Does your child have a third year of preschool before Kindergarten? Our innovative Junior Kindergarten option is open to students who are 4.5 by September 1st and have completed a year of PreK or its equivalent, creating a more cohesive group of learners than a repetition of Pre-K. You can choose between a school day/school year program and a full-day option. Both are available either 3, 4 or 5 days a week.
The goal of JrK is to take these children “as far as they can go”. Your child’s daily schedule includes free choice play and structured academic learning blocks for language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. Children also move around the building to join other classes for lunch, visit the Art Studio and Music Room, and more. With our JrK program, your child can have a developmentally appropriate learning experience, while taking full advantage of an extra year of learning and continuing to build important social, emotional, and academic skills.
- Writing: Most children attending JrK have had some experience with a Preschool and Pre-K curriculum. Our role is to meet each child at their current skill level and build from there, honing skills that will support them in Kindergarten and beyond. We will work with your child to write their last name, introduce beginning sight words through active play, provide daily opportunities for sharing ideas through writing, or help them read consonant-vowel-consonant words.
- Reading: Read-alouds, literacy activities, chances for looking at books alone and with teachers, and exposure to many genres of literature: that’s what your child will experience at Tobin every day. Language arts and writing activities are a part of our daily curriculum.
Handwriting: Your child will use the well-regarded Wilson Fundations Pre-K program for handwriting practice and letter formation. This program introduces your child to the alphabet in a systematic fashion that supports the alphabetic principle and letters/sound correspondence. Using their writing tools also introduces both upper and lowercase letter formation.
Science & Math
As with Language Arts, many JrK students come to us with a strong foundation. Your child will work with their teacher to add skills in science and mathematics.
- Mathematics: It’s not surprising that these students can already work with addition, subtraction, and double-digit numbers. Never pushed, your child will work on math activities throughout the day in a playful, engaging way to keep learning fun!
- Science: Your child will spend academic blocks on science each week to explore the world around them, expanding vocabulary and building background knowledge, which supports a strong future interest in Science and Engineering.
- Technology: While not offered as a separate subject area, our JrK students use iPads to support their content learning. At Tobin we always use technology with thoughtfulness and educational purpose.
- Your JrK student will learn American Sign Language (ASL), Spanish, and Mandarin at Tobin. With daily practice of familiar concepts, manner words, and new vocabulary, your child will enhance brain flexibility by learning that a word or idea can be expressed in numerous ways.
- Specialist Educators in Spanish and Mandarin visit these classrooms every week to refine these skills. Your child’s class will also meet with an American Sign Language teacher each month.
- JrK students also join school-wide celebrations for Chinese New Year and Cinco De Mayo – a great opportunity to explore other cultures and see how others view the world.
Social Emotional Learning
- Learning School Behaviors: In JrK, your child will continue to build a strong set of ‘school behaviors’ that go a long way toward future success. Children are encouraged to follow a structured routine, share toys with classmates, and work together with classmates on a group goal or plan. Our teachers encourage students to learn about their emotions and share them in a safe, respectful way. We also set the stage for self-regulation and executive function skills that will prepare your child for the school years ahead – in a nurturing, warm environment – one of our areas of emphasis here at Tobin.
Our JrK students participate in visual arts and music activities daily in their classroom. Your child will model with clay, create sculptures and 3D structures, paint and draw, and glue and make collages. We sing songs as part of our daily routine and share opportunities to dance, play instruments, and move our bodies to rhythms.
- Music: In addition, our JrK students have a weekly visit with our Tobin Music Teacher.
- Art: Your child will get to know our art teacher, who encourages these young artists to express themselves through a variety of mediums and introduces them to a variety of talented artists, styles, and concepts.
Physical Education & Wellness
While at times we can’t help but be surprised by how far our JrK studens can go academically, we are very aware that they are still 4 and 5 year old children who need active play throughout their day. JrK students utilize all of our outside play spaces; including our early childhood playground, our school-age playground, our turf field, and our gated paved play area. We include two outside periods per day, weather permitting, knowing that children need to move to learn.
- Physical Education: Twice a week, your child will have class with our Tobin School physical education teacher, who uses fun games and activities to focus on building gross motor skills with our JrK students.
- Yoga: Your child will take a yoga class twice per month: not only fun, but a great way to practice flexibility and breathing techniques that can support self-regulation.
- Indoor Play Space: Our lower-level large motor space is available for our JrK students when it is too cold or rainy to go outside and play.
At Tobin we respect each child as an individual and know that each child learns and develops along their own timeline. As education professionals well-versed in child development, our teachers support your child’s individual learning goals.
- Assessment Tool: We are proud to use Teaching Strategies Gold at Tobin. This research and evidence-based assessment tool provides a thorough look at each child’s current development and allows teachers and parents to work together to set goals for future learning. Teachers make observations throughout their classroom day using iPads to take photos and notes of children’s progress over time. These daily observations become a digital portfolio of the child’s learning during their time at Tobin.
- Parent-Teacher Conferences: Teachers welcome parents in for parent-teacher conferences three times a year to set goals and review progress but we also welcome parents to play an active partnership all year round.