Prospective Kinder families
We are very excited for your interest in our Kindergarten program. This offering, housed at both our Grant Park and Hollywood settings, serves 16 friends total joined by a lead teacher and an assistant teacher. To be considered for enrollment children must be 5 by September 15th. Families must make a commitment for the academic school year to maintain consistency in the classroom cohort and educational experience. The goal of the program is to foster a supportive foundational learning environment for our lifelong learners. Small Wonders is a school environment that understands child development. We balance our focused teacher-directed learning with ample time spent utilizing the workshop model for creative exploration. Our Kindergarten goal is to create a structured learning environment that also invites authentic spontaneous learning and moments of discovery.
While our Kindergarten has Small Wonders influences with art, projects, and play supporting the day the classroom and structure mirrors that of a typical school age setting. Days include whole group meeting (a time for group share and collaboration), teacher instructional moments supported by teacher tech tools, and generous workshop time. We believe those who do the talking do the learning! And to best connect with all learning styles we want the Kindergarten experience to be hands on and interactive. Below you will find just some of our curriculum supports. Our curriculum map for the year is designed to meet all the PPS goals and outcomes one would expect for an exiting Kindergartener at your neighborhood school making our grads well prepared for a first grade transition (or advanced Kinder track). Due to our low class size and low ratio we feel confident in being able to meet each child where they are and to foster their own unique skills and interests.
For growing Kindergarten writers we will use Nellie Edge’s curriculum for writing and High-Frequency Sight Words. The goal of the program is to quickly build comprehension and letter/sound knowledge using an authentic literacy approach. The Nellie Edge sight words are referred to as heart words and they give children clear learning targets and celebrate mastery. Together we discover how writing teaches reading as we explore directed drawing experiences, interactive song circles, and more. Learning milestones are best achieved through diverse differentiated learning experiences that tap into the child’s skills, prior language learning, and interests. We encourage you to read the following introductions to Nellie Edge to get a broader sense of engaging literacy instruction and a meaning-centered classroom:
Handwriting Without Tears
We support our efforts as writers and readers with continued use of a popular SWS curriculum HWT. As we enter into Kindergarten our exploration deepens with further use of lower case letter work. Current SWS friends will be familiar with the language and approaches in this program. With handwriting we are forming comfortable and authentic habits for a strong foundation in writers and learners.
For those with older school age children you may well be familiar with this nationally utilized program. With lessons rooted in anchor texts this program has all the makings for building an accomplished reader. Combined with our love and appreciation for quality children’s literature we build fluency and reading strategies. What can we infer or predict? Let’s explore story structure! As reading detectives let’s clarify and build conclusions. What are genres? What are informational texts? This program is used widely across many school settings; we have selected it to support a seamless transition to first grade. With Journeys we progressively learn and develop different skills related to phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, grammar, and reading comprehension.
For logical, mathematical curriculum the kindergarten concepts covered include: counting, shapes, positional words (first/last), ordinal numbers, tracing and writing numbers, adding, number lines, bar graphs, subtraction, place value, money & time, skip counting, word problems, basic geometry, and more. The lessons center on hands on activities with the workshop model so concepts can be introduced, reviewed, and reinforced in a hands on manner. Workshop rotations include opportunities for collaboration, direct instruction, skill building, games, and differentiation. Teachers support learning with mini-lessons and concept modeling with the workshops providing time to practice skills.
Our afternoons fold in science, art, or social emotional lessons. In many schools these sessions are called enrichment because they enrich your child’s basic learning experience. In our early learning settings we mark social emotional regulation as the most important Kindergarten readiness piece and this is an area that we continue to support growth. Children are naturally curious and creative and directed science and art experiences prompt creativity, investigation, mastery, and more. While these elements are infused across the day we appreciate the time to spotlight these learning domains.
What is the age cutoff?
We want children to turn five by September 15 of the Fall they enroll. However, we look at each child individually. Age is only one factor we consider for enrollment.
What is the schedule?
We have school Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 2:30 pm. Dropoff time is strictly enforced. Extended hours are available to include program hours of 8:00-5:30.
What is the kindergarten tuition?
Tuition is $1000 per month or $1400 for extended hours.
How does enrollment work?
Enrollment begins in January. We give priority to families already enrolled in our schools. We consider child’s age, past preschool experience, parent/guardian’s thoughts on educational steps for the next year, and desired ratio of ages and genders. When offering spots, we try to make the best decisions for both the kids and for our school. Current Small Wonders enrollment does not guarantee acceptance into this program.
Where do most kids go after?
Every family is different. It is anticipated that 25% of graduates go on to public school kindergarten per the PPS age cutoff, 50% go on to public school first grade, and 25% go on to local private school first grade.
Is this like another year of preschool or Pre-K?
No! The 8:00-2:30 stretch will have strong academic focus infused with teacher directed learning, whole group experiences, small workshop centers, projects, and art. Body breaks and hands on learning are a large tenant of our practices and will continue to be. The year will be directed by a curriculum map designed to align with the outcomes of neighborhood public schools and assure a smooth transition to first grade. Given the small ratio supporting instruction we anticipate a graduating class of confident competent learners.