Boy works in the glen


Growing Lifelong Learners Since 1972

Nest Program (Ages 5–7)

Our mixed-age kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms are called the Nest.

We have separated these disciplines for your understanding, but within the classroom curriculum, they are intricately entwined. See the curriculum guide (.pdf) for more information.


We use a balanced approach to literacy development and use individualized and small group instruction to teach

  • Elements of a story
  • Phonics
  • Reading strategies
  • Comprehension
  • Literature genres and styles, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and folktales from a range of cultural perspectives


We emphasize writing as a means of communication with a program that includes

  • Individualized expectations for each student
  • Content, creative, and reflective writing
  • A developmentally appropriate process moving from sound spelling to conventional spelling
  • Beginning punctuation
  • Authoring and illustrating books
  • Handwriting Without Tears curriculum


We use Cognitively Guided Instruction, Investigations, and thematic math to teach

  • Counting and 1-1 correspondence
  • Number recognition and writing
  • Place value
  • Story problems that incorporate addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and pre-algebra skills
  • Number facts and combinations
  • Different strands: numbers and operations, geometry, data, patterns
  • Development and communication of strategies

Social Studies

We explore the world we live in. Through literature, discussions, and problem-solving activities students learn to

  • Develop a sense of identity, family, and community
  • Appreciate diversity
  • Respect differences
  • Examine world cultures
  • Participate in service learning projects


We investigate the world around us through many different scientific lenses as students:

  • Examine the disciplines of life science, chemistry, physical science, and environmental science
  • Use thematic units to practice the scientific process:
    • Ask questions
    • Develop hypotheses
    • Test
    • Observe
    • Draw conclusions
  • Develop an appreciation for the natural world

All-School Classes

All-school classes emphasize a particular curricular area. When possible, activities are related to themes and projects in the level classrooms.


We include library time in our programming to complement our units of study and enrich our literary program by

  • Learning to navigate the library "neighborhoods" with ease, finding and borrowing a variety of books each week
  • Having a voice in the selection of new books purchased for the Wingra Library via regular "Lunch in the Library" sessions
  • Spending self-directed time in the library


We have the following goals for Nest students in our Spanish program:

  • Become comfortable with the Spanish language.
  • Learn songs in Spanish.
  • Play games to learn basic Spanish vocabulary.
  • Learn numbers, colors, parts of the calendar and weather vocabulary in Spanish.

Physical Education

Our physical education program for Nest students includes the following:

  • Build gross motor skills such as jumping, skipping, throwing, balancing, and spatial awareness.
  • Focus on lifelong activities rather than competitive sports.
  • Focus on play and games for everyday life.
  • Learn strategies for resolving conflict during games.


We value the arts at Wingra and know how important they are to providing a well-rounded education for children of all ages.


Our visual art program includes the following:

  • Introduction of art elements—line, shape, color, texture, space
  • Focus on experimentation and exploration of media
  • Guided projects as well as open art studio time working in groups or on self-initiated projects
  • Instruction in a range of techniques


Our music program includes the following:

  • Practice listening skills, pitch control, and community-building through group singing and playing
  • Create music through controlling tempo, dynamics, and pitch timbre as they study the properties of sound
  • Develop systems for communicating musical ideas by developing invented notation

Recent Thematic Units

We tie as much learning as possible into our two-to-three-week long thematic units. Here are some recent Nest units:

  • Authors and Illustrators
  • Bountiful Harvest
  • Celebration of Light
  • Entre Amigos
  • Incredible Insects
  • Interest and Activity Projects (IAP’s)
  • Magical Creatures
  • Mother Goose on the Loose
  • Outdoor Adventures
  • Rain Forest Rendezvous
  • Spectacular Space


The Nest has several annual traditions that help create a close community:

  • Visiting the pumpkin patch every fall
  • Camping Day
  • Celebrating 100 days of school

Banner photo by Marieka Greene