Bridge-Kindergarten Program

MCPC's Bridge-K is a play-based program that folds in learning opportunities for kindergarten readiness.  We believe that a great deal of learning happens for children through play. They make order of the world and absorb concepts. Play allows them to gain mastery of themselves, a key element in kindergarten readiness.  Our program emphasizes social skills – we want children interacting and learning to get along with their peers in a way that helps them develop meaningful friendships in preschool and beyond. We actively teach problem-solving skills and emotional literacy, helping children use their words and senses to express themselves and listen to others.

How We Play

Bridge-K combines free play and teacher-led activities, whole group learning and small group time. When given free play time, many children will choose to play actively outdoors; that is what they need to do. The running, jumping, swinging, etc. will expend an abundance of energy (helping focus them later during times they need to have “quiet bodies) and prepare them for academic work later.

Pretend play, mixed in with outdoor activity or indoor fantasy scenarios, is also often the activity of choice for preschool children.  This is truly what preschoolers do best, and pretend play translates directly into the understanding of symbols required for literacy and math.  A child pretending to run the construction site, with a hard hat and toy trucks, might be given a clipboard with pencil and paper to “write” the work of the day. A group of friends running a “restaurant” can take orders, write a menu, or even color the placemat with crayons like at a real kid-friendly restaurant. Play is integral to meshing the child’s sense of self in the world, and is a great confidence builder for many children looking to expand their comfort zones, ways of being social, and exploration of games with rules or boundaries.

“Pre-Academic” Prep for Kindergarten

Bridge-K includes exploration of “pre-academics” through learning letters and developing phonemic awareness, counting and doing math, exploring science concepts, moving our bodies to music or rhythm, and playing games with rules. We line up for circle, we have classroom jobs, we sit at circle, we prepare ourselves for kindergarten by developing a familiarity with the rituals of the kindergarten classroom. Our ideal is for a child to get to kindergarten, look around at the numbers, the letters, the lining up, the raising of hands at circle and think, “Oh, yeah! I know this stuff! I GOT THIS.” We are not trying to replace kindergarten, rather we want our students to enter with a sense of confidence and low stress about moving into the new world of elementary school.

We like to make our learning time as fun and engaging as possible—the students have “center time” three days a week, which include learning games (alphabet bingo, Lego math, I Spy letter games on the floor, puzzles, dice rolling/counting) as well as extra art (marbling paper, writing notes for friends’ mailboxes, creating books). Centers time give children a quieter, focused small group experience with changing partners, a teacher or parent at the ready to facilitate, and some good practice for the task of being attentive and focused when necessary.

Along with centers, we fold in other activities like reading stories, cooking, carpentry, board games, art projects, science experiments, and more.  We learn about the world through weekly themes (going longer if the interest is there) that incorporate some of our art, writing, reading, pretend play, and movement.

How We Are With Children

We utilize an anti-bias curriculum, with an appreciation for diversity.  We talk about differences and similarities, and present curriculum that help children to understand the world we live in.

MCPC’s discipline policy relies on positive reinforcement and redirection.  We give children clear limits.  We believe that children need understanding and guidance when they are learning to handle limits and manage emotions. When children are in conflict with another child, we work with them to develop conflict resolution skills.

There are mixed-age groups and a larger number of kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the Bridge-K combines with a segment of the preschool (during Extended Day, 12-3 p.m.). This more play-intensive time increases the socialization options and broadens the range of ages the Bridge-K children will interact with to more closely resemble the possible age-span of public kindergarten.

Parent participation is a key component of MCPC.  We believe that children’s learning is increased when parents take an active role in the classroom. Parents attend meetings in the beginning of the year to help them learn the ways we feel are most effective in helping our students at school. Parents drive on field trips, work once every 2-3 weeks, and help out with curriculum prep when needed.