Kindergarten is a precious and important time! This might be the first time your child has been away from you for the whole day on a consistent basis. For others, kindergarten begins a new phase of elementary school experience as they dive deeper into academic content. Whatever it means for your child, kindergarten is an exciting and unique new chapter of a child’s life as he or she continues to grow socially, emotionally, and academically. Having both taught at, and had my own children attend, Lower School at Bear Creek, I have many reasons for enthusiastically recommending our kindergarten program.
We have wonderful teachers at Bear Creek, and our kindergarten program is no exception. Their focus on what kinds of thinking students do, intellectual skill development, and overall assessment of long-term outcomes are some of the reasons I wanted my children to attend kindergarten at The Bear Creek School. Our teachers have an awareness of developmentally appropriate activities for this age group as well. Lessons are designed to help children move around and be actively engaged in learning, including sitting in table groups where they can easily go into reading or math stations as they move about. In the past, when I have asked parents what their favorite part of kindergarten is, every single one has made a point to say “our teachers” first. One parent, Nicole, commented that “tenderness, patience, and care” are words that describe our kindergarten teachers as well as it being “the little things – like when teachers and staff greet everyone with a smile – that make such a big difference” at our school.
2. Christian Worldview
We believe God is at the center of the learning and therefore, each week, we make Chapel an important aspect of the kindergarten experience. This is where children learn their memory verse of the week which is tested every Friday. But having a Christian worldview is not limited to just our Chapel time – it is integrated throughout the curriculum and shows up in all sorts of ways in the classroom. For example, if a child is learning about patterning in math, it is not uncommon for them to hear the teacher say something like, “Isn’t it amazing how God made patterns everywhere?” Not only that, but each day starts with prayer, and students regularly get to read from their Day to Day bibles.
3. Strong Math and Reading Programs
Our kindergarten math curriculum uses concrete manipulatives to help solidify concepts for a child’s brain. Patterning, graphing, addition, and subtraction are just some of the specific concepts taught in our kindergarten program. But although there is a set curriculum, each student’s math experience takes him or her as far as he or she is able to go. This is true in our reading program as well. For one child this could look like solidifying sounds of letters, yet for another it could be reading a higher level chapter book. Bear Creek believes children are on a continuum for learning and again, like our math program, our aim with reading is to take a child as far as they can go. Our program uses a phonics-based approach that gives children tools like phonograms to help decode words. The amount of growth and development they experience as a result is huge!
4. Virtues Are Taught
Humans are social, and our children are always in the process of learning how to interact with other people. Therefore specific instruction on virtues, as well as the celebration of children growing in virtue in our weekly Chapel time, is an integral part of our kindergarten program. In fact it’s not uncommon to see signs like this one hanging in your child’s classroom.
What could be more adorable than a kindergartner dressed up as a cat, cow, princess, or dish? But more importantly, what could be more impactful than memorizing lines and performing on stage in front of large groups of people? You haven’t seen a kindergarten drama until you have seen the one your child would perform at Bear Creek!
6. Diversity of Programs
Regular music instruction (including two major performances a year), art, a Christmas concert, Mother’s Tea, lab science, monthly field trips to places like Oxbow Farms and Denny’s Pet World, and our “Big Buddies” program are all examples of the diverse opportunities and teacher specialists our kindergarteners get to experience and learn from!
If your child is in the preschool years you know how much growth has already taken place academically, spiritually, and emotionally since he or she was born. Kindergarten is the next big step in that continued development. As one parent wrote, “These early school experiences instill a belief in the value of education and a joy for learning, which is what Bear Creek does best.” Come check out kindergarten at The Bear Creek School. It truly is a special place!