(4 1/2 years to 5 1/2 years - final year before kindergarten enrollment)
The Junior Kindergarten classroom features a two-level loft, an indoor sandbox, and a science laboratory. The laboratory allows the children to be involved in small group research, observation, and documentation of their projects. Multiple loose parts are stored in this area to allow the children’s imaginations to soar. Outdoors, the children enjoy the Outdoor Classroom including a sound wall, stage, mud kitchen, garden, waterfall and texture tables, multiple musical instruments, rock climbing, and a construction area. In addition, the Junior Kindergarten children spend time in the park every day where they can enjoy kickball, sledding, boomerangs, and a specially-designed climbing structure for older children.
Though every lesson plan created at Peoples Church Preschool is an original, our school follows the guidance of Creative Curriculum. This curriculum divides lesson content into five areas: Cognitive, Creative, Social, Language and Physical. Junior Kindergarten teachers create plans based upon kindergarten readiness standards, learning domains and Reggio Emilia principles. This approach requires teachers to observe, interact with and listen to children to determine their interests and then to provide meaningful learning opportunities based on those interests.
The Project Approach places weighted importance on field trips, as children are able to learn by experiencing real-life scenarios and working in a hands-on manner. Each week of observing the children and aligning the curriculum leads to the next week’s changes to the environment, hands-on manipulatives, and open-ended opportunities for creativity, exploration, and discovery.
The teachers ensure that each class of children enjoys the Junior Kindergarten traditions including a Family Thanksgiving lunch, a trip to the East Lansing Aquatic Center, and Outdoor Classroom Day. During Outdoor Classroom Day, families are invited to join their children for a full day outdoors each spring. This event includes water play, games, and a barbecue lunch. In addition, the children in Jr. Kindergarten each create a tie-dye t-shirt as a memento of the day.