place value
  • Computing and measuring with frogs and bugs
First grade units:
  • Numbers all around us
  • Developing strategies with dice and dominoes
  • Adding, subtracting, counting and comparing
  • Leapfrogs on the number line
  • Geometry
  • Figure the facts with penguins
  • One hundred and beyond
  • Changes, changes
Science Essential questions:
  • What do we notice about trees?
  • What do animals need to live and grow?
  • Where is air and what can it do?
  • When you look up at the sky, what do you see, and how does it change?
  • How do we observe and describe the wind?
  • How do daylight and weather change through the seasons?
Units of study:
  • Trees & Weather
  • Animals 2-by-2
  • Air & Weather
Possible field trips:
  • Joaquin Miller Park
  • Berkeley Botanical Garden
  • Tilden Naturalist Program
Essential questions:
  • What in the world is made of wood, paper, and fabric? What properties make these materials useful?
  • How can we use materials in engineering structures?
  • How can we change the motion of an object?
  • What is sound and how can we change the properties of sound?
  • What is shadow?
  • How does light travel and change direction?
  • How do animals (including humans) use light?
Units of study:
  • Materials & Motion
  • Sound & Light
Possible field trips:
  • Exploratorium
  • Lake Temescal Park
Social-Emotional Learning Elements of Open Circle:
  • Managing ourselves
  • Strengthening relationships
  • How to sort problems
  • Problem solving
Other elements of the K/1 SEL curriculum include:
  • Morning Meeting (Responsive Classroom): class promise, greetings, games, songs
  • Restorative Justice
  • All-School Community Creators
  • Aurora Active Ally Week
Rolling admissions are open for the 2024-25 school year! Learn More
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