Pre-K First Day of School
September 20, 2012
Pre-Kindergarten Director Tina Riddle received a phone call from an anxious parent mid-morning on the first day of school this week. After comforting this parent that their child was not crying and in fact, was having a good time exploring the classroom, Tina snapped a photo and emailed it to the new student’s parents. “Just watching the friendships that develop between the children that are new to Walden School and the older, returning students is one of my favorite parts of a new school year,” said Tina. “How the older students take over a leadership role in the classroom, showing the new students how to pass the snack, where to get the juice, how to bring the attendance folder up to the office, is fun to see.” At Walden School multi-age classrooms deliberately offer opportunities for children to develop relationships with more than just their immediate peer-age group. Tina continued, “Pre-Kindergarteners exude excitement when they see how independent they get to be. Whether it is pouring their own milk or cleaning up after themselves, children want to take care of each other and their environment.”
Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Kristin Quiros has been teaching for twenty years and she knows how hard it can be to say good-bye to parents on that first day of school. With caring encouragement and a nurturing classroom environment, Kristin worked hard to ensure a smooth transition for her beginning students. “I introduced the way we use our classroom, pointing out the different sections for science, math, books, and the arts area and then the children easily chose a project to work on and started playing and interacting with the materials and with each other,” she said. “I want them to feel comfortable and own the space. This is their classroom and they get to explore and experiment with all these great options and choices.” For the new students, during these first weeks Walden School teachers focus on helping youngsters feel like they are part of the community and help them take ownership of the classroom so they recognize school as their place.
Tina’s class toured the school campus on their first day and visited some of the older students. One second-grader greeted Walden’s youngest pupils with a big smile and a handshake for each child. In Kristin’s class, a second-year Pre-Kindergarten student quickly volunteered to help a new friend with a challenging puzzle. Identifying that a fellow learner needed assistance, this youngster exemplified the collaboration that is fostered at Walden School. As the first day drew to a close and children were lining up for dismissal, one boy queried, “Do we get to come back tomorrow?”