By Katie L. Grubbs
“Can I go to school tomorrow?” was the question from my son. I responded that school wasn’t open on Saturdays and the doors would be locked. “Can’t we break in? I know my teacher wouldn’t mind!”
Junior Kindergarten at Summit School was a magical year for my son. It started with his one hour visit to determine his readiness and fit for the program. I didn’t know if he would separate well or pitch a fit. When my husband and I walked out of the room and he quietly stayed where he was, engaged in play with a teacher, I was amazed…
My son will tell you his favorite things about Junior Kindergarten were baking gingerbread men and making dinosaur pillows. (He also wanted me to note that he enjoyed playing in the block area and in the balcony but not as much as making gingerbread men.) My list is a bit different, though. I was impressed with how he learned to make friends. Many of his new friends weren’t even in his class…they were fellow Junior Kindergartners he’d met on the playground!
I still do not know if that was a culture the teachers created intentionally or not, but I was and remain grateful for it. He also created countless art treasures, dressed up and boarded the Mayflower, learned to write his letters and taught me about recycling and going green!
When we graduated to Kindergarten this year, I was as nervous as my son. However, I immediately felt better when I realized that at Summit, Kindergarten is still Kindergarten! It is a developmentally appropriate environment where the academics are geared to each child’s ability. If a child is reading, they will be supported and encouraged. If they are not yet reading, that’s fine, too. No one panics. It’s very refreshing to know the teachers support and teach children on many levels of the academic spectrum and everyone is considered developmentally normal.
Also, the Dining Room for Young Children, where children in grades K – 2 eat lunch, rivals something you would see on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution! Chef Susan Pfaff serves nutritionally balanced meals that satisfy all palates, while serving a few things every day that ensure everyone can find something to enjoy. To Chef Pfaff, courage is tasting the vegetable before making the face. The children do not have to love each dish they are served, but they are asked to try a “kindergarten bite” of it. To my surprise, my son now enjoys veggie dogs and Chinese dumplings!
Thus far, my son’s favorite things about Kindergarten are playing on the balcony and hanging out with his Big Friend, a fifth grader who is his mentor and buddy for the year. But don’t take his word for it. If your child is a rising Junior Kindergartner or a rising Kindergartner, please join us for our “Come Take A Peek” experience on Sunday, April 18 at 2:00 p.m. Children will have the opportunity to experience a condensed version of a typical day, including classroom activities, music, P.E., and storytelling time in the library. As a parent, you will have a chance to observe your child participating in the magic ofSummit School! (Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register for Come Take A Peek.)