During the Grade R year, the groundwork and preparation for the primary school is achieved using enhanced and slightly advanced activities including movement, art, drama, speech and crafts in the acquisition of pre-academic skills.
Going to school on a working farm has so many advantages! The children go on nature walks, increasing their awareness of the world around them as they witness first-hand the seasonal changes. It is also a good time to work on the children’s gross motor skills when they have to balance over a fallen tree trunk, jump across a water stream or run flat out in a field.
The children follow a weekly rhythm that is made up as follows:
- They paint, draw, bake, garden and create beautiful beeswax figurines on the respective days of the week.
- During their daily circle time they sing songs, recite rhymes and play games. All these movements are purposefully planned by the teacher to develop both fine- and gross motor skills, rhythm and language in a playful manner.
- Seasonal crafts created by able little fingers provide joy, help develop their fine motor skills and provide a sense of accomplishment once a project is finished.
- Story time aids in developing descriptive language, listening skills and an enhanced vocabulary. The teacher tells each story as opposed to reading it, drawing each child in by using rich language to ‘embroider’ the story’s imagery in their mind’s eye. Every so often the children get to act out the story, or watch the story as a puppet show.
- Free play inside or outside takes a prominent role at The Kindergarten. It is a child’s job to play. It is during play that they live out and develop their social skills, problem solving and teamwork and many other life skills.
Our six year olds are still experiencing life through their vivid imaginations and we foster this as much as possible by the stories we tell using rich, descriptive language. The groundwork for literacy for Class 1 is done by emphasising correct speech (stories, songs and rhymes), identifying sounds and developing their hearing and listening skills.
Although we do not give any formal academic instruction before Grade 1, we do prepare our Grade Rs for Grade 1 through play, and by following the teacher’s example.
They will play different counting games as a basis for numeracy in Grade 1. Activities such as baking day (when ingredients are measured), or laying the table (counting enough cutlery and crockery) are all used to further the children’s counting and maths skills.
Crafts are tailored to help develop their fine motor skills, preparing their hands for writing in Class 1. They might do simple sewing, French knitting or wet felt work to strengthen the muscles in their hands and help with hand-eye co-ordination.
At The Kindergarten, situated in the east of Pretoria, we aim to address the child’s inner life and specific stage of development. We prepare them for going to Grade 1 and ‘big school’ without compromising their play time or dampening their imaginative life.
To better understand your pre-schooler, click Here for an interesting article on the development taking place during their sixth year.