K is for Kindergarten at CVC
By Marissa Carpenter, Director of Marketing and Enrollment
Imagine for a moment that you’re in a room full of twenty 5-year-olds. Not 25-year-olds. Twenty. Five-year-olds. Okay, now imagine you’re going to capture their attention and get them to grow academically, socially and spiritually (while they grow physically all on their own!) So you might agree with me when I say kindergarten teachers are pretty amazing. And our CVC kindergarten teachers get the chance to nurture them within the walls of the classroom, so that they feel comfortable here! It’s fun, it’s colorful, it’s noisy sometimes–it’s Kindergarten!
When your kindergartner comes home from school, there’s a good chance you’ll ask them a few questions about their day. Of course, we’ll leave the [big] feelings to them, but we know typically how the day went. Read on for the answers to all your burning questions about kindergarten at Central Valley Christian Schools!
HOW WAS YOUR DAY?
They might say: “It was great!”
What they mean: My teacher loves seeing me every day and I love going to school! Everyone is very positive and I’m figuring out self-control.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN TODAY?
They might say: “I don’t know!”
What they mean: I used my imagination a lot, and while I’m making sure I’m able to recite numbers 1-100, identify my colors, shapes, and letters, I am also figuring out how to be a good friend, remember to wash my hands before eating, and learn how to live out the Fruits of the Spirit in my social skills, conflict resolution and manners.
DID YOU MAKE ANY NEW FRIENDS?
They’ll say: “Sure. Maybe?”
What they mean: I have 2nd grade reading buddies on Fridays and I meet with the other two kindergarten classes to sing! So, on top of having lots of time with my class, I also get to interact with the other kindergarten classes, and read with some really cool 2nd graders.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE DAY?
They might say: “Recess! Snack time!”
What they mean: We did so much today, it’s hard to choose, but I love being able to get outside the classroom with food and friends! Here is our usual daily schedule:
- 8:10am school begins!
- Morning activity (hands-on activity or reinforcement review activity)
- Devotions, flag salutes, calendar time activities, singing/counting
- Math (basic addition/subtraction), count to 100, introduction to time & money
- Snack time and recess (student brings snack)
- Reading/phonics: journals, handwriting, worksheets (letter formation, dictation, rhyming)
- Sight words, basic sentence structure (with phonetic and comprehension emphasis)
- Lunch and recess
- 20-25 minutes of rest time (Sleep isn’t required–many students color or read. When we get closer to Christmas, rest time is minimized, and no longer needed later in the year.
- Bible: Old Testament stories and Christmas and Easter stories
- Memorize weekly verses, and all of Psalm 23 and 100, Luke 2 and The Lord’s Prayer
- Share time
- Science/Social Studies
- Seasons, weather, animals, plants, water, fire & safety, and dental health (hygienist visits)
- Center time/hands-on activity/art project/storytime
- Prayer and dismissal at 2:55pm. (5 extra minutes to get to transportation before grades 1-6)
WHAT DID YOU CREATE TODAY?
They might say: “A rainbow!”
What they mean: On top of our core subjects, we have weekly “specials” of music, PE, library, and one semester of art. For music, each class comes individually to learn music fundamentals, showcasing their skills at K/1st grade Christmas and spring programs, as well as Grandparents Day in the fall. Library time gives students a chance to check out books and enjoy storytime. Computer lab time gives students the opportunity to learn to use a mouse–something special in this age of touch screens! Every other week, students go to chapel with 1st-3rd grades to sing praise to God and hear a short message.
HOW MUCH DID YOU REST TODAY?
They might say: “Not a wink!”
What they mean: Some children will fall asleep, and some children will read or color during the 20-25 minutes of quiet time allotted at the beginning of the year, which is slowly minimized over the year, and then ultimately not needed by the end.
DO YOU KNOW WHERE TO GO AFTER SCHOOL?
They might say: “I get to wear a fun colored bracelet that tells me which bus to go on.”
They mean: Our kindergarten teachers walk students to the buses each afternoon, and teachers slowly give the kids more independence as the year goes on.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FIELD TRIPS COMING UP?
They might say: “So many! I’m so excited!”
They mean: Our class is going to go to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, a couple of plays, the pumpkin patch, and to the ImagineU Children’s Museum!
CAN I COME HELP OUT AT SCHOOL SOMETIME?
They might say: “Ooh, yes!”
They mean: We have a lot of volunteer opportunities at school. Our teachers schedule and manage lunch recess helpers, and will ask for help when they need it in the classroom. Our librarian will also reach out about the opportunity to be trained and help with checking books out.
DO YOU HAVE FUN DAYS COMING UP?
They might say: “Probably!?”
They mean: There are a ton of fun days, including 100 Day, Penguin Day, Crazy Sock Day, all of our holiday parties, and our Zoofari program! We also get to celebrate a different color each week for the first few months of school. (We wear the color of the week and eat snacks that match!)
But before you approach that very first, very fun day of Kindergarten, we’re sure you have a few questions for us at CVC.
WHAT SHOULD MY CHILD KNOW BEFORE KINDERGARTEN?
Age is the only requirement. Your child must be 5 years old on or before September 1 of the school year they begin. (For example, if they want to start the 2020 year, they must be 5 years old on or before 9/1/2020.)
HOW DO I APPLY?
Submit an online application at cvc.org/apply, submit all supporting documents, schedule an assessment for your student, and complete a new family interview with our principal and a board member.
AN ASSESSMENT? I THOUGHT THEY DIDN’T NEED TO KNOW ANYTHING?
That’s correct. This assessment will give us an accurate depiction of your child’s social and emotional development, as well as adaptive skills and readiness for kindergarten. If your child is ready for that, they’ll succeed in the kindergarten classroom, and with the assessment details, we can serve them as best as possible in the classroom come August!
That said, it is helpful for our incoming kindergartners to have some basic alphabet knowledge, especially the letters in their name, and being able to write their name, count and identify numbers up to 10. A lot of mathematical concepts will be covered at the start of kindergarten. Again, academic readiness is only part of what makes a child ready for kindergarten. Not all children develop at the same rate and will often grow in different areas at different times. We work closely with our parents and help them with tips on what they can work on after our spring assessments have taken place. Kindergartners are still very young, and we want parents to know that we care for them in all areas of their day, whether physical, emotional, spiritual, behavioral or academic needs.
I WANT MY CHILD TO BE CHALLENGED.
A student may come in knowing their letters and numbers and colors–the student next to them may be learning more basic things. Same topic, same focus, but they’ll be directed into levels they’re ready for. A student can be ready to learn and absorb, but head knowledge isn’t necessarily comprehension; so, a student can be challenged to focus on anything. Your child’s kindergarten year could be a chance to grow socially while still solidifying academic prowess. There is so much more to kindergarten than academics, especially when looking at our assessment tests: social, emotional, and adaptive skills can all show growth over the year!
HOW OFTEN DO YOU REVIEW CURRICULUM?
Like the rest of the elementary campus, our curriculum is reviewed regularly. Each subject (Science, Math, Bible, English Language Arts, and Social Studies) is on a 5-year review rotation. Each teacher serves on a curriculum committee. They spend time as a group reviewing the current curriculum and looking at possible replacements if needed. Members of the team may also visit other schools around the Valley to observe the implementation of a specific curriculum that the team is interested in.
WHY SHOULD I SEND MY CHILD TO CVC?
We get to teach and nurture the whole student. Yes, as a school, our primary objective is academic in nature–learning and growth. However, we are also able to address the child’s growth in other ways. So: we learn colors, words, numbers, math and literacy skills, science and social studies as well as faith, prayer and a very basic understanding of how we should (or shouldn’t) treat others!
Safety often comes up as a priority for our families. It is a priority for CVC as well. All of our volunteers are fingerprinted, we have a visitor check-in/out system, and we run safety drills regularly. Beyond being a safe location, we are a safe place because we are a Christian school–children can ask hard questions. Staff and families are on the same page. We have the same goal as you do for your child: growth!
Additionally, families choose CVC because of our commitment to faith integration, our academic excellence, caring staff, and our small class sizes. But even more so, the love of Jesus is poured into every heart on our campus, by our staff and faculty. The community, which can feel just like family after your child has attended 13 years of school here, surrounds each family in times of joy, heartbreak and uncertainty. CVC’s mission is to equip and inspire hearts and minds to transform the world for Christ. When we come alongside your family and church, and teach your child how to be a good friend, and have the love of Jesus in their heart, we envision a world changed by those lessons, through those children, with the help of the Holy Spirit!
If you aren’t familiar with CVC’s kindergarten program, there’s no time like the present–info packets and tours are always free. Schedule a tour, go inside a classroom, and the experience will help you see how we help your little one adjust to a full day of kindergarten.
Our kindergarten teachers are amazing! Read on for their thoughts on guiding these little ones to Jesus while helping them grow in so many ways!
My Teacher Told Me
“My deep hope when they leave kindergarten is that they know Jesus a little more, grew academically, emotionally and spiritually and that they know they are loved so very much.”
– Leslie Ritzema, K teacher
“I love that I get to be a part of their faith development, and set the stage for their journey through school. What kindergartners learn in a year is so rewarding, and their love for each other, their teacher and for learning is so amazing!” – Lisa Bons, K teacher
“We treat your kids like our own. We love them, and care for them and we care about all aspects of their day and life. If they are having a tough time emotionally, we want to be there for them. If something is happening at home, it will usually spill into their school day as well. Having an open relationship and dialogue with parents is so helpful! We can come alongside them and help them through things a bit better.” -Amy McCutcheon, K teacher
Life with kindergartners is full of laughs. Read on:
Teacher: Can anyone tell me who this President is?
Student: Yeah, that is George washing machine.
Student, finishing reciting Psalm 100: “For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations…with liberty and justice for all!”
Teacher, talking about seasons: It is winter. The bears are sleeping and will wake up in the spring.
Student: Yep! That’s precipitation! (Hibernation)