Junior Kindergarten: Age 4 years old by 9/1 of the school year
The vast majority of our four-year-olds have had previous experience in a preschool program, and they are ready and eager to begin their JK adventure. At the beginning of the school year, their excitement is evident as they confidently enter the hallways, find their coat hooks, and anticipate their teachers’ direction and guidance. What amazing growth has occurred since their initial preschool days! Our JK teachers immediately build upon the four-year-olds’ knowledge and abilities.
These children begin their day on the playground, where their exuberance is obvious from the moment they arrive. Most of them happily greet their teachers and classmates and immediately get to “work” by choosing a favorite area in which to play. Whether they are climbing on the pirate ship, playing basketball, digging a huge hole in the sand or chasing a soccer ball on the hill, they are honing their gross motor skills. Their social skills are increasingly developing as well, as they seek out their friends for elaborate role-playing scenarios.
After at least forty-five minutes outdoors, the children come inside, wash their hands, and
prepare for rugtime. The teachers typically have a simple “question of the day” written on a whiteboard and each child places his/her name card under the appropriate response. Further activities included during this time are designed to help the children develop those pre-academic math and literacy skills that will prepare them for kindergarten. Age-appropriate, meaningful games that encourage listening and attentiveness are also an important focus of rugtime, and our music teacher visits the classroom on a weekly basis to further enhance those abilities.
Following rugtime, the children are allowed to choose activities during free play. Fine motor skills such as cutting and using writing utensils are emphasized in the art activities as well as at the writing table. Elaborate block structures incorporate both gross and fine-motor skills, and creativity is evident in the dramatic play area. A snack area is also popular, and self-help skills are encouraged often. Taking turns, understanding rules and guidelines, and respecting one another are all important aspects of the JK experience. Dramatic growth and development in the cognitive, physical, emotional and social areas are present everywhere in the classroom. These children will be well-prepared for kindergarten!