The First School transitional kindergarten is a unique program, intentionally built to provide life-expanding experiences - intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically - before the rigors and more narrow academic focus of Elementary School.
* Social-Emotional Preparatory: Current research shows that well-developed social skills are a key predictor of success in Kindergarten and beyond. Teachers are highly attentive to social emotional issues in each child, and work closely with them to fine tune their challenging areas. The First School transitional kindergarten campus experience is designed to provide gentle and incremental integration into a larger social environment, gently preparing them for the much bigger campuses and broader peer group that they will face in Kindergarten.
* Club Time! is an exciting and unique feature of the First School curriculum, designed allow the children to delve deeply into a broad range of ideas and skills. Children discuss interests with their teachers and then vote on club topics. They then ‘sign up’ to the club they would like to join. The smaller breakout-groups work collaboratively together, immersed for several weeks at a time on these projects. The learning is deep, meaningful, unforgettable. Children are encouraged to branch out and try subjects they might not otherwise think are their ‘thing’. ‘Club time’ is hands on learning at it’s best. It teaches how to be a productive member of a group, and develops critical thinking – skills research is showing will be pivotal to success in the 21st Century. Some Examples of Clubs from the past: Movie making, Deserts around the world, Caves, Creating Art with Nature, Sewing, Snakes and Reptiles, Science, Jazz
* Other Learning: In addition to club time there is an array of other learning experiences that add to the well-rounded education of The First School transitional kindergarten. Academic skills such as pre-literacy and math are developed using manipulatives, music, games, the practice of journaling, a book listening center and other non-traditional means of building a deep connection to the material. At the science center, teachers guide children through a hands-on introduction to the scientific method. Observations of nature and the natural world, art, and daily sports and games are also key aspects of the curriculum. Other activities and events which expand their understanding of the world and themselves include daily ‘family meal’ snack time, a tea party to teach table manners, field trip to farmers market, cooking projects and cultural events such as Black History Month, Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras. And top of everything else there is a lot of play, laughter and friendship.