Too often I hear people describe kindergarten with the misconception that all students do in kindergarten is play and take a nap. In some schools you may find a place where that misconception isn’t too far off. But here at Augustine Classical Academy, that is far from the truth. Kindergarten is the first step in the grammar phase of the Trivium, and it is an important step in laying a solid foundation for success in the Trivium's later stages of logic and rhetoric.
Kindergarten is an important grade and a big step in a young child’s life. Students are not only going to school to learn academics but to also develop social and emotional skills that are just as important as learning to read and write. At the beginning of the year, my job involves a lot -- and I do mean a lot -- of patience! Everything is new to kindergarteners. They are thrown into this big new school in which they will be expected to advocate for themselves, walk in line, learn numerous routines and procedures, listen and raise their hand, and much more. During the first few weeks of Kindergarten, I spend a lot of time repeating myself and working more on social and emotional development than anything else. These are such key components to their development and overall success throughout the year! Because of this, Kindergarten gives your child a safe place to mature and grow during their natural development as a child, while also being challenged academically. These skills will be developing throughout the entire year, and you will notice a drastic difference between a kindergartener during the first semester versus what a kindergartener is like the second semester. For example, they are maturing, are more independent, and are able to handle their own social and emotional skills at a much higher degree.
I believe ACA stands out as an exemplary school because we do take great pride in the development of our students during the grammar phase. The value of routine, structure, and rigor is what sets our kindergarten program apart from those which believe kindergarten is simply a place where kids go to play. I do want you to know that in saying this, I also know the importance of allowing children to play and be able to use their imaginations freely. That is also very important in their development. After their work is done, I get to spend my afternoons listening to their brilliant creativity in dramatic play scenarios, or seeing their imaginations run wild while exploring with math manipulatives, or through creative art. I believe that because of ACA's rigor and high expectations for them, their imaginations have been given a foundation from which to fuel their own creativity.
I will end by saying that I believe the most beautiful part of being a kindergartener at ACA is that they get to grow and develop while also learning about the love of Christ. It is so beautiful to be able to pray with children, listen to them pray, study God’s word, and play a part in raising them with the standards God sets for our lives. I absolutely would not trade this job for the world! Yes, it takes a lot of patience, repetition, and time, but to be able to influence the lives of such young children, and to be a role model for what Christ is like, is something that I will never take for granted.