For many of our Kindergarten students, this year is the first time they will be spending a full day at school. As such, teachers are intentional about designing the daily schedule to include not only the academics but also breaks and quiet rest times, snacks, and outdoor play. Five-year-olds need time to explore the “real world” in the classroom and love to role-play, dress-up and play with puppets. The dramatic play centers in our Kindergarten classrooms are transformed throughout the school year to reinforce learning.
Five-year-olds benefit from learning that is both structured and exploratory. They seek permission from adults to make transitions and need a clear and predictable schedule. For Morning Meeting or a math mini-lesson, students may be in a large group. For reading or math groups they may participate in smaller groups, and in learning centers they may work with one or two other children, or even individually. Teachers are careful to guide students to be successful in a variety of groups and with different types of learning experiences.
In Kindergarten, students are guided in the process of fair and responsible decision-making and begin to see the importance of rules for physical safety and the emotional well-being of everyone in the community. By participating in the democratic process of establishing class rules and procedures and taking on the responsibility for completing class jobs, students gain the knowledge and tools necessary to become active and able citizens in their own communities.