How transitional kindergarten will help my child

Are you looking for a young fives or transitional kindergarten for your five-year-old? Would a challenge benefit your child? Transitional Kindergarten (TK) is an individualized program for students who need an extra growing year before kindergarten.

Especially useful for children who did not go to preschool due to the pandemic, this program can offer a much-needed year to enhance social skills and stimulate readiness skills. It will focus on SEL (social and emotional learning) and academic skills. It will be a mix of movement, play and readiness skills geared to the level of the child.

The program will be limited to six students due to social distancing, growing to ten students as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. The small class size allows for personalized attention from the teacher and teacher assistant. New Morning School in Plymouth, MI. has a track record of keeping children safe and in-person throughout the pandemic. Safety protocols are followed by all staff and parents.

Transitional kindergarten – an extra year helps students

Research indicates that fully 50% of school failures can be avoided by proper grade placement. By investing in that year before kindergarten, students are able to grow academically, socially and emotionally.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had implications for some of our youngest learners, with some students unable to attend preschool due to the spread of coronavirus, limiting their ability to interact with other children. The social-emotional development of children is critical to future school success. 

Alia Wong in USA Today noted, “A student who starts kindergarten without preschool is more likely to repeat a grade, require special education services or drop out.” Further, “[many] studies show that children who attend quality early-learning programs are more likely to enter kindergarten with a solid grasp of language and math . . . They’re also less likely to struggle with behavioral problems.”

The pandemic’s effect on learning

Because of the circumstances of COVID, some students need an extra year to assure success.

“In our setting, students forge a close relationship with their teacher, an important part of building trust for future schooling,” said Head of School Elaine Kennedy, who founded New Morning School in 1971. “Basic classroom routines are learned that might not have been learned in that missing year of preschool.

“The Transitional Kindergarten is carefully planned to be an instructional year where children can grow at their own pace. In most situations, the students will then move into our exemplary kindergarten class. This ‘gift of time’ is a year to solidify the social-emotional growth and readiness skills to be poised for success in kindergarten.”

Here are some particulars of the TK program at New Morning School.

The requirements for transitional kindergarten

To be eligible for TK, students need to be between 4 years, 8 months and 6 years old.  Classes meet five times a week and are available in mornings (8:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. for half day). Class size is limited to six children; with a teacher’s aide available, the 3:1 ratio is well beow the state-mandated ratio of 10:1, affording your child more attention and opportunity to learn.

Before- and after-school care is also available.

What to expect in the TK classroom

Each child’s day includes individual and group activities. Children are involved in teacher-directed as well as student-selected tasks. Planning skills are practiced each day. Children have the opportunity to learn from one another.

Children select ABC or 123 games. Playing these games encourages development of both verbal and mathematical skills. Games like “Hi Ho Cherry-O” bring turn taking, following directions, and color and number skills to life.

Handwriting is also developed with a “Handwriting without Tears” program. It is a developmentally appropriate approach to beginning handwriting skills. It incorporates many multi-sensory strategies in a child-friendly way. Your child will learn to write upper and lower case letters and numbers with great ease.

To determine if our Transitional Kindergarten program is the right fit for your child, contact Admissions Coordinator Joan Barrett at 734-420-3331.