Our Transitional Kindergarten class is geared toward older 4 year olds who have two years of preschool experience under their belt but don’t quite make the age cutoff for kindergarten. This class encourages children to actively explore experiment and express themselves in a variety of activities. Science, art, language activities, music, drama, math and reading readiness skills are broadened through a more in-depth exploration of themes. There are also additional opportunities for independent/group art projects, group discussions and class responsibility. Our Transitional Kindergarten class meets four mornings a week for 4 hours per session. Our teacher to student ratio is 2:16. Children must be 5 by December 31st and have attended 2 years in preschool to enroll in this class. Following is a general overview of our Transitional Kindergarten class including academic and social goals for the children.
Center Time gives the students the opportunity to work with small groups of children, under the teacher’s guidance, on specific skills. Two of the centers are teacher-directed and include fine motor practice through theme related projects. These may include art projects, letter/sound activities, number recognition/counting games, etc. One center is child-directed focusing on manipulatives and sensory development skills. Play Scapes are set up on the floor where the children socialize and learn as they play. Children are working on skills such as spatial reasoning, role-playing, taking turns, creativity and fine motor development. The children are also learning to negotiate and problem solve. They are playing with a purpose.
During this brief transition time, the class may take a quick stretch break on the playground if weather permits. Our outside time is split into two short breaks where the children work on gross motor skills, play games with peers and implement skills such as sharing, taking turns, conflict avoidance and resolution. This is a favorite time for most children.
Snack time is a social time and a favorite of most pre-K students as they discover new tastes and new friends. Children rotate snack responsibility and bring snack to share with their peers. This is a time when children practice good table manners as well as time-management, cleaning up after themselves and quietly looking at and reading books while waiting for the group to transition.
Circle time is a whole group activity where we enjoy music, experiments, demonstrations, calendar time, stories, and an opportunity to participate in whole group math or writing lessons. During this time, children are working on listening skills, raising our hands to speak, waiting our turn, not interrupting, staying on topic, listening with understanding, following directions, and contributing to group discussions.
Activities are set up each day to emphasize Kindergarten readiness skills. Children have three tables of activities to explore during this time, as well as an opportunity for sensory skill development or play scapes on the floor. Table top activities are teacher-directed and typically involve writing practice, weekly journal writing, working on number sense and math concepts, and theme related activities.
During this stretch break, the children revisit the playground, participate in whole group music or indoor games that utilizes gross motor skills. This is also a great opportunity for children to get their wiggles out before the next block of academic learning time in class.
Our day ends with a closing circle. This is a group activity where children can bring something to share from home. Sharing gives children the opportunity to practice speaking in front of the group and encourages participation by their peers through asking questions and active listening. Each day ends with a closing song after which children put on their coats and backpacks and line up at the door to go home.
Best Beginnings utilizes a thematic approach in our classrooms. A theme-based curriculum helps us tie together a day or week of learning and addresses the various learning styles of individual children by offering experiences in art, science, academics, music and literature to support the theme.
Our TK themes include:
Getting acquainted, storybook characters, apples, fall, scarecrows, pumpkins, bats, spiders, Halloween, pets, veterans and heroes, early American living, Thanksgiving, Holiday traditions around the world, winter animals, Dr. Seuss, drama, winter weather, dental care, feelings and emotions, Valentine's and St.Patrick's Day, money, brain power, bugs, plants, farm, animals, ocean life, baseball and bubbles.