PRIMARIA - MORE INFO
What is the balance between teacher and student led activities? We celebrate childhood as a time when children have ample time to play at matters of their own choice, and to interact with other children to build rich fantasy games. We also celebrate the natural world around us by spending a lot of time outside, and by creating fantasy play spaces and art/inquiry options in our classrooms which students can explore freely. In balance, we also provide a day full of rich teaching and learning provocations provided by teachers, which invite students to explore expanding areas of creativity and knowledge.
Why two years of primaria? The first year of primaria is a time for the four year old child, who has experienced the free ranging play experiences of escuelita, to expand his/her horizons into new areas of exploration in science, Spanish, and the arts. Most four year olds are ready for the kind of balance between instruction and play that primaria represents. At the same time, four year olds have become adept at preschool fantasy play and are now able to organize and sustain play scenarios with other children. Primaria allows time for this important work, during which social and communication skills are learned. Four year olds are heavily engaged in problem solving and negotiation, since this age, which is often called the “first adolescence”, is marked by an enhanced sense of self which brings the potential for competition and conflict. Having time to work through problems with others, and to learn social skills through doing so, is an essential part of this stage.
The second year of Primaria, transitional kindergarten, provides students with unique leadership opportunities as the oldest children in a preschool before becoming the youngest members of an elementary community. Many parents choose to give children an extra year to explore in this fashion before entering our academic kindergarten or some other kindergarten option. For students who choose academics on their own during this year, and develop skills in reading, writing, and math, this year can also serve as a prelude to first grade. As in all our preschool programs, our goal is to respond to the natural development of each child, providing challenges and opportunities which match that development and affirm the natural variations which occur between children.
Documentation: In Reggio-inspired schools, “making learning visible” through documentation is very important. Teachers maintain a portfolio on each child in the primaria class. This portfolio records several aspects of classroom experience and of that child’s growth, including but not limited to the following:
A record of the child’s response at the beginning, middle, and end of each year to a similar task, such as writing his/her name or drawing a self portrait, so that development in basic areas is recorded
A description of major thematic projects which have occurred over the year and examples of the child’s work responding to these projects
A developmental continuum marking the child’s skills in reading, writing, and math, to assist parents in determining placement for next year.
Parent involvement: We attempt to create meaningful interaction with all families, and rely on family support to make our school strong. Parent conferences are held at least annually, and we provide various opportunities such as back to school night, informative parent meetings, and performances during the school year, so that parents can feel informed about what their children are doing.
All parents participate in family tasks each year, and are asked to assist at one of two work parties, to attend fund-raisers, and to help give at least one fundraiser. We encourage but do not require parents to volunteer in the classroom, and give tuition relief for up to two mornings of volunteer time per month. We also encourage parents who have relevant professions or skills to share those in class when they match a theme under study, or to share cultural heritage experiences.
We also encourage interested parents to participate in school governance through assisting in a variety of committees and/or to become parent representatives to the Board of Directors or event Board Members themselves. It is our hope that events like fundraisers not only help the school, but help families to create bonds with each other and build a stronger community.
Early morning and afternoon daycare: Some primaria students come from 9-2, and others stay for before and/or after care. From 7-8:30 AM and 2-6 PM, primaria students join escuelita students in an enriched daycare program designed for students 2.5-6.
Peregrine School is committed to quality experiences during the whole day, although the rhythm and intensity of various times of day may vary. Children who stay for late afternoon activities continue to experience new and special options provided by teachers and to have their play ideas reinforced through active teacher engagement. They also experience expanded recreational activities, such as trips to the park, to the nature area or garden, and more.
Mariposas vs. Extra Hours: While students who stay for daycare hours every day sign up monthly, other students who normally leave at noon or at 2:00 PM can on occasion stay for a longer day, if parents ask for this service. This service is called “extra hours”, and is paid for on a monthly basis using sign in sheets as a record. On occasion, staff may have to limit extra hours due to overcrowding.