Updated: Oct 17
By Sophie Higgins, Lead Teacher Dandelion Kindergarten
In our kindergarten program, the children learn through play, purposeful work, storytelling and puppet shows, and practical and artistic activities. Typically, children at our school will attend kindergarten for two years. The two-year program is similar to the growth of a plant. In the first year, the seeds are planted and nourished, and in the second year the plant fully blooms and flourishes. In our kindergartens we have a mixed age group which is extremely beneficial in many ways:
The older children of the class are confident in themselves and their place in the class and are able to practice their leadership skills and sense of responsibility.
The younger children are often inspired by the older children's expertise. The older children will be the little ones' guides and helpers.
The older children typically have the harder jobs of the class, which they have been waiting to do since the year before. The younger ones are watching the older ones do these specific jobs and yearn to do them as well.
By the end of the year, they all know each other, accept each other, and have learned how to be with one another.
The children have an unhurried time to develop the skills they will need to be successful later in the grades.
After having watched the grade school Michaelmas play, we started our Kindergarten Michaelmas celebration. The children absolutely love this circle and were in awe while watching the preparations for the Michaelmas play. Michaelmas is celebrated in our schools to help show the students the importance of using courage during these colder, darker, winter months. During a time that we start to feel the need to turn inwards after a long summer. In addition to honouring St. Michael who tames the fierce dragon, this marks the beginning of autumn and harvest time, a time when people make preparations for the winter. And a time to celebrate inner strength and courage within us all.
During our Michaelmas circle each day, the children who are in their last year of kindergarten receive a wooden sword. This is a very special and proud moment for them as they know they are one of the big children of the class and now have an important job of taking care of their sword and working hard on it each day (rasping and sanding). This helps to build on the will forces of the rising 6 year old. Meanwhile, the younger ones observe, help, and take in the skills on a different level as they prepare and anticipate for their transformation in the coming year.