Young Kindergarten or Transitional Kindergarten
What Is Young Kindergarten? Our Young K program is a five-day-a-week program that serves as a bridge between preschool and Kindergarten (it's neither preschool or Kindergarten). The program offers opportunities for children to explore kindergarten experiences, become more responsible for themselves, learn to advocate for themselves and gain confidence. Young K has a stronger emphasis on academics and kindergarten skills. *Our Young K program is unique for our school because unlike our other programs, there are no parent helpers in the classroom (the classroom model is not "cooperative").
At PCNS we believe that learning happens through play and active participation in meaningful experiences. When children are engaged in guided play they shape their own learning by exploring areas of interest, and new concepts and ideas. In our Young K classroom, children pursue their learning by making choices about the materials they play with and what topics the find interesting. This fosters independence and allows children to gain mastery over themselves; a key readiness skill for Kindergarten. Our teacher incorporates "academic" concepts in daily routines and differentiated play stations/centers that children find highly engaging. The program also continues to emphasize social-emotional skills that will build self confidence and positive self-image. We want children interacting and learning to cooperate with peers. We actively teach problem-solving skills and emotional literacy.
In the Young K program, children explore academic topics through play-based experiences and in a way that is personally relevant. With a maximum of 15 children in the program we will have time to get to know the kids and individualize the program to support each child's growth.
So what does "academic" mean in a Young Kindergarten classroom? This is not designed to replace Kindergarten but instead provide the more gradual step up to Kindergarten that some children need. It will give children exposure to several Kindergarten skills and topics to build background knowledge and gain confidence. Children will be given opportunities to explore new concepts without the pressure of having to master them.
Math skills may include counting, number and shape recognition, categorizing, sorting, patterning, comparing, measuring and pre-addition and subtraction. There are a variety of fun activities that our teachers provide for children to explore these concepts: cooking, board games, art projects, science experiments, music and more.
Developing literacy is a major part of our curriculum. Our teachers integrate literacy concepts into all learning experiences and provide daily opportunities to read, write and play with letters and language for real purposes. Specific skills may include building vocabulary, motivation and interest in books, letter knowledge, print awareness, phonological awareness, letter formation, and narrative skills to name a few.
Our Young Kindergartners also have the opportunity to go on some exciting field trips. Past excursions have included:
Museum of Transportation
Pittsford Highway Department
Rochester Museum and Science Center
Our field trips vary annually and the teacher may choose them based on classroom curriculum, availability and the interests of the class.