A Morning with Mrs. Sanders’ Kindergarten Class
by Director of Marketing and Communications Emily Allshouse
It’s morning recess and Kindergarten Teacher Mrs. Sanders and I stand in the classroom chatting as she fills little jars of paint for “Busy Bee Boxes.” The boxes, she explains, are an alternative for children who have finished their assignment and need something to keep them engaged while other children work. The brightly colored rainbow boxes contain a wide range of activities including exercises for spelling and math, inspiration to create a painting, equipment to listen to audio books, and games.
“What is your favorite thing about teaching Kinder?” I ask Mrs. Sanders. She has been teaching Kindergarten for 13 years.
Before she can answer, a student comes in to confess a mistake. Mrs. Sanders, who like all of our Lower School faculty is trained in Responsive Classroom techniques, sits down and speaks with him gently. They talk about the agreed upon rules, why the action was the wrong choice, discuss better choices for the next time, and decide together on an appropriate consequence. When the situation is resolved, she picks up where we left off in the conversation.
“I love their imaginations,” she answers. “I like when the little ones are excited to be here. It helps me find my inner child.”
Outside in the play yard, each student is certainly in touch with their inner child. They buzz around playing zombie tag, kicking soccer balls, climbing on the playground, and digging in the sandbox.
A chant bursts out. “Lil-y! Lil-y! Lil-y!” the children shout. They are cheering on a classmate as she navigates the monkey bars, a newly acquired skill. Lily smiles and skillfully swings herself past the final bar. Everyone cheers.
“I love that everything is worth celebrating. Everything is new and exciting.” Assistant Teacher Ms. Latonia says.
When recess is over, it’s time for the daily Math Meeting led by Student Teacher, Gavin. Each day, a student is selected as the Student Teacher to help lead the class. It’s a highly-coveted leadership position and Gavin is proud to have the job. He leads a song about the month and students take turns discussing what they like about October.
“I like treat or treating candy!” one student exclaims.
Next they count the days on the calendar and begin to sing about the days in the week. A phone call interrupts the song and Mrs. Sanders gets up to answer it. When Mrs. Sanders returns, she announces to the class that they have earned “Warm Fuzzies.” She appreciates how they have kept singing even though she had to step away. Warm Fuzzies are earned each time students make the right choices or help others. When the class earns enough they get to have a party.
The meeting continues with a guessing game in sign language and a song about the weather. Gavin walks to the window to observe conditions for the day’s weather report, an important duty for the Student Teacher. When he returns Mrs. Sanders, holding her pretend microphone, asks him for the report.
“It’s a clear, sunny day with cool temperatures,” he concludes.
After the meeting, students return to their centers to resume activities begun prior to recess. Ms. Latonia coaches students on writing letters. Mrs. Sanders assesses what letters of the alphabet students already know how to write without help. The remaining students work independently to match numerals with pictures showing the correct number of items.
“We have a great group of students,” says Mrs. Sanders. “I’m excited to see them grow their confidence this year.”
When you visit our Kindergarten classrooms or talk with our expert teachers, it is clear why our students love to learn, and are so enthusiastic and supportive of each other.
Our Kindergarten program is designed to combine both experiential and playful learning with academic projects and age-appropriate social-emotional development. Our Kindergarten team teaches empathy and leads by example. We help children learn how to interact with peers appropriately, recognize and understand emotions, and learn from mistakes. We believe that close mentoring relationships have a powerful impact on personal growth. Our teachers are committed to creating a safe, respectful, positive learning environment that enhances each student’s sense of belonging, significance, and creates the fun that is necessary for deep learning to take place.
As a result, our Kindergarten students grow into independent and confident learners with the social-emotional foundation they need for future success.
To see our Kindergarten program for yourself, be sure to attend our All-School Admissions Open House on Saturday, October 26 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Register online here.