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Part 1: The Kindergarten Project

As a school we are interested in making sure each child graduates from OFS with the confidence and knowledge that will help them make the most of their next transformative adventure-Kindergarten.

The prospect of entering kindergarten can be daunting for children and their parents. Part of the fear lies in the unknown. What to expect? How to behave? How to prepare? The alphabet, numbers and writing one’s name are only the most obvious and superficial skills demanded of present day kindergarteners. The skills of concentration, cooperation with teachers, making friends with peers, and understanding one’s new role as a pupil in a formal academic setting are much more difficult to measure. Yet these are the attributes most needed as children move from preschool to elementary school settings.

Emergent literacy and numerosity are part of the fabric of all the project work we do at Old Firehouse School. We believe that by the Spring of the year prior to kindergarten, most of our children have learned the value of cooperating with teachers and making and keeping friends. Consequently, the Kindergarten Project is devoted primarily to helping children understand and master the rulers, roles and the environment of the kindergarten classroom.

Through this brochure we invite the reader to revisit with us some highlights of past kindergarten projects.

The Project Process:

We begin this project in the late Spring by encouraging the children to gather information and plan their field research to a kindergarten or “big kid school.”

Prior to our visits the children propose questions which they feel are particularly relevant. “How do children line up? And “Where do you put your lunch box?” come up every year.

As the project develops the children’s questions broaden as they begin to wonder what they will learn about in kindergarten. We photograph and video our visits to the elementary school class rooms to give us all a record of their kindergarten field research.

Throughout the rest of the summer the children review the tapes and photographs and refine their kindergarten knowledge. They draw pictures of their classrooms and spend much time “playing at being kindergarteners.”

Questions we have about kindergarten

Step 1: Generating our Research Questions
“Can your mommie come help you write?”
“What happens if you cut line?”
“If you have to go to the bathroom, do you have to ask?”
“What happens if you fight on the structure?”
“What does the principal do if you go to her office?”
“Do you take naps?”

Step 2: We invite a recent graduate to relate their experiences.
OFS Graduate Henry returns to explain kindergarten.


Step 3: We visit several of the children’s future kindergartens.
Photos and video help us remember what its like.

Step 4: We re-enact and play kindergarten.
The children take turns playing at being teacher and pupil.
These children felt strongly that knowing how to line up correctly was an important part of kindergarten. Here they practice this skill so that they will be ready to do it in “big kid school.”
The children develop their own rules for the OFS “pretend” Kindergarten class.´╗┐

Go to Part 2.