So far on this blog we have highlighted how Preschool is the basis for a child’s academic career, as well as the developmental imperatives of first grade. Today we would like to hit on that old adage that says, “Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten.” Why is Kindergarten so important? And what can you do to ensure that your five or six year old gets the best possible experience?
One major issue parents must confront when choosing kindergarten for their child is full-day versus half-day. With a wealth of parenting advice online, it can be heard to sift through the information to find what is accurate. The National Association of School Psychologists summarizes the situation this way:
“Developmentally appropriate full-day kindergarten can offer a more relaxed atmosphere and more opportunities for child-centered, creative activities, as well as more opportunities for developing social skills. Full-day programs provide more time for field trips, activity centers, projects, and free play. Students at-risk for school problems owing to delayed development, disabilities, or limited preschool experiences, and who attend rigorous and nurturing full-day programs, are more likely to have stronger achievement in basic skill areas and generally better preparation for first grade. For most children, full-day kindergarten programs can help increase academic achievement while reducing the probability that children will be retained in the early elementary grades.”
These are the reasons Arches Academy believes in and offers full-day kindergarten. We want to provide our kindergarteners with the best possible tools for future success.
The National Education Association says, “Full-day kindergarten can increase academic achievement and preparation for later grades and offers increased social and emotional benefits. They report that five and six year olds are developmentally prepared for longer school days, and that full-day kindergarten can even be more cost-effective.” Again, these are the advantages and skill sets we seek for our five and six year olds as they move through kindergarten and prepare for first grade and beyond.
There are a few key developmental targets that child psychologists and educators use as typical milestones for five and six year olds. These milestones come in a few important categories. Physically, kindergarteners are improving their gross and fine motor skills, learning how to skip and jump and catch balls, as well as learning more accurate grips on pencils and paint brushes. Cognitively they are learning to recognize basic shapes and all the letters of the alphabet and counting accurately up to twenty. Linguistically they are learning to formulate arguments and follow multi-step directions. Their social and emotional skills are also developing as they search for approval of friends and teachers, learn to obey rules, and display silly or other attention-seeking behavior.
These are some of the average developmental markers for Kindergarteners. But Arches Academy has never let our students be limited by “average.” Many of our Kindergarteners are already strong readers (many having learned to read simple words as early as PreK). Their mathematical and other cognitive skills are also above the mark, and through programs like The Leader in Me, their social and emotional behaviors are also honed in positive ways.
It is also true that children at the kindergarten age vary quite widely in maturity. Though the above-mentioned developmental targets are the average, some children are naturally above that average, while others seem to struggle. Kindergarten seems to be when these wide differences become most apparent. This is why highly qualified faculty and small, carefully crafted student bodies are so vital. Even the best teacher can’t provide these vitally important environmental and educational conditions in a classroom that’s too large to be manageable. But a trained teacher with a manageable class size can provide targeted individualized education. This means special attention for students in areas where it’s needed, as well as a chance for each student to move ahead at their own pace, not being held to standardized boredom. This is exactly what we strive for and provide at Arches Academy.
If you are wondering if Arches Academy is right for your kindergartener, you can learn more about us at our website or call us at 801-374-5480 to schedule a tour today!