Begindergarten is Washington Elementary’s Alternative Kindergarten program. Students who are 5 by September 15 of the school year are eligible for Begindergarten. Begindergarten at WE is a program consisting of anywhere from 16-18 students. These students are identified based on academic and social emotional screeners, teacher/preschool recommendation and parent request. Oftentimes, we have more families who request Begindergarten than we are able to enroll so these screeners and recommendations are useful in our decision making process.
“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.”– O. Fred Donaldson
The Begindergarten classroom has a strong social and emotional focus and is heavily play based. Children who are strong candidates for Begindergarten exhibit characteristics such as being shy, slow to join in play with peers, separation struggles from parents and a delay in age appropriate emotional reactions. During the year we are focused on growing students’ emotional intelligence, appropriate emotional reactions and positive interactions with peers. Although we expose students to early academic skills, this is not the focus of the Begindergarten classroom. We work hard to prepare students to have the social and emotional skills to make kindergarten as successful as possible.
“Play is fundamentally important for learning 21st century skills, such as problem solving, collaboration, and creativity.” – American Academy of Pediatrics