The early years are more critical than educators ever realized before, with reading skills set on their path by age 3. The Children’s Reading Foundation brought this to the fore in recent years. Thus, we offer not only kindergarten but also early kindergarten. The latter class is suited to students with skills such as early reading, of a nominal age of 4 years at the beginning of the academic year, though we have no firm age cutoffs in any of our grades. EK students participate in classes with the kindergarten students in the morning, departing at noon – either 11:45 when classes end or 12:30 when recess and lunch end.
Teacher Arielle Lane brings with her her experience in the Montessori method of learning, abetted by a degree in Wildlife Science and skills in American Sign Language and in gardening. Her classroom is replete with engaging materials, from posters to books to educational games and more. Students are immersed in a program covering:
- English, including phonics, spelling, reading, and reading comprehension. Arielle reads to students; several students read to the other students.
- Handwriting – augmenting their language skills, students learn handwriting, in the D’Nealian method.
- Spanish – Arielle introduces elements of Spanish, from vocabulary to early grammar. Students read, act, and listen to stories in Spanish.
- Chinese – kindergarteners go to class with acclaimed teacher Mei Dai, in the purple class for first-time learners of Mandarin.
- Mathematics – students work on fundamental skills in number recognition and arithmetic operations, both written and oral. They use many manipulatives as well as the Singapore math books.
- Our world, a melange of science and social studies. Arielle presents topics in an order than keeps student interested, moving, for example, from the geology and geography of continents and oceans to astronomy – the planets by name, order, and orbital period; stars from birth to death; constellations – to how plants develop and grow
- Music, learning about musical instruments of the world, international songs, tones (arranging tonal bells and matching their voices to bells), and dance. Videos supplement classroom resources.
- Art – students gain an eye for color, manual skills in construction, and joy in art through, frequently drawing and making 3-D constructions.
- Physical education – play in the courtyard encompasses running, climbing, and ball games
- Tennis – teacher Vince Gutschick engages the class in the basics of ground strokes and bounce serves, using mobility exercises to improve hand-eye coordination