The Allen Creek Fives class, which was piloted in 2007, provides an 18hr/wk learning environment targeted to the academic needs, as well as the developing social and emotional needs, of five-year-olds. The class serves as an alternative to a full day 35hr/wk kindergarten program.
Latest Research Supports our Approach
Research consistently shows that five-year-olds are developmentally closer to preschoolers than to elementary school age children. That is why, not long ago, kindergarten used to be a year designed for young childrens’ needs to be eased gradually into school routines, with an emphasis on play learning and learning socialization skills. It is only in recent years, because of new ideas that have emphasized early academic learning goals, that our demands on kindergarten-age children have dramatically shifted. Unfortunately this leaves many five year olds with less time for developing the essential skills of relating with others – of understanding, negotiation, compromise and collaboration. Yet relational and emotional skill development is among the best predictors of a child’s long-term success in development.
Emergent Curriculum and Project-Based Learning
The Allen Creek Fives Class is an excellent alternative to traditional kindergarten programs, and for young 5s, the year can serve as a pre-kindergarten year. With the freedom to follow their interests and passions, young learners develop academic skills by studying things in the world that interest them. Studies have shown that this type of learning, called “emergent learning,” is what best suits the five year old brain. If a child is passionate about birds, for example, he or she will want to see them, read about them, know how to write their names, draw pictures of them, categorize them, measure them, etc. In following and cultivating a child’s curiosity about a subject like birds, we are helping him or her develop, in a natural and unpressured way, skills of literacy, math, science, and geography.
Small Class Size
In the Allen Creek Preschool Fives Class, small class size (of up to 8 students) ensures that a productive learning atmosphere can be established in which individual ideas as well as group exchanges can be valued and emphasized. Fives learn best when they feel valued, needed and loved by the teacher, are confident the teacher will meet their basic needs promptly, and can count on the teacher to interact with them in ways that respect their individuality. The Fives Class teacher comes to know each child well, meeting them where they are developmentally, and enabling them to reach goals that are both challenging and pleasurable to attain. As was recently reported in the New York Times, having a positive relationship with one’s kindergarten teacher is correlated not only with school success during that year, but also tends to predict future school achievement as well.
The Importance of Creative Arts
The Allen Creek Preschool Fives Class incorporates a rich creative arts curriculum. A review of 62 studies, which focused on how dance, music, drama and visual arts affect student achievement, found that children who participate in a strong arts program are likely to do a better job at mastering reading, writing and math. A creative arts teacher works regularly with Fives Class children.
Family Consultant Support
A family consultant observes weekly in the Fives Classroom, and meets regularly with the Fives Class parent group to explore topics of interest to parents. The family consultants for all Allen Creek classrooms meet weekly to collaborate with the teacher group. Parents, the teacher and the family consultant collaborate and grow together as they learn ways to best understand and support the healthy development of Fives Class children.
Learn more about the Fives Class curriculum. The class meets M-TH, from 9-1:30pm. Snacks are included, and children bring sack lunches from home to eat with the class. 2012-13 tuition is $7,450 (payable in 10 installments of $745). Partial scholarships are available for qualifying families. For additional information, please contact Allen Creek Preschool’s head teacher Michelle Graves (MichelleG@allencreek.org), 734-994-3382. For registration information contact Jaime Byrd (email@example.com), 734-994-3382. We welcome you and your child to join us for an open house or a family art hour this spring! Upcoming dates are listed in the orange box on our home page, or follow the link to the school calendar. Please let Michelle know if you are interested in attending one of these, or in scheduling an appointment to learn more about the Fives class.