The essential elements of our kindergarten class consist of real and authentic experiences of play and time in nature. The children engage in a wide range of activities, including handwork, beeswax modeling, coloring, domestic work, watercolor painting, storytelling, puppetry, plant dyeing, wood working, gardening, singing & creative movement, both inside their classroom and outside.
From October through April the children are outside longer, enjoying the benefits of mild Florida winters in play area complete with a fire pit for chillier days. Most importantly, they are learning how to be within a group – this includes compromise, conflict resolution, negotiation – the skills they will need throughout their lifetime.
To enhance listening skills simple songs and games are shared in English as well as foreign languages. Stories shared help the children to develop the ability to create mental images based on what they are hearing, which lays the groundwork for reading comprehension later on.
These real and authentic experiences cultivate joyfulness, musicality, sensitivity, pro-social skills, sensitivity to sounds and spoken language, physical health, emotional well-being, and good habit formation in the young child.
All of these cultivated qualities will support later direct academic learning.
The class adopts a daily, weekly and yearly rhythm, which brings the children great comfort – knowing what to expect and anticipate, so each day becomes known by the activity they do and/or the lunch they eat.
Monday becomes known as “Rice day” and “Painting day”. Tuesday is” Stone soup day”, as the activity that do that morning is cutting up vegetables to help make the soup, then they eat the savory vegetable soup later on at snack time. Similarly, Wednesday is “Bread day” as they prepare gluten-free bread in the morning and then enjoy the warm soft bread later on after their outdoor play. Thursday is both “Drawing day”, and Friday is “Oatmeal day” and “Handwork day”
All snacks are organic and also include vegetables and fruits to round out the meals. Water and herbal teas are offered to drink.
The children also participate in regular beach days at Siesta Key beach and take seasonal field trips, such as Fruitville Grove Farm, and Crowley Nature Center.
A typical day in the Starfish Kindergarten class goes as follows:
8:15-8:30 Children arrive at play garden
8:40 Gate closes
8:40-9:00 Circle Time
9:00-9:45 Outside free play and food preparation at picnic tables (cutting fruit and vegetables; making bread )
9:45-10:00 Clean up and walk over to the bathrooms
10:00-10:15 Bathroom turn and wash hands
10:15-10:45 Shared meal outside
10:45 -11:15: Activity of the day/ Project- time
11:15 -11:50: Indoor free play
12:00-12:15 Storytime/puppet play
12:15-12:30 Pickup, shoes and goodbye song
The Starfish Kindergarten program is offered as a 2, 3 or 5-day program, and is for ages 5 to 6 1/2.