Kindergarten - Grade One Flex Model
The Kindergarten-Grade One Flex Team is a union of the Kindergarten and First Grade programs. This cohesive, spiraling program diversifies the student experience both socially and academically. While the plan for the 2017-2018 school year is to have distinct Kindergarten and First Grade Classrooms, there will be ample opportunity for mixed-grade student interaction at these two grade levels.
Through varied hands-on, thematic units, students will access overarching questions at their level of ability and interest in areas ranging from social studies to reading. This model allows Berwick to build a stronger, larger learning community, yet provide more opportunities for differentiated instruction as well as collaboration and innovation within the Kindergarten and First Grade classrooms and within the Lower School as a whole.
Mixed-age grouping in predetermined settings and subject-area experiences proves to be very powerful for social and emotional learning. Younger children benefit from the positive modeling they witness from their older peers, and older peers have the opportunity to role model and take on leadership roles. The social and academic flexibility that this model provides allows children to develop their self-awareness, confidence, and risk-taking abilities.
How can we best foster our sense of wonder and our natural desire to learn in kindergarten, during the Lower School years and throughout our lives?
What are the lifestyle components that all children need, no matter where they live, in order to grow and to thrive?
Skills and Enduring Understanding:
Kindergarten students take formative steps into their Berwick experience. They arrive each day excited to join a joyful and nurturing environment that supports social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. We provide cross-divisional experiences that are designed to incorporate students into the Berwick community. The intentional balance of creative and academic instruction is presented to draw students in and immerse them in our thematic units of study. Our classroom structure provides students with the opportunity to gain independence and responsibility. We actively teach and support the children in the discovery of reading, writing, math, technology, science, and social studies in one of our well-equipped classrooms and offer the exploration of nature, art, innovation projects, dramatic play, games, puzzles, problem solving, and social/emotional learning in the adjoining classroom space. The students take ownership of their learning environment by fulfilling daily jobs and responsibilities, as well as moving through the classrooms with purpose, independence, and teacher support.
First grade students build a firm foundation in essential skills while continuing their enthusiastic approach to exploratory education developed in the previous Lower School grades. Our curriculum emphasizes reading, writing, and mathematics as being paramount components of a foundational program. Additionally, the students enthusiastically making many community connections with their first grade and kindergarten peers in social studies and other special projects. Instruction is differentiated to provide individualized levels of support and to meet the educational needs of our young learners. Small group literacy and math support classes ensure appropriate instruction for our students. Our goal is to foster confidence in academics and to develop foundational social skills across the curriculum.
In both kindergarten and first grade, our teaching team recognizes that academic and social/emotional development varies with each child. As such, our dedicated teaching team promotes a blend of small-group and full-class experiences and cooperative projects. Students continue their exploration and growth beyond the homeroom classroom as they enjoy full use of our campus facilities for art, health/wellness, library, music, physical education, science and world language classes. Additionally, the whole-child learning experience is sustained through a strong school and home partnership where teachers and parents work closely together.