7 Activities and Play Ideas for Kindergarten Students

Play Ideas for Kindergarten Students

Activities and play are essential for the growth and development of a child. With fun play, children create the foundation for their educational development. These fun play ideas for kindergarten classes are designed to coincide with their developmental stage and help them gain new skills. At Strelitz International Academy, we offer our kindergarten students the opportunity to direct their own play and learn at their own pace. This learning experience helps set the stage for success in our IB PYP School in Norfolk and any further educational exploits.

How Play Helps with Childhood Development

Children are naturally motivated to play and explore new things. As they play, children use their senses to explore their environment, learn new things, communicate their feelings, and gain new skills. It is for this reason that play-based learning is incredibly important to the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of children. By playing, children develop a sense of things around them through inquiry, exploration, interaction, and problem-solving. To help encourage this development, learning environments should be geared towards a student-led, teacher-supported approach that predominantly occurs through play-based learning.

Different Play Ideas for Kindergarten Students

In order to help encourage play-based learning, we have put together a list of some fun play ideas for kindergarten students. These ideas are geared towards developing their physical, cognitive, social, and emotional needs.

Pretend Play

Playing pretend can help to build a child’s sense of abstract thinking. By developing imaginative situations and scenarios, children can develop a sense of abstract subjects such as numbers, symbols, and language. You can encourage play by setting up stations where children can dress up, pretend to cook, play as a vet, and more. A shopping store station can also encourage the use of numbers, writing, and more.

Explore Something New

Exploring a new object, thing, or area is a wonderful way to help children understand the world around them and how it works. This can be as simple as playing outside, burying toys in a sandbox, setting up a sensory box, or putting out a pool. These activities encourage children to discover hidden things, play around in different environments, and learn cause and effect. This helps to develop their cognitive skills as well as their general and fine motor skills. 

Playdough Activities for Kindergarten

As we mentioned above, sensory objects, toys, and bins are a key way to get children talking and communicating their feelings. Playdough is a fun, relatively, mess-free activity that stimulates the senses. Molding, cutting, squishing, and pulling also help children strengthen their hand muscles and develop fine motor skills. 

Read Together

Reading is another way children learn language, symbols, and comprehension skills. Books can even take on an instructional role—teaching children their ABC’s or numbers in a fun and unique way. By reading out loud, children get to experience the book in a fun and engaging way, while also learning communication and language skills.

Drawing/Painting

Similar to playdough activities for kindergartners, drawing and painting activities help introduce creativity and abstract thinking to their lives. By mixing colors, using pencils, paintbrushes, and pens, children develop various skills that are useful in later educational topics.

Blocks/Puzzles

Building with blocks and using puzzles are a great way for children to learn and recognize shapes, sizes, and colors. These types of games help children with their spatial awareness, logical thinking, and organization skills. All of which are needed in scientific, technological, and mathematical classes later in life. 

Music/Singing/Dancing

Another engaging way to encourage language development is through music. Whether your child is introduced to an instrument, learning a song, or dancing to a beat, they are developing mathematical skills in a creative way. Plus, fun songs can be a great way to introduce concepts such as counting, rhyming, and literacy.

Prepare for the Next Stage of Schooling

In addition to helping with development, play-based learning helps children prepare for the next stage of their schooling career. Developing fine motor skills helps children to be prepared to use pencils, pens, and other materials in the classroom. Mathematical and language skills set up the foundation for reading, writing, and basic math. Playing pretend helps children regulate their emotions and express them, while also encouraging them to interact with other children and developing social skills. All of these activities that are seemingly just play, are actually incredibly beneficial for setting your child up for success in their later education. 

IB Primary Years Program (PYP) Schools near Norfolk

Are you interested in enrolling your child in a child-directed, teacher-supported environment? Consider sending your child to Strelitz International Academy. We offer a kindergarten environment that sets them up for success in a way that is developmentally appropriate. Our kindergarten graduates learn and develop in a way that sets them up for later success in our IB program elementary school in Norfolk, VA. Discover how the IB program works and learn more about our kindergarten program by visiting our website. 

Are you ready to increase your child’s long-term success? Speak with the Director of Admissions and schedule a tour today by calling us at 757-424-4327.

How Private Kindergarten Programs Have Changed In Past 10 Years

Kindergarten students sitting on the floor listening to teacher

The private kindergarten school system has come a long way over the past ten years in developing a teaching curriculum that works for children. As the world shifts to a more child-focused teaching environment, private schools are leading the charge. In this article, Strelitz International Academy, a private kindergarten near Chesapeake, VA , reviews the ways that kindergarten has changed over the past ten years.

Kindergarten 10 Years Ago

Within the past ten years, school programs and curriculums have evolved to meet the needs of childhood development. As with many psychological discoveries, new information and techniques are learned every day. Because of this, teachers and administrators are constantly changing school curriculums to meet the needs of their students.

Public Kindergarten

In the public school system, we have seen this develop through the switch from the No Child Left Behind Act (2001) to the new Every Student Succeeds Act (2015). Up until recently, it was standard for kindergarten students to be pushed hard academically. Students were expected to leave kindergarten with enough knowledge to succeed in first grade. This rigorous academic expectation was made at the detriment of the child’s development of inquiry, social skills, and imagination. While this academic approach was effective, it was not the most effective approach.

Private Kindergarten Program

In the private school system, the development of learning objectives and curriculums has followed a similar path. In more recent years, a 2018 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics demonstrates that students learn best through hands-on, inquiry-based learning. This shift towards a more student-centered learning environment has been fully implemented in the private kindergarten program at Strelitz International Academy.

Private Kindergarten Program Now

Unlike public schools, private schools are not directed to teach a specific curriculum by the state. Because of this, private schools are able to stay on top of the most recent childhood development research, and implement it into our learning environment. This has allowed us to switch much faster to a student-led learning environment and perfect this style of teaching much quicker.

Private schools are able to offer student-led learning activities instead of relying on memorization techniques. Similarly, students are not required to meet standardized testing measures and are instead encouraged to learn and explore things that interest them. This provides an opportunity for children to learn basic motor skills in kindergarten without relying on outdated methods of teaching.

International Baccalaureate

One of the ways that private kindergarten programs have created this environment is through the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. This program uses the inquiry-based learning approach and encourages kindergartners to explore, play, and learn in a way that suits them. This teaching style has proven to be effective in developing well-rounded, high-achieving, global citizens that exceed inside and outside the classroom.

Your child’s success story starts in the classroom, you want to set them up for success with the right balance of values and academics. International Baccalaureate students are in an environment where their interests and strengths are fostered. This allows them to realize what they learn in the classroom is a reflection of the world around them.

Private Kindergarten in Virginia Beach

Are you looking for a private kindergarten in Virginia Beach that offers the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program? Strelitz International Academy is the private school for your child! Our team of teachers, administrators, and staff are dedicated to cultivating an environment when your little one can thrive. Our goal is to set them up for success. Not only for their goals as a student, but also for their goals as an individual.

You can read more about our Primary Years Program on our website and discover how your child can thrive. We are currently enrolling for the 2022-2023 school year and would love to see your kindergartner walking our halls.

To find out more and schedule a campus tour, please call 757-424-4327.

6 Reasons Why Crafts Are a MUST in Kindergarten

Is your refrigerator filling up with your kindergartener’s masterpieces? Have you started an archive of drawings and projects to save and smile over for years to come? Preserving memories is one of the best parts of being a parent, but have you ever considered how a private kindergarten school like Strelitz International Academy(SIA) uses art projects to help child development?

Here are 6 reasons why craft activities are essential for kindergarteners, both at home and in the classroom:

Improves hand-eye coordination and strengthens fine-motor skills

To create art, kindergarteners learn how to hold art materials such as pencils, pastels, brushes, as well as work with materials like clay, sand, and mud. Handling safety scissors to practice cutting straight lines, filling in a coloring book page, or learning how to draw circles are other excellent ways for your child to develop the hand and finger muscles that strengthen and support fine-motor skills. Arts and crafts also improve a child’s hand-eye coordination.

Allows for self-expression

Young children sometimes don’t know how to communicate clearly about their feelings. Arts and crafts are a way for them to explore their emotions as well as provide a safe space where they can express their difficulties and their dreams. There’s a reason why art therapy is so effective – creating something all by yourself builds healthy self-esteem.

Provides a way to socialize

Art and crafts activities can bring together children, spark friendships, and help them develop an appreciation for each other. They also build communication skills by sharing and talking about their creations with their peers.

Develops decision making

Creating art and craft involves a lot of simple and complex decisions, and also can require problem-solving. Some examples are deciding what colors to use, what tools are best for the project, or how much clay will they need.

Expands vocabulary

Art can make learning new words fun. Absorbing the names of different shapes, colors, and materials as part of craft activities doesn’t feel like a lesson.

Offers an alternative to screens

Using paper, clay, sand, or other materials gives children a way to learn, experiment, and stay occupied that is much more hands-on, not to mention causes less eye strain, than a phone or tablet. Arts and crafts keep kindergarteners engaged in a healthy way.

The invaluable skills learned through arts and crafts activities will not only give your child a head start in school, they’ll also help them throughout their lives.

Children are more likely to learn listening skills and absorb how to follow multi-step directions if what they’re doing is fun and engaging. At SIA Kindergarten, craft projects are as much a part of every student’s day as practicing handwriting and other fine motor skills. These activities are usually based on the lessons taught through stories combined with character-building discussions.

For example, our kindergarteners learn how to tell stories themselves by first hearing a story, making puppets based on some of the characters, creating a schedule from the story, and finally, putting all of the events together into a sequence.

Our kindergarten students also learn the Hebrew letters by learning a vocabulary word associated with each letter. Coloring and decorating each letter lesson helps with mastery.

Are you looking for a private kindergarten near Chesapeake or in Virginia Beach for your child?

Strelitz International Academy is well known in southeastern Virginia for providing a stellar private school education program within a warm and nurturing environment. As you can see, arts and crafts activities are an essential part of our unique curriculum, as well as our team of exemplary teachers, staff, and administrators.

We are currently enrolling for the 2022-2023 school year, and would love to welcome your child to SIA. To find out more and schedule a campus tour, please call 757-424-4327. Find out what other parents have to say about SIA here.

Helping Kindergarteners Cope with School Anxiety

kindergarteners doing anxiety-free activities

Almost every parent has heard “I don’t want to go to school!” accompanied by sudden complaints about a body part hurting, or feeling sick. If you let your child stay home, these symptoms disappear like magic. This is a normal, if annoying situation if it only happens occasionally, but it becomes a regular issue, this may be a sign of a deeper anxiety. Luckily, there are several ways you can help your kids handle anxiety related to school.

The first step, and a good idea in general, is to listen. Acknowledge what your child is feeling so they’ll know it’s always okay to come talk to you. Be careful that you don’t dismiss a concern (“No need to worry. “You’ll be fine!”) or ask questions suggesting you’re anticipating that your child will be anxious (“Are you worried about going back to school?”). Remember that sometimes kids don’t expect you to fix a problem. They just want to feel listened to about whatever’s bothering them. In this case, all you need to do is validate their feelings (“I know this is hard”) and let them know you’re confident they can handle the situation themselves.

Once you know what’s going on, you and your child can work together on a plan. Ask “Is there anything in particular that’s worrying you?” “How can we make things easier? “Is there anyone else, like a friend or other family you’d like to talk to about this?” Make it clear that, while you’ll do everything you can to offer support, ultimately your child’s job is to go to school, and staying home is not an option.

There might be something that’s happened recently that could be contributing to the anxiety, such as an illness or death in the family, or a fight with a friend. Anxiety is also often the result of not enough sleep or improper eating.

Finding solutions can give children the confidence to deal with worries about stressful situations, and feeling in control will make your child feel more independent. Most children are extremely resilient and will be just fine once they get through an adjustment period.

As the most important role model for your child, don’t forget to lead by example when it comes to self-care. If you’re feeling exhausted or upset yourself, you might be inadvertently giving off an anxious vibe. Small things that create a brief transition, like a few deep breaths or getting a drink of water can be very helpful. Encourage your kids to join you in healthy coping activities, like getting a drink of water, going for a walk, or blowing bubbles, which usually makes everyone, no matter how young or old, feel better.

Some worry is natural after any transition — especially these days when children are being asked to do many new things all at once. But if your child refuses to go to school on a regular basis or has problems staying in school, school anxiety (also known as school refusal) may be the cause.

Often a symptom of a deeper problem, anxiety-based school refusal affects 2 to 5% of children aged 5 – 6, and/or 10-11, usually at times of stressful transition, such as a move or a new school. Children who suffer from school refusal tend to have average or above-average intelligence. But if their fears keep them away from school and friends for any length of time, counseling is a helpful solution.

At the Strelitz International Academy, we understand that school can be stressful for students. All students participate in recess daily and take brain breaks in class in between subjects. SIA school counselors are available to meet with students when they need an outlet to talk. In addition, we have a partnership with Jewish Family Service for students and families who need further resources.

Are You Looking for a Private Kindergarten School in Virginia Beach or near Chesapeake, VA?

Strelitz International Academy is one of the best private schools in southeastern Virginia. All of the instructors in our IB® Primary Years Programme (PYP), make compassionate instruction a priority. We believe your child will flourish in our environment, thanks to smaller class sizes, a unique curriculum, and exemplary teachers, staff, and administrators. Our goal is to put your child on the path to a lifelong love of learning and educational excellence.

We invite you to visit and learn more about our curriculum. Click here to find out more, or please give us a call at 757-424-4327.

Is Your Kid Ready for Kindergarten?

The first day of kindergarten is a major milestone for young students and their parents. You might feel a little anxious as the big day approaches, and unsure if your little one is ready. What skills should your child have before making the leap to kindergarten?

Whether your child will be attending a public or private kindergarten (like Strelitz International Academy’s Early Years Program in Virginia Beach, VA), there are skills that, if mastered before school starts, will make the transition to kindergarten life much smoother.

Read on to learn some of the academic (and non-academic) activities your child should know before entering kindergarten.

Social/Emotional

– Separates from parents or caregivers easily.
– Adapts to new situations with relative ease.
– Sits quietly without interrupting.
– Expresses basic needs.
– Can play independently with other kids
– Works cooperatively and shares during playtime.
– Exhibits personal-care independence (i.e. using a tissue, washing hands, drinking from a water fountain).
– Knows when to say please, thank you, and excuse me.

Language & Reading

– Knows first and last name and can recognize the first name in print.
– Knows at least one parent’s first and last name, and can repeat home address, birthday, and an emergency phone number.
– Recognizes some or all alphabet letters, both uppercase and lowercase (doesn’t have to be in order), and can identify some letter sounds.
– Can say or sing the alphabet.
– Knows when two words rhyme.
– Recognizes familiar words and symbols, like stop signs.
– Pretends to read books.
– Offers input when being read to, and can tell personal stories.

Mathematics

– Recognizes and can say numbers 1-10 (not necessarily in order).
– Counts up to five objects.
– Arranges numbers in order from 1 to 5
– Identifies at least three shapes ( circle, square, triangle).
– Arrange objects in size order.

Reasoning

– Understands (and follows) directions with more than one step.
– Plays simple memory matching games.
– Classifies objects by physical features (i.e., color, shape, and size).
– Grasps the concepts of in/out, front/back, on/off, big/little, and up/down.
– Completes simple puzzles (up to four pieces).
– Identifies up to five colors.
– Understands the concept of cause and effect.
– Draws pictures to express ideas.

Physical Skills

– Holds a book and turns the pages.
– Builds with blocks.
– Opens lunch containers.
– Tries to tie their own shoes.
– Puts on and takes off a backpack.
– Uses buttons and zippers.
– Pour liquids without spilling.
– Uses pens, pencils, and art supplies with some control.
– Demonstrates gross motor skills like jumping, running, and/or bouncing a ball.

This list might seem overwhelming, but don’t worry! It’s totally normal for children not to have mastered every single skill before kindergarten. Plus, there’s a lot you can do to help them get up to speed.

Some Ways to Help Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten

As mentioned above, your child might not master certain skills on the list until kindergarten – and you’ll be amazed at how much material teachers cover in a single year. But there are activities you can do with your preschooler to help prepare for kindergarten. Start by picking a few items on the checklist to try during playtime, and make a note of any that need more practice.

Encourage Independence at Home.

It may be faster to pitch in and help, but let your child dress himself, use the toilet, wash his hands, put on and take off his coat, and put on and remove his own shoes.

Your child should know how to blow her nose and cough into her arm without assistance. But of course, always make sure she’s comfortable asking an adult for help when the going gets tough.

Teach Responsibility.

You may already be doing this, but give your child some jobs to do, like making the bed, putting away toys, or filling water bottles before a family hike. Having responsibilities will make your preschooler feel empowered, and sets the stage for what will be expected in kindergarten.

Stick to Routines.

This is critical since the typical kindergarten day is tightly regimented. Begin waking up at the same time every morning, getting dressed, and loading a backpack well before school starts in the fall to make the transition seamless.

Read Aloud.

Take your child to the library. Checking out books is a surefire way to spark an interest in reading. Read together every day, and read anything you see together, like billboards and signs. Knowing how to rhyme is extremely important when learning to read, so try checking out some nursery rhymes and Dr. Seuss’s books.

Lastly, prepare your child emotionally for this big change by talking about it frequently during the summer months.

Are You Looking into Private Kindergarten Schools in Virginia Beach?

Strelitz International Academy is a top private school in the Hampton Roads area of southeastern Virginia. We’ve developed a unique IB® Primary Years Programme (PYP) designed for 3- to 12-year-old elementary school students. We believe children thrive in smaller classes following a creative curriculum. We’re very proud of our experienced and compassionate teachers, staff, and administrators, all of whom hope to instill a love of learning that will last a lifetime.

Please contact us to schedule a tour and learn more about our programs. We’re eager to share what we offer! To find out more, call us at 757-424-4327.

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