My current preschool families have received this information about our PreK class for next year. I want to offer these thoughts here and invite feedback.
We will have a (mostly…we will always invite siblings to be together which means we could have younger siblings along) PreK class on Tuesday/Thursday afternoons. The attached curriculum note is not introducing anything new to our program. I already use this exact list of skills/concepts as I work to see each PreK child as one who is about to enter a traditional classroom.
But over the years it seems harder and harder. Often at the end of the day, I feel like the PreK kids are the ones I didn’t see. I haven’t visited as much as I’d like to, I haven’t counted ALL the blocks in their tower, I haven’t entered their imaginary games, I haven’t counted past the calendar numbers, I haven’t written in shaving cream with them, I see them bored with waiting, etc.
Of course there is no guarantee that all being closer to the same age will create the opportunity to meet all needs, but it is my sole motivation to create this PreK class.
I resist the notion that “preparing them for Kindergarten” means more academic focus. In fact, I feel that the skills and concepts they will be expected to achieve in Kindergarten are often inappropriate. I don’t want to jump into this game and turn preschool into worksheets and crafts.
But I do want to more easily meet the PreK kids where they are at. I want to cut down on their wait time. I don’t want to see their glazed over expressions as they sit at Circle Time. I want them to practice problem solving and conflict resolution. I want them to engage in conversations and constructive play. I want to send them away from preschool equipped with social emotional readiness to do it all!
I want the younger preschoolers to continue to experience the ease of discovery, the joy of creating, the satisfaction of cooperative play. The beauty of a two and three year old is that their world is still so small. They see their own needs and how beautiful it is when they go after what they want and need. I want to have a space for them to grow within that.
Having said all of this, I will always be an advocate of the magic that CAN happen in multi-age classrooms. I love the beauty of seeing older and younger friends together. It really feels like a family, with tiny stair steps between them. So, when we have PreK kids in the morning classes with the younger ones, my goals remain the same.
Forgive my ramblings, ask me questions, give me your ideas, share your experiences, accept my own wonderings about the right thing to do…
and most of all, thank you.