Somerset Early Childhood Center’s Kindergarten program serves both young five’s (children who just miss the kindergarten cut-off date) and children who are age-eligible for kindergarten. The program builds on all of the skills and experiences initiated in our pre-kindergarten program and offers a full kindergarten curriculum with respect to academic preparation, while making sure that children also have significant opportunities for free play and self-direction. Important components of our literacy program are: shared reading where children are introduced to concepts about print or books, enjoy a predictable story, song, poem, or rhyme, and develop awareness of conventions of language, and interactive reading where children participate in various small group and large group interactive reading experiences.
With two teachers working with fewer than 20 children, teachers are able to individualize the academic aspects of the program so that children can work to mastery on concepts rather than being forced to move on before they quite gain control of an idea or skill. There is never any feeling of failure because children are continuously building skills and knowledge in ways that are personally meaningful. The Habits of Mind focus described in the information about our preschool and pre-kindergarten programs, continue to be developed and supported in our kindergarten program.
The kindergarten curriculum is slightly different each year because the children are different each year. Portfolios are kept so children can see their progress for themselves. Self-management is learned as children develop focus and persistence, knowing they can take a break from concentrating on developing challenging skills when they feel they need to, and also knowing that free play with treasured friends is only a few minutes away. When children complete our Kindergarten program they are well prepared to meet the challenges of their next educational setting. Depending on their developmental readiness, some of our children proceed to public and private kindergarten classrooms and others go directly on to first grade.