October 24, 2013
Walden School’s Pre-Kindergarten program helps children become confident learners and independent thinkers, while fostering social and emotional skills. “We want them to learn how to do things on their own and feel proud of their accomplishments,” says Pre-Kindergarten Director Tina Riddle. “They’re also learning how to be responsible members of the community, how to take care of one another and the environment.”
Both sections of Pre-K at Walden School are multi-age classrooms with children aged 3, 4, and 5 in each class. Teachers pay careful attention to a child’s readiness to learn new skills, challenging them when appropriate but not pushing them to master things they’re not yet ready to learn. This promotes both confidence and enthusiasm for learning.
At Walden, the outside environment is as important as the indoor classroom in terms of learning spaces. The playground offers a balance between natural and constructed areas in activities ranging from free play on outdoor equipment to painting, gardening and other pursuits.
And a focus on creative thinking and scientific inquiry permeates all aspects of learning. “Whenever we have class discussions, it’s not about finding a single, right answer,” says Tina, “It’s about being creative and using our minds – thinking about why things are the way they are or why we think they’re a certain way.” Building confidence starts with these conversations, as a class group, one-to-one, and in small groups. When children are able to express their needs, and live out self-help skills, they gain independence that in turn contributes to their budding confidence. Whether interacting with academic materials or practicing social skills, at Walden School, Pre-K students discover confidence.