Kindergarten Team

Nottingham kindergarten teachers design intriguing learning activities to encourage children to make new discoveries.

kindergartener writing

Incorporating LA into math with names.

Our classrooms are active places where instruction centers on thematic units that capitalize on children’s natural interests in seasonal and weather changes. As the school year begins, instruction focuses on being in a wonderful new school and cooperating with new friends in work and play. Harvest themes in the fall introduce fall changes in plants and animals and learning about farms. Winter themes explore space concepts and the relationship between the sun, earth, moon, and planets. Falling snow invites investigation of the water cycle. Spring brings an examination of wheels, transportation, and simple machines. We plant spring gardens and explore animal life cycles; children watch with fascination as tadpoles slowly turn into frogs. As summer nears, children begin to plan vacations, learn about the beach, and examine the properties of water. We then prepare to end our wonderful year together and to get ready for a brand new start when school begins once again.

The kindergarten program at Nottingham is based on the ABC (Arlington Balanced Curriculum) program written by Arlington early childhood professionals several years ago. It incorporates the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) and the Arlington Public Schools (APS) Elementary Program of Studies.

  • The emphasis of our program is on balance: combining meaningful, real-life experiences, both inside and outside the classroom and school environment.
  • The children learn to apply new skills and concepts through a variety of thematic units that provide opportunities for inquiry, activity, thoughtfulness and reflection, experimentation, investigation, imagination, model-building, and reasoning.
  • Balance in our program involves all aspects of child development: social interactions, emotional growth, physical movement, and cognitive ability.
  • The number of Nottingham kindergartners who attended preschool is indeed increasing, yet all kindergartners continue to need developmentally appropriate learning experiences that are student-centered and focused on the process of doing rather than simply on the final product.
  • Balance enables Nottingham Kindergarten teachers the ability to differentiate instruction in order to meet the needs of each individual student.

This program is based on goals that develop the emotional, social, cognitive, and physical growth for each child. We provide a safe and secure learning environment where children work both independently and cooperatively to enhance their curiosity through experimentation and discovery. We build a community of happy learners and inspire an enthusiasm for the joy of learning!

Activities move during the year from the concrete to the more abstract, and Nottingham Kindergarten teachers utilize a variety of instructional models: small teacher-led groups, one-on-one assistance, whole class introductions or review, and small groups of children working cooperatively with one another.

At Nottingham, students in kindergarten and first grade have shared personalized learning Apple iPads assigned to their classrooms. Through this integration, and in conjunction with staff training as part of the APS Personalized Learning Program, there are many student benefits of personalized learning, such as:

– Students are challenged to think critically and use higher order level skills.
– Students are more engaged in learning when they are given more opportunities to take control of their learning.
– Teachers are able to offer immediate feedback so that students can make adjustments to their thinking and improve their work.
– Students are exploring more creative ways to solve problems, express their ideas, generate new learning and develop skills to work as part of a team in the classroom and virtually.

Grade K Teachers

Ms. Biechman
X (Twitter): @SeaTurtleTimes

Hello Nottingham Families! My name is Katie Biechman. I’ve taught Kindergarten at Nottingham since 2009. I was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Alexandria, Virginia. I attended Christopher Newport University, where I earned my undergraduate degree. I then earned a Masters degree in Elementary Education from George Washington University. I live in Falls Church with my husband and our dog, Grover. I enjoy going to the beach, playing tennis, and cheering-on Yorktown football. I am looking forward to another great year with the Sea Turtles!

Ms. Patricia Duran, Kindergarten Assistant,

Ms. Laura Moore
X (Twitter): @MooreUKnow

Hello Mountain Goats! My name is Laura Moore. I have been in APS since 2011, joining Nottingham during the 13-14 school year. I am originally from Colorado, where I got my Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Master of Arts in Teaching: Curriculum Studies at the University of Northern Colorado. I live in Arlington with my husband and daughter. I enjoy exploring the region with my family, doing art projects, traveling, and going to baseball games. I am looking forward to a great year with the Mountain Goats.

Mrs. McGuire, Kindergarten Assistant,

Ms. Brooke Gavin

Brooke Gavin

Hey, Goldfish! My name is Brooke Gavin and this is my first year at Nottingham Elementary! I have taught Kindergarten for the past 4 years in Tennessee, and am excited to start my teaching career in Virginia. I attended Virginia Tech for college and graduated in 2019 with my undergraduate degree in Human Development. When I moved to Tennessee, I attended Lipscomb University where I received Masters of Education and graduated in 2021. I am thrilled to be a Knight (and a Goldfish, of course) and I am looking forward to a great year!

Mr. Sheffey, Kindergarten Assistant,

Ms. Castillo

Hi everyone! My name is Jessica Castillo and this is my 4th year working at Nottingham. I am starting my second year as a Special Education Teacher this year. I grew up in Richmond, VA, but moved to Arlington in 2020. My husband and I are expecting our first child this year, we are so excited! I graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. I am currently working on a Masters of Teaching degree in Special Education through UVA. Some activities I enjoy are tending to my plants, cross stitching, and puzzles.