Importance of Pre-Kindergarten

Teacher teaching all Pre-Kindergarten students

What Is The Difference Between Preschool & Pre-Kindergarten?

Essentially, the goals of both preschool and pre-Kindergarten are the same – to get your preschool or pre-Kindergarten age child ready for kindergarten. One of the main differences between a preschool and a pre-Kindergarten classroom is the age and developmental abilities of the children who participate.

Depending on state licensing regulations and enrollment needs, the appropriate age for preschool is usually from 2 ½ to 4 ½ years old. Regardless of the child’s age, the learning is very similar, with emphasis on learning ABC’s, numbers to ten, and how to interact with other kids.

During the early preschool years, children develop vocabulary and language skills, are introduced to a wide variety of materials, and begin to learn how to work with others as well as independently. Both preschool and pre-Kindergarten classrooms emphasize learning through hands-on experiences, and exploration.

Pre-Kindergarten acts as the essential bridge between preschool and kindergarten and are designed for children who are 4 or 5 years old. While each child develops at his or her own pace, activities in pre-Kindergarten programs are focused on developing the skills and more advanced learning they’ll need to ensure success in kindergarten.

Why Is Pre-Kindergarten Important?

Research has shown that young children who participate in high-quality pre-Kindergarten programs enter school more ready to learn than their peers. A study in Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia found that children in state pre-Kindergarten scored 31 percent higher on vocabulary tests and 44 percent higher on math tests than those of non-participants, placing them three to four months ahead of non-participants.

According to the Urban Child Institutes, school readiness, i.e., the cognitive, behavioral and social skills that help a child perform at an appropriate level in school, is a good predictor of long-term achievement. Research suggests that there are four key dimensions of readiness – language and literacy, thinking skills, self-control, and self-confidence.

When these four foundations are strong, a child is ready to thrive in kindergarten and beyond. When a child enters kindergarten lacking the necessary skills to be successful, it’s much hard for him or her to keep up with their peers and move forward.

Pre-Kindergarten is also useful because many students need an extra year to get used to a classroom, and an educational environment where they can get excited about learning. Pre-Kindergarten can help a child develop confidence, making it easier to master concepts and learn to cooperate with their peers.

If you’re interested in a private school pre-Kindergarten program, consider our Strelitz Early Years Program. Our teachers guide students in a loving and nurturing environment which encourages language development, creativity, logical thinking, problem-solving and exploration of the world.

We know Early Childhood Education teaches emotional and social lessons along with basic educational skills. That’s why the staff, administration, and teachers of Strelitz International Academy believe in inquiry-based education rather than the standardized curriculums used in public school.

It’s also a reason why we chose to meet the rigorous demands necessary to become an International Baccalaureate (IB®) school, offering their Primary Years Programme (PYP) to students between the ages of 3 and 12 (kindergarten through 5th grade).

We invite you to come join us, learn more about our curriculum and our dedication to helping children learn so we can get their journey started. Give us a call at 757-424-4327.

Learning Goes Beyond the Classroom in the Four Year Old Pre-K Class at SIA

Four Year Old kids wearing custom masks at SIA

A long standing tradition of our EY4 program has been the Family of the Week project. The idea of setting aside a time for our students to share themselves and their families with the rest of their class has been in place since 2004.

In this pandemic era it has become particularly meaningful since parents are not able to be in the classroom meeting teachers and other students.

With the help of technology, parents, siblings and extended family members have been able to join in, via Google Meet on the big screen, to be a part of our classroom communities.

As one of the best affordable private schools in Virginia Beach and an International Baccalaureate Candidate School, the Family of the Week program has seamlessly integrated into the transdisciplinary unit Who We Are under the central idea: Families Cultivate Identities. Within this central idea students pursue various inquiries about customs and traditions within families. They learn about roles within the family and also about hobbies and careers.

During Family of the Week, our students have learned about making art out of reclaimed materials from a very crafty Bubby (grandmother). Another grandmother shared her artistry with knitting.

Parents have shared their careers; our students have met air force pilots, various kinds of doctors, a pair of mom and dad gemologists, an artist and countless other members of many professions. The students have had fun meetings with extended family members like cousins and aunts.

One aunt was an Occupational Therapist who they learned helps kids move better during daily activities. In another family they met a cousin who is another kind of community helper, a TSA, who helps keep airports safe.

One of our NATO families stationed here in Hampton Roads from Germany shared their RV travels in several states since they have been in our country. Another family from Germany shared pictures of castles they had visited in their home country.

One NATO family stationed here in Hampton Roads from Norway shared a great many facts about their native country that led to an inquiry about trees indigenous to their homeland. Sometimes our students tour their classmates’ rooms via the internet. One class found out that their friend had an amazing collection of dinosaur models at home! Many times families share favorite books, foods and hobbies.

The Family of the Week program has developed and evolved over the years into a very enriching addition to the learning activities in our EY4 classrooms, an essential part of an IB PYP school in Virginia Beach. To assess how family shapes our identities, our students created people figures representing themselves using words and pictures that illustrate how their experiences with their families have influenced who they are.

As a means of finding the connection between their families and their own identities, some classes have started identifying International Baccalaureate learner attributes they gained from parents like being a thinker or a risk taker, or open minded. By sharing their families with us our young friends are sharing themselves and it has been a wonderful experience for everyone.

Just a few spots left for the 2021-2022 School Year! For more information or to schedule a tour of one of the best private elementary schools in Virginia Beach, please contact Carin Simon, Admissions Director: 757.424.4327. SIA is centrally located near Chesapeake and Norfolk.

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