The Croft School’s K1 (Pre-K) program aligns philosophically with the older grade levels of our school. It also recognizes the unique developmental needs of 4- and 5-year old children, and provides them with a transitional year. During the K1 (Pre-K) year, students will build stamina and continually demonstrate higher levels of engagement with increasingly demanding learning tasks, in a supportive environment. Our K1 (Pre-K) program is a reflection of ideas and ideals written about in The Most Important Year: Pre-Kindergarten and the Future of our Children.

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STUDENTS LEARN THROUGH EXPLORATION, PLAY, AND PROBLEM-SOLVING.

One of the hallmarks of a successful K1 program is centers-based learning.  During centers, students explore, use language in authentic ways, build friendships, and make connections to and among topics.  Children also encounter problems that they need to solve, whether they are intrapersonal (grappling with “I don’t know how”), interpersonal (“she took the car from me”), or content-based (“my tower keeps falling over” or “how do I spell ‘dog’?”).  Children learn through these authentic experiences, with guidance as necessary. A teacher isn’t a “sage on the stage” but rather guides students along a line of inquiry.  For example, a student who encounters a wobbly structure at blocks might be encouraged to look at another child’s structure to see what’s different about a friend’s structure (guiding the child to, for example, realize that a bigger base increases stability), all the while building curiosity, language skills, and self-efficacy.  Students will often be asked to share their learnings during debriefs.

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STUDENTS WILL HAVE AUTHENTIC OPPORTUNITIES TO PRACTICE SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL SKILLS.

Children ages four and five are busy!  They are naturally exposed to situations where they can practice, with increasing independence over time, skills such as expressing needs, wants, and feelings; creating plans for play and assigning roles; taking turns and sharing; and solving problems together.  Teachers may also ask students to share how they worked through a problem with the class, allowing all students to learn through and build upon real scenarios.

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STUDENTS WILL BUILD ACADEMIC STAMINA AND BUILD UP TO PREVIEWING THE K2 (KINDERGARTEN) CURRICULUM.

Children in K1 (Pre-K) often come from a variety of backgrounds.  Some have preschool experiences, some have been in a daycare setting, and for some, this may be their first experience away from home.  The K1 (Pre-K) program is designed to meet children where they are and provide for a range of activities throughout the year, culminating in a “rising K2 (Kindergarten)” mentality toward the end of the year, where students are given exposure to the curriculum and demands of the K2 (Kindergarten) classroom.  Specifically, at the end of the year, students will be exposed to mini-versions of Reading and Writing Workshop. Additionally, throughout the year, children will be exposed to all of the elements of balanced literacy.

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The following program components are also included within the K1 (Pre-K) experience:

  • Outdoor Play and Movement. Our K1 (Pre-K) program provides for ample time for twice-daily outdoor play and, when weather requires, indoor movement-oriented play.

  • Art, Music, and Athletics. During each week, students will take two music classes, two art classes, and two movement classes. In addition, students may opt into art, music, and sports-based enrichment activities during our extended day programming.

  • Quiet Time. We build in a 60-minute rest and quiet time for all students each day.

  • Healthy Snack and Lunch. We provide a healthy snack each day during the mid-morning. Students may either bring their own lunch from home or purchase lunch. Our healthy lunch choices are provided by local restaurants (a different restaurant each day of the week).

  • Flexible Arrival Time. Families may drop off students anytime between 7:30am and 8:30am. We offer a variety of engaging arrival activities before our program begins at 8:30am.

  • Extended Day. For an additional fee, families may choose for their child to stay at our school as late as 5:30pm daily. After a snack is provided at 3:00pm, students engage in an extended day enrichment activity from 3:15-4:15pm. Between 4:15pm and 5:30pm, students engage in activities and play of their choice until they are picked up to go home.