The Early School at Rivermont Collegiate provides children with their first step in formal education. This important transition from family as the primary learning environment to a broader learning community sets the stage and develops skills and attitudes necessary for success. Through our developmentally sensitive approach, teachers weave experiences through the day that foster creativity, self-confidence, and critical thinking. The concept of readiness guides the teacher as (s)he presents material when the child is optimally ready to learn. When a child achieves at a level beyond his or her classmates, the child is encouraged to progress not only at a faster pace, but in dimensions of personal interest and greater depth. In this way, children in the Early School learn individually, in small groups, and in whole group setting thereby broadening their vision from self to community.
Since children learn by doing, the Early School is a very active place. Children move about the room and explore creative centers in daily play. Teacher-led activities encourage the development of creativity and fine motor skills. As teachers seek to bring the world into the classroom through project learning they also take the children out into the world through numerous field trips to museums, businesses, and parks. Learning activities take advantage of our historical campus and the wealth of opportunities offered by the Quad Cities and surrounding communities
Junior Kindergarten Schedule:
11:30-12:30 Lunch. Parents have the option to add lunch to the morning program. Children are served a nutritious meal, and eat with their classmates and teachers at special tables in the Rivermont cafeteria. An additional fee is charged for this program.
*Specials are opportunities for students to interact with discipline-specific teachers from the broader school community. These teachers enhance the regular classroom experience with particular focus and depth. Children benefit from classroom instruction and activities as well as interaction with a "special expert".
Our PreSchool classroom sets the stage for an extraordinary first-time school experiece. Here each child has the opportunity to explore his or her world in daily play. This all-important time allows each child to move to different interest areas and from individual activities to group activities at his or her own pace. Such unstructured time gives children the tools to develop self-confidence by finding areas of special interest and allowing them time to "work" individually or with others.
Teachers plan activities and projects to help children structure their "work" and develop cooperation by working in both small groups and the whole group. This progression leads the young learner to develop skills that will promote their continued learning in a school environment. Circle Time, for example, provides children with a time for reading, discussing, problem-solving and asking questions on common topics.
The Junior Kindergarten classroom continues the child's work of exploration but begins the focus more clearly on the preparation for Kindergarten. The academically challenging activities developed by the teacher encourage the emergence of logical, critical, and creative thinking skills. Through an organized progression of experiences children learn readiness concepts in math and reading. Since children do not develop readiness at the same time or pace, activities and experiences are designed to provide flexibility for the child to learn concepts as well as expand their skills. In keeping with Rivermont's mission to develop intellect, character, and creativity, the Junior Kindergarten program strives to reach the whole child. Circle Time continues to be a place for sharing and questioning as well as a place to work through concerns and solve problems thereby giving the children tools and skills for personal responsibility and inter-dependence.
The Junior Kindergartener is exposed to more formalized instruction and activities in science, library, math, reading, writing, art, music and foreign languages. The teachers are able to bring some of the resources of the other divisions of Rivermont to enhance learning. This also provides a further connection in the child's progression to the broader school and learning community.
Preparing young children to read means laying a strong foundation in oral and written experiences prior to Kindergarten. Early School teachers connect learning in Junior Kindergarten to Kindergarten through lessons in Open Court Reading. Teachers present children with rich language experiences through fingerplays, rhymes, songs, and poems. Comprehension activities in each lesson promote understanding of quality literature. In addition, Junior Kindergarten teachers design mathmatics learning through use of the Everyday Mathmatics program. Math learning in PK involves much more than counting. Children progress from simple counting of objects, to use of more sophisticated counting strategies and number relationships. With the use of cubes and counters, youngsters solve challenging problems in addition and subtraction.
"Afternoon Adventures"is a lively experience of engaging learning activities for families looking to extend the morning academic program in a less structured environment. Designed for the PreSchool and the Junior Kindergarten youngster, this program uses a wide range of activities that promote social and academic learning. These enrichment activities will be presented in a non-sequential manner so children may attend the program on a varied schedule. Although not designed as a drop-in program, parents will have flexibility in scheduling. The morning programs continue to be structured, sequential, academic sessions with the intent that children will attend on a regular schedule.