Emergent Kindergarten Program for 4-Year Olds at WES

By Jayna Smith

Woodland Elementary School offers a year round, full day 4 year-old program as diverse in scope as the children enrolled in the program.  “The program is geared towards each child to develop habits of observation, questioning, listening and an awareness of feelings, as well as promoting academics and school procedures,” Principal Jane Smith said. 

 The curriculum focuses on developmentally appropriate social concepts, math, reading and writing.  The children also take part in art, music and physical education classes.  “A program such as ours prepares children to utilize their intellectual and creative abilities in future learning tasks and decisions,” stated Smith.  “Each child learns at a different rate in a different way, but every day is a day of learning because our program is tailored to meet individual needs, not the other way around.”

 The student day is composed much like other elementary classes, with full group instruction followed by centers that allow children to work independently and in small groups.  The centers are teacher-made to ensure maximum challenge and interest to each child with emphasis on letter recognition, counting, rhyming, writing and patterning.  Students are immersed in literacy experiences, read alouds, print awareness and phonemic relationships, along with cooperative and dramatic play.  Mathematical concepts, counting and number relationships are enhanced.     

 The 4 year-olds can ride the bus both to and from school, and have lunch with the Kindergarten children in the lunchroom.   Mrs. Bonnie Troiani, whom many remember in the past working in the day care program in Baileyville, is the staff person responsible for the program.  One big difference in the 4 year-olds’ program is that the children are required to nap in the afternoon.   Mrs. Troiani says that there are very few children who are not ready for this nap, and are willing to lie on their blankets and pillows for over an hour. 

 The program is fully accredited through the Department of Education.  It is in its eighth year at Woodland Elementary School.