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From the Archives: The Kinder Experience, 2016

Jennifer Stewart | Brevard, NC | January 2016

If you haven’t had the opportunity to sit in “the invisible chair” and observe the natural flow of this energetic, yet peaceful classroom, please schedule a time soon. You will likely see Kinders acting as leaders in the classroom.

Tina says, “It is interesting to note that while the children are aware of the age differences, for the most part it doesn’t change how they interact with one another. They learn to play and work together naturally in ways that support each child in her own development. A Kinder may run a little slower to allow that Owlet to keep up. While sharing materials the Kinder will do the parts that the younger child isn’t able to, yet in such a way that it is a sharing of knowledge without being condescending.”

And Tina says the younger Owls respond to this with a “desire to learn to do something new because of seeing another child do it rather than coming from a place of seeking approval from someone for accomplishing a new skill.”

Many parents say a key factor in choosing the MSCS education is the emphasis on relationship skills. Elizabeth Jackson, mother of Kinder Isla, writes, “We love the social skills she is learning in understanding her emotions and those around her, dealing with conflict among her peers through peace talks, and other tools to help maintain balance at such a young age.”

Kimberley Austin, mom of Kinder Willow John, says, “I believe that kindergarten is a critical time for child development and growth in areas that do not focus on reading, writing and arithmetic but rather in social skills, relationship building, problem solving and exploring. When I see Willow John setting up her animals in a circle and reading to them or having them engage in a “peace talk”, I know she is gaining skills that will be invaluable to her throughout the rest of her life. How many 5 year olds are given the opportunity to learn the vocabulary and practice of proactive problem resolution–things that many adults don’t know–how to be wrong, how to communicate apology and forgiveness, how to find your voice, empathy?”

Tina sums it up beautifully, “While the academics and thematic units are present, the real learning of the Owl Class is about how to be a member of community while being an individual. There is just so much that the children begin to learn and practice: self-care, Grace and Courtesy, cooperation, compassion, conflict resolution, public speaking, etc.”

The kindergarten year at MSCS is a time for kids to continue developing critical social skills through play and interaction and to build confidence in themselves and their abilities. This sets the stage for the Acorn years, which continue to build on these skills while adding a more academic focus.

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