In the Classroom: The Starfish

Starfish on the playground with kindergarten kids

Building Bridges to Kindergarten

The transition from prek to kindergarten is a big one. New teachers and a new school can be hard for most five year olds, not to mention the change from learning through play to direct instruction and more academic skill building. 
In the Starfish classroom we took a multi-pronged approach to preparing our outgoing children. We invited Starfish alumni to come back to the classroom and tell their old friends what kindergarten is like. Four Starfish alum visited and told about their experiences. They answered questions like:
“Do you get to go outside?”
“Do you eat hot dogs for lunch?”
“Do you do math?”
“Do you have homework?”
“Do you like your teachers?”
“What is your favorite thing about Kindergarten?”
“What advice do you have for us?”
We also participated in the annual school district Building Bridges meeting at the Penn Alexander School. This meeting brought together prek and kindergarten teachers to consider ways that we can support our children through this challenging transition.
This year we planned two events. First, the kindergarten teachers from Penn Alexander came to tour PIC, walk through each prek classroom, and meet the kids. As that day approached, we told the Starfish to expect visitors during lunch.
As a teacher I appreciated that the PAS teachers got a chance to see our classroom and understand a bit more about where PIC children come from, a place of play-based education. The children were thrilled to discover that the visitors could possibly be their teachers next year. 
The next event took place during April’s Week of the Young Child when all of the current kindergarten students joined our prek kids to play on PIC's Nature Playground.
The PIC alums were thrilled to be back on their old stomping ground and have time with friends from the year before. The teachers had more time to talk to one another and learn more about what happens in their classrooms. 
I saw siblings happily reunited and just before the PAS kindergarten classes left Grasshoppers Lead Teacher Brooks Wilson lead us all in a sing-along, which was a blast!