Junior kindergarten is a blend of cognitive and creative activities designed to develop school readiness skills and to introduce concepts that will continue throughout the Lower School. The junior kindergarten program is offered for advanced four year-olds and young five year-olds who are not yet ready to enter a full kindergarten program but who test at a developmentally appropriate age.
Literacy, mathematics, science, social studies, art, and music are integrated into thematic units of instruction. Physical education class and daily recess are also an integral part of the junior kindergarten day. Daily literature experiences create an avenue for dramatic play, verbal expression, and story sequencing. With the inclusion of phonics and phonemic awareness activities, emphasis is placed on sound/letter recognition and the structure of words. Language and literacy are fostered through daily exposure to quality children’s literature, and students practice communicating orally, pictorially, and eventually in writing.
The goal of the junior kindergarten mathematics program is to offer activities and problem-solving situations that build on and enhance students’ math skills and knowledge. The Everyday Mathematics program includes a range of activities that expand children’s math experiences and ideas. Some of the manipulative-based lessons include shape recognition, measuring, graphing, patterning, classifying, estimating, and counting.
Communication with one another, as well as social cooperation and peer interaction, are expectations of the program. Children learn to problem-solve and compromise. Teachers also make daily use of “free choice time,” allowing children to learn to make choices while exploring their individual interests and talents.
Meeting each student’s individual needs is the basis of the junior kindergarten program. This is achieved through large group, small group, and one-on-one interaction to ensure individualized instruction. Instruction occurs on a continuum, and as the individual student matures in his or her development, previously learned skills and concepts are reviewed while more sophisticated elements are introduced.