Thanks to Chelsea Dizon for consulting on this post. Chelsea taught for 6 years in PreK, K, & 2nd Grade where she saw a variety of learning types and styles. She noticed that in Kindergarten, those who proved to be the leaders in the class were ones who had good communication skills, a love of learning, and were naturally curious.Teaching ultimately led to Chelsea’s opening Littleton’s Little Sunshine’s Playhouse, a Reggio-style preschool in early 2016.
5 Must-Haves Before Your Child Starts Kindergarten
1. Exposure to a variety of classroom activities
Your child is going to spend the next 13 years sitting at a desk doing worksheets. Then they’ll graduate and maybe get a job also at a desk! This is a great time to show them learning in a variety of areas and settings: art, music, physical activity, hands-on projects.
Center learning prepares students in a variety of different areas. They will focus on building structures and talk about math as they build using shapes, amounts of blocks, structures, etc. They will journal about different learnings and responses to stories or lessons. They will use themes based sensory play to ignite their imaginations.
It’s the difference between memorizing numbers to learn them or learning them through activities using counting.
2. Ability to ask questions
Not every preschool and pre-K classroom allows for discussion and project-based learning. It’s a skill for grown ups to be able to think through finding a solution to a problem and not just accepting what they are told is the correct answer.
The Reggio philosophy teaches children how to discuss topics and ask questions to both peers and teachers. It helps them to talk about their wonderings and investigate answers.
3. Responsibility for others
Pre-K programs in schools with younger children provide an opportunity to be the biggest fish in the pond. When they get to kindergarten, they will be a tiny minnow in a big pond. There’s a lot they will learn from older kids, but it will be more impactful when they’ve also been the big kid.
At Little Sunshine’s Playhouse, the Pre-K class has responsibility in their classroom and in the larger school setting with the preschool age kids. We can all relate to how it feels when we are looked up to. Your child deserves the same experience.
4. Empathy for their peers
In a collaborative learning environment, kids look to each other to find solutions. Additionally, group projects help children have a sense of completion. These projects also provide a starting point for group discussion and collaboration. If there is a peer to peer problem students are guided through the steps to understanding how the other child is feeling and learn to see problems and solutions through the eyes of others.
Children in a Reggio Program learn courtesy. They learn to respect other students, teachers, and their environment through a variety of learning experiences and modeling done by teachers and staff.
5. Confidence in themselves
The Reggio style allows teachers to listen to their students and figure out what they are most interested in, and inspire the curiosity to dive deeper into the topic. This allows students to have some ability to guide the curriculum and learn about things that they love. This love for learning carries over into confidence in the classroom.
Beyond the classroom, kids gain confidence from routines as simple as snack or lunch time. Little Sunshine serves family-style meals which equip kids to thrive in social settings. Students will learn skills of independence such as cleaning up after themselves and serving themselves and each other lunch.
Pre K programs are abundant but they are not created equal. If you are ready to explore a Pre K option for your child that is personal, collaborative and truly prepares them for kindergarten, reach out to Chelsea about opportunities at Little Sunshine’s Playhouse in Littleton.
She has also offered to waive the enrollment fee (a $300 value) for any family that mentions this Denver Natural Mom post.