In the world of preschool and early childhood education, the year before kindergarten is what we have been building up to in our infant, toddler, and preschool classrooms. In the school-aged education world, the year before kindergarten is the year that will set them up for success in their academic future!
So what do we do that helps prepare our K-Prep students for kindergarten at Yellow Brick Road? First and foremost, we get to know our students. With the small classroom ratios in our private centers, we get to know the developmental goals, routines, and personalities of our students quickly!
We base our curriculum off of their interests to keep them engaged and then we make everyday fun through our play-based curriculum. You may think, “Well, how is playing all day helping my child learn?”. Great question!! Did you know that there are multiple state standards in Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska revolving around social skills needed before kindergarten? We teach those organically through the structure of our classrooms and curriculum! Our teachers plan their lessons and, they are lessons that promote academic and social development, but our students feel like they are playing games all day while they are learning!
Speaking of structure, we keep our students on a routine. For them, every day looks relatively the same with different activities, topics, games, stories, and conversations! In kindergarten, there is an expectation to follow the daily structure every day, and we want our students to be used to that expectation. Another expectation, of course, is to understand how to move between large-group and small-group activities. Our days are full of stations with small groups paired with large-group activities like our morning meetings and gross-motor development time. The way that we structure our day reflects a typical day in kindergarten but with our age-appropriate curriculum.
We have lists of state standards from all of the states that we are currently in. We use those lists, and other lists like it, from our curriculum tool to ensure that the year before kindergarten is spent preparing our K-Prep kiddos for true academic success!
Some studies show that having children do work that feels like schoolwork in their early childhood education leads to early burnout once they are in elementary school. Our whole goal behind our play and interest-based curriculum is not only to teach children the skills they need before they graduate but also to teach them how to love learning! We want them to feel confident, ready, and excited, both socially and academically, when they graduate from Yellow Brick Road!!