Gordon’s Young Kindergarten is a child-centered program for students graduating from preschool who would benefit from the gift of time. The Young Kindergarten classroom recognizes the difference that four to six months can have on a child’s identity development and school readiness as significant. In Young Kindergarten, students who would otherwise be among the youngest in their Kindergarten classes have a year to hone pre-academic skills and build strong social emotional foundations, allowing them to enter Kindergarten as confident, empathic leaders.
The Young Kindergarten classroom recognizes the difference that four to six months can have on a child’s identity development and school readiness as significant. Young Kindergarten offers these children a classroom space with age-appropriate curriculum that responds to their unique developmental needs.
Young Kindergarten and Kindergarten represent a shift from Nursery and Preschool; there's one teacher in each classroom, and the three classrooms open onto a shared space that, formally and informally, serves as a meeting place and collaborative classroom for all of the five-year-olds.
Young Kindergarten and Kindergarten are the first years when direct instruction in Spanish is introduced through weekly visits to the language lab. They are also the first years when students of color are invited to participate in Tuesday Common Ground after school. Heritage Language continues to be offered once a week to students who come from Spanish-speaking households.
At five years old, the students in Kindergarten and Young Kindergarten are very much the senior members of the Early Childhood division, and they face new expectations to serve as leaders in the halls. At the same time, they are introduced to life in the older grades as well, through Tuesday Common Ground and on the playground they share with first grade.
In Kindergarten and Young Kindergarten, students take on new, more formal roles in the school community. They perform in all-school assemblies for the first time, and have their first evening concert. They have their first taste of responsibility, as well: the Share the Warmth service project, with its beloved popcorn sale, is a very public foray into service to others. Young Kindergarten also takes on the work of helping maintain the Larry Miller Nature Trail that encircles the campus.
Young Kindergarten uses cooking projects to explore a wide range of academic topics, from the math of measurement and the chemistry of baking to the cultural topics introduced by planning, and sharing, a meal. The class then hosts guests from Gordon's professional community for lunches where they practice being thoughtful hosts and gracious conversationalists.