Learn More About Kindergarten
Children who feel known and cared for feel safe to take academic risks and to let their curiosity take flight. Kindergarten should be the place where children develop a lifelong love of learning.
“Canterbury kindergarten is the perfect, gentle balance between academic pursuits and developmental needs,” says Canterbury kindergarten teacher Karan Moore.
Lessons are developmentally designed – for example, research-based math and writing instruction created by an occupational therapist. Kindergarten-age children also need plenty of play, movement, and creative exploration, so Canterbury kindergarteners don’t sit at their desks for more than about 10 minutes at a time. Academic time is interspersed with moving, yoga, and stretching, plus two recesses each day. Several times a week, kindergarteners also have time in the library and Spanish, art, music, PE, and spiritual development classes with specialized teachers.
Canterbury kindergarteners are encouraged to do a lot of wondering. For example, the teacher may read a book but stop before the last page and encourage the children to think and talk about what might happen next.
“I’m not driven by a core curriculum and we have the time, so we are able to let the children’s curiosity guide learning,” Karan said. “They learn to be ok with not having the answer, but learn how to think about or go find the answer.”
With a lead teacher and assistant in each class aided by experienced volunteers (including a retired kindergarten teacher), students get individual attention. “The beauty of Canterbury is that we have the flexibility to meet children where they are,” Karan says.
Parents often want to know how they can help a child get ready for kindergarten. Canterbury teachers suggest these activities the summer before:
- Help foster independence by giving children small chores
- Buy a lunchbox and practice unpacking and setting up lunch, then packing it back up
- Let children practice opening applesauce, yogurt, and other food packages
- Work on hand strength (to prepare for writing with a pencil) by letting children play with kitchen tongs, tweezers, droppers, clay, sand, and Legos
- To lay the groundwork for reading, read rhyming books to your child
- Encourage outside play to develop strength and coordination