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Why Integrated Kindergarten?

By Ms. Kay (Primary Program Director)

Recently I had the opportunity to observe the IK program on Monday and Thursday afternoon. MAC uses the term Integrated Kindergarten for children in their Kindergarten year and these children are typically five years old by October 31st. On Monday and Thursdays the IK children come together in their cohort and spend additional time in music, art, literacy and Spanish. I often hear throughout the hallway the older children sharing their excitement for the afternoon with their peers and teachers. It is this same excitement I saw when observing these activities.

I hope many of you have noticed the art displayed throughout MAC. Ms. Emily has a beautiful way of presenting open-ended art ideas and guiding children to reach their potential in art. To me, this is how art should be “taught.” There is no such thing as project art, where all children make the same thing and it all looks the same. On the day I observed children were creating their own wordless picture books using collage. This activity directly relates to their literacy group where they are exploring looking at pictures and predicting what a book is about. Many children chose to create wordless books with various animals.

Ms. Robin was practicing rhythm with the children using various instruments. They also had opportunities to sing alone, which helps each child build confidence in their music skills. I could not help and think that if I was taught rhythm or explored my voice at a young age maybe I would have a different outlook on my music abilities. I was in awe of how the children participated and the amount of music skills they have already learned as they showed me how they keep rhythm using single and double notes. Ms. Robin is one talented music teacher!

 Ms. Beth was working with children on their literacy skills. This literacy group only enhances the Montessori primary language curriculum. Ms. Beth is both Montessori trained in primary and elementary so she has a wealth of experience to help guide children gain the confidence in their literacy skills to begin to read. Ms. Beth was leading a small group and reading predictable reader books and   emphasizing rhyming words. The children then paired up and practiced reading their books to one another.

I spent time in Spanish and Ms. Pia’s love for learning was contagious throughout la sala. The children were working on their masks celebrating the upcoming Dia de los Muertos and were practicing naming objects (in Spanish) in the classroom such as eraser, desk, chair and pencil. The children are putting together their own Spanish books, therefore they are creating their own Spanish vocabulary books to reference. The Spanish class ended with a dynamic counting song and every child was singing joyfully!

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