Every parent of a pre-K student faces a major decision: choosing the best kindergarten program for their child.
More and more public schools are offering kindergarten programs. Our students’ parents now have to ask themselves whether they will transfer their child to the local public school for their kindergarten year or continue on the Montessori track with Apple.
We know what a difficult decision this can be. But we’ve also seen how much our students benefit from completing their kindergarten year with us.
There are many great reasons for doing the kindergarten year with Apple Montessori. Let’s explore a few of them.
The Three-Year Cycle
One of the unique features of Montessori programs is that they operate on a three-year cycle. The vast majority of the time, students keep the same teachers and many of the same classmates over a three-year period. The first cycle takes place in pre-kindergarten (first and second year) and caps off with kindergarten (third year).
The three-year cycle gives students room to reinforce and improve on the things they’ve learned in the previous years. Instead of starting with new foundations each year, students get to build on the foundations they’ve already established.
We often liken it to building a house. In the first year, we help our students lay the foundation. In the second year, we build the walls that will allow the house to stand upright and sturdy. In the third year, the kindergarten year, we add the roof and complete the picture.
In practice, that means moving from the building blocks of the subject matter to being able to use them in more advanced ways. For example, students will start their first year by learning the letters of the alphabet and becoming familiar with the sounds they make. In the second year, they’ll learn to combine them to form and sound out words. By the third year, they’re ready to put everything together and start reading simple sentences.
It’s the same with math. Students start with counting, then they move on to larger numbers and adding up objects before finally dealing with abstract operations like doing addition and subtraction on paper.
The three-year cycle is also a great way to build continuity and community. At such a young age, major adjustments like getting to know a new teacher and having to make new friends are tough. By staying with the same cohort and learning from teachers they’ve already formed a bond with, kindergarten students at Apple start the year already feeling secure and comfortable. This allows them to focus on their learning activities and frees up the mental energy to pursue and develop new skills.
What Students Learn from Kindergarten at Apple
The kindergarten year is the capstone of the first three-year cycle. It completes the education your child receives by attending pre-K at Apple. It’s also the year your child will learn skills and develop abilities that will help them succeed in school and in life.
Here are some of the things our students learn when they attend Apple Montessori for their kindergarten year.
Leadership and Mentoring
The first three-year cycle ends with kindergarten, which means the kindergarten students graduate from being the younger students in the classroom to being the big kids. And being a big kid means having opportunities to help the younger ones.
There’s something amazing that happens to our kindergarten students when they take on their role as mentors – they become incredibly confident. And that makes sense, because nothing builds confidence in your own abilities like being able to teach what you know to someone else.
Helping the younger students not only reinforces everything the kindergarten students have learned, but it also helps them acquire the skills and disposition needed to become great leaders. They learn to communicate clearly and effectively. They learn to articulate their ideas. They learn to guide others. They learn to evaluate where others are and assess their needs. And those are skills that will never become obsolete.
Problem Solving and Self-Confidence
The kindergarten year is all about practice and repetition. It’s a time for cementing the skills students have learned and finding new and interesting ways to put them into action. Kindergarten students get a really good sense of their abilities, which gives them a big boost in self-confidence.
The kindergarten program at Apple also affords plenty of opportunity for students to work independently. The learning materials we provide our students are self-correcting. That means the students are able to evaluate their own success at using them, observe and diagnose the issue when they run into a snag, and figure out a way to overcome the problem. In other words, they’re already putting problem-solving skills into action.
Students are placed in our kindergarten program based on their age group, but it doesn’t mean they are stuck learning at the kindergarten level. Apple kindergarteners are given all the help they need but they’re also given the freedom and opportunity to do everything they’re capable of.
If a student struggles with a certain subject, we meet them at their level and help them improve. But we never hold them back. Many of our kindergarten students work on subjects at the first, second, and third grade levels, and we make sure to facilitate this advanced learning so they can get the most out of their time with us.
Because we help our students rise up and allow them to push ahead, Apple students who attend the full three-year cycle consistently score one or two grade levels above their peers on assessments for math, language, and reading comprehension.
A Lifelong Love of Learning
Kindergarten students are naturally curious about the world around them, and we have designed our educational program to nurture that curiosity. We give them the confidence they need to keep pushing their limits, explore, and learn more and more every day.
Our active, hands-on approach to learning also keeps learning fun and kinetic. That way, our students never get bored of learning.
The kindergarten capstone year is especially well suited for helping our students acquire a lifelong love of learning. Mentoring younger students makes learning and knowing things a source of pride and genuine accomplishment. Knowing something is one thing, but using that knowledge to help someone else is the best way to really see and feel its value.
Kindergarten at Apple Changes Everything
After completing their first three-year cycle, Apple Montessori students enter elementary school confident, knowledgeable, and highly motivated. They don’t just start on the right foot – they hit the ground running.
Kindergarten is a critical time for children. The knowledge, skills, and personality traits they develop during that year will play a major role in their success in school and in life.
That’s why choosing Apple for your child’s kindergarten year really does change everything.