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.
“Pre-Academic” Prep for Kindergarten
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.
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.
How We Are With Children
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
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
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.