Kindergarten is a magical year that builds on the academic and social skills begun in JPK and PK, culminating the early childhood experience. Our program incorporates the Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing and Bridges in Mathematics curricula. Kindergarten includes daily P.E. and Spanish lessons, with music, library, art and woodshop, and technology on a rotating schedule. Each Friday is dedicated to eco-literacy, and the children and teachers spend most of the day outside. They spend time working in the garden, taking trail walks, and playing in the mud kitchens, all while learning as they explore. Students are paired with fifth grade buddies, and they enjoy many fun activities together during the year.
Kindergarten has three sections of up to 16 students in each class, allowing for plenty of individual attention from the teacher and assistant in each classroom. Mr. Bill Greene and Mrs. Katie Shirley have been teaching at Bright since 2015, and Miss Sonal Patel is new to Bright this year.
What do you like best about teaching kindergarten?
Mrs. Katie: “My favorite part about teaching kindergarten is that I get to be a part of providing children with a strong academic foundation that they will continue to build on for their entire lives. I pride myself on making special connections with my students in order to instill a lifelong love of learning.”
Miss Sonal: “I love the excitement they have about learning. It’s a fun age where they get to experience lots of new things, learn outdoors, and make new friends. It is so special to see their confidence bloom as they learn new skills and concepts, especially reading!”
Mr. Bill: “I love how much growth each and every child experiences this year. The academic, social, and emotional growth that occurs during this significant time is unparalleled to other grades, and I feel that we can truly make a positive impact on their little lives. Most of all, though, teaching a child to read and write is something that I personally hold very dear to my heart. It is a skill that they will take with them throughout their lives and something that can never be taken away. To be a part of something like that is absolutely special!”
What are some of the highlights of the kindergarten year?
Mrs. Katie: “Kindergarten is a special year in a child’s education. Students become confident as they learn to read and write independently and solve their own problems. This is especially a wonderful time at Bright because of the long-standing traditions like grade level plays and connections we make with our 5th grade buddies.”
Miss Sonal: “They get to meet fifth grade buddies and celebrate the 100th day. I am looking forward to many traditions at Bright for the first time!”
Mr. Bill: “We try to create many memories for the children during kindergarten to help nurture a love of school that will only continue to grow as each one moves on in this journey. A few highlights include meeting 5th grade buddies, working together in the garden, Forest Fridays, celebrating our 100th day together, and our annual Earth Day celebration. A personal favorite, though, is our November “Thankful” celebration where the children express why a specific classmate is special to them and exchange homemade art gifts.”
What is some advice you would like to give parents about what to expect in kindergarten and/or how to support their children in kindergarten?
Mrs. Katie: “I know life can be busy, but do not underestimate the importance of reading with your child. There are so many literacy skills that your child can benefit from by hearing you read. Enjoy the little moments; life happens too quickly.”
Miss Sonal: “Parents can support their children by talking to them about what they did each day, reading to them and reviewing things highlighted in the weekly newsletters. The small routines such as bedtime stories have an infinite number of benefits academically and socially.”
Mr. Bill: “Kindergarten is definitely a team effort between a child, family, and, of course, teacher. We try to formulate an approach where everyone works together to ensure a successful year of social and academic success. We do our best to clearly communicate with parents throughout the year on how to best support their child and reinforce what we do in the classroom. This does not just include academic enrichment, but also to keep a constant dialogue with your child about the importance of working hard and being kind to their friends. It makes a world of difference if a child knows that we all work together and love them.”
Why should parents enroll their child at Bright?
Mrs. Katie, mother of a current student in PK: “There is no place like Bright! From the moment you walk through the doors you can feel the love of a community that supports each other and works together for the betterment of the lives of our students and families. I feel blessed each day to be able to call this place home for my son and I.”
Miss Sonal: “Bright is truly a special place. Students get to have so many incredible experiences. The weekly Eco-Literacy program is a unique opportunity where they get to make academic connections in nature. The class sizes are small, and they will have two teachers in their room to give more personalized attention to students.”
Mr. Bill, father of a current student in JPK: “Parents should enroll their child at Bright because we focus on the whole child, not just the academics. Bright School is a second home for children that provides an exciting, caring, and nurturing environment for children and their families. Our teachers at Bright have a genuine and unconditional love for all of the children here, and it truly is one big family that has the intimacy of a small, tight knit community.”