The Primary program welcomes children ages 3-6 and includes our kindergarteners. Students in this class attend school either three or five days each week, from 8:30-3:30 (the State requires kindergartners to attend five days per week.) On average, there are twenty students present with three teachers.
The morning work time starts at 8:30 and continues until about 10:45. During that time, the children are free to move about the classroom selecting work to be done at a table or on a floor mat. There is also a daily art project the children may try. The progress of each child is observed and recorded by the teachers who then plan which lessons are to be given to reinforce a concept, or move ahead to more complex ones. Teachers “invite” a child to have a lesson, usually one-on-one. Typically, the teacher will demonstrate a work, then stay with the child while she tries it. The teacher then moves away so that the child can continue with the work independently.
At the end of the work time, the children feel accomplished and satisfied. Their work was important and had meaning. They had one-on-one time with a teacher, plus plenty of time to work with friends. Because they had been able to alternate sitting at a table, curling up on the couch or on a big pillow, or stretching their legs on the floor, they are relaxed and comfortable. They come to Circle for group lessons, sharing, plus songs and movement. The rest of the day includes recess, snacks and lunch, and quiet time to nap or look through books. Before heading outside for recess and dismissal, the children tidy the classroom, making sure it is ready for them tomorrow.
The kindergartners are a part of the Primary class. Two days a week, they go with a teacher into the empty Pre-Primary classroom to work as a group. Activities vary, but each year we include: graphing, measuring, tallying, sharing Weekly Readers, digraphs, mapping, science experiments, counting money, and delving deeper into a Primary class study including one on China (grinding ink, writing a short report to present, painting Chinese characters, eating lunch at a local Chinese restaurant, etc.) The other three days, the kindergartners work on their skills within the Primary classroom.