Transitional Kindergarten: Half-day or full-day

  • Ages: 4 yrs. 8 months through age 6 years
  • Maximum class size: 12 children per teacher; teacher aides in addition
  • Classes: five mornings or full-day
  • School hours: 8:45 am – 12:45 pm or full-day
  • May be combined with before- and after-care from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Combining Play with the latest Brain Science

By partnering with the staff at New Morning School, you are giving your child a gift – a gift of an early foundation of learning and play which is grounded in the latest brain science and supported by the work of Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget.

The Transitional Kindergarten (TK) meets all licensing requirements of the State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Why Transitional Kindergarten?

Are you looking for a young fives or transitional kindergarten for your five-year-old? Is your child almost five years old and you’re looking for more challenge? The Transitional Kindergarten (TK) is an individualized program planned to meet the needs of our growing four years eight months to six years old.

Some students need the “gift of time.” They need an extra year of growing before they are ready for a kindergarten program. Research indicates that fully 50% of school failures can be avoided by proper grade placement. Celebrate your child as he/she grows academically, socially and emotionally.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had implications for some of our youngest learners. Some students were not able 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 (12-3-20) states that, “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.” 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. 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.

Low Student-Teacher Ratio

Because of COVID guidelines, the class size will be limited to six children with the teacher and a teacher’s aide working with the children for a 3:1 ratio. This is well below the state-mandated ratio of 10:1. 

Individualized, Personalized Education

Let your child join a school where “everyone knows your name.” In small, personalized classrooms within a small school, each child is embraced and honored as an individual who can contribute to the community.  As learning happens throughout the day, the teacher will work with your child at your child’s level in academic readiness, and social, emotional and physical growth.

 The Facility

When you enter New Morning School, you inhale the child-friendly essence of the school. Classrooms are colorfully decorated and enhanced by student art work.  The playhouse and kitchen area invite children into creative play. The easels inspire creative art work. Gross motor skills are developed in a 4,000 sq. ft. gym, equipped with kid-friendly apparatus.  Outside play happens daily on the climber, in the playhouse and in the areas for running and playing that surround the equipment.

Safety

Safety is #1. Students are carefully supervised during the day. All staff, including volunteers, undergo a criminal background check. During the school day, exterior doors are locked. The students practice fire, tornado and other safety drills, so they are prepared for an emergency.

KEY FEATURES

Attention to a number of key ingredients is essential in creating a positive transitional year for each child as explained below:

Assessment

The teacher observes each child to evaluate his/her intellectual, social, and emotional development. Children develop at different rates in social, emotional and cognitive areas. An individual evaluation highlights what is appropriate for each child.

Planning and Individualizing

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.

Choices in the Classroom:

ABC and 123 Games

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.

Writing Center

A variety of materials are available at our writing center to help young children tap into their ability to use lines, shapes, and eventually symbols and letters to share their understanding of the world.

Handwriting without Tears

Handwriting without Tears 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.

Creative Play Area

Activities centered in the creative play area foster both large muscle and social skills. Features of the creative play area include blocks, dress up clothes, a kitchen area, a fix-it table and a playhouse.

Collage

Fine motor skills such as cutting, pasting, taping, and sorting are reinforced in our collage area.

Snack

Children bring a snack for the morning and afternoon, and their lunches each day.

Discovery Table

Daily activities at the Discovery Table challenge students to solve problems, classify objects and develop an awareness of basic scientific and mathematical principles. For example, will an object sink or float?

Sand, Water or Playdough

Each day children flock to the area which features our sand table, water table or playdough, featured on a rotating basis.  These areas give children an opportunity to develop gross and fine motor skills, and introduce them to concepts like mass, volume, gravity, and quantity.

Music

Music activities are presented regularly. Songs, finger-plays and movement reinforce language development.

Gym

Students enjoy physical education movement and instruction weekly in the gym, fostering gross motor skills and team building.

Themes

Teachers plan thematic units throughout the year ranging from people, jobs and community to learning about animals and their habitats. Stories, songs, crafts and snack are integrated around the theme so that the child has a holistic immersion experience in the topics being studied. Teachers key in on student interests and use that information to plan high-interest themes.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the class size at New Morning School?

One group of twelve children attends each day. A teacher and two teacher aides assist the group. The year will start with a group of six (6) children due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements.

What will happen during a school day?

Each day is different at New Morning school, but it’s important to have a predictable routine to the day, so that children feel safe. Our TK classroom is thematically-based, meaning that new activities are set up for the children every day. The projects tie into a theme, such as insects, STEM activities, and becoming friends – the topics are endless! Each day there is an art activity that is both thematically-based and related to the theme and the rubrics.

I’ve heard that the children plan their own day. What does that mean?

Based on the latest brain science research, the child’s program is structured as the child learns to use a plan-work-evaluate format. This means that after circle time each morning, the students plan their day, with help from the teacher. “Will I go to snack today? I want to play in creative play. I want to do an ABC game with my teacher. Maybe I’ll write a journal today.”

This format, unique to New Morning school, is called a child-centered approach where children become engaged in their own learning, setting the foundation for a child who is curious and who loves school.

The Transitional Kindergarten program is a half-day program. I want my child to stay all day. How does that work?

We open with Kids’ Club child care at 7 am. Your child would then attend the morning Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program followed by lunch with classmates and an afternoon program. The afternoon program is a mixed-age group of preschoolers and TKers. Under guidance from their teacher, students follow their own interests, creating projects such as learning about dinosaurs, creating a story to act out, and “make something,” using recyclables.

What is the typical schedule?

Here is the daily routine:

  7:00

The childcare aide greets students as they arrive. The children enjoy quiet activities or a breakfast they bring from home.

  8:00

Play time in the gym

  8:45

Class starts: Circle time: stories, movement, theme, calendar, weather, sounds of the week.

  9:00

Children fill out plans and choose activities throughout the room.

11:00

Students meet individually with their teacher to reflect on the day’s activities.

11:15

Outside time or gym

11:45

Lunch

12:15

Reading and closing circle

12:30 – 12:45

Outside time and pick-up for morning students

  1:00

Activities are less structured and the teacher follows the lead of the child’s interests (supporting the latest brain science and the need for reflection).

  3:00

Outside time

  4:00

Quieter activities happen inside in anticipation of parents arriving soon! Parents arrive to pick up their children up to 6:00 pm

 

How old must my child be to attend?  

Students must be age four years and eight months to turning six years. The classroom, by design, is a multi-age classroom, so that each child gains experience with both older and younger students.

Do I pack a lunch?

Yes, because of the many food allergies and differences in food choices between families, each student brings a lunch and snacks each day. We will provide ideas for healthy lunches based on the latest brain research to keep your child in top form each day. If your child has food allergies, please inform the staff during an initial visit.

What is the school calendar?

The academic year runs from the day after Labor Day through the second week in June. The center is closed two weeks during the Christmas holidays.

 How may I communicate with my child’s teacher?

Open communication between teachers and parents is encouraged. Every day your child’s individual plan comes home with notes from the teacher. This is a wonderful discussion-starter for your child to share about his/her day. Please contact your child’s teacher at any time to discuss progress. Parent conferences are scheduled three times per year. A conference may be conducted in person (preferred) or to meet your busy schedule using Zoom or email.

Foundation for Learning

You are giving your child the gift of a firm foundation which is an extension of your family values, intertwined with emerging skills in interpersonal relationships and personal responsibility – a gift of a lifetime.

Please schedule a visit to learn more about this program and see the children in action.