As I delve into this space of the year, I think about the children's play. Some of the forms for other schools where children will be going have asked questions such as, "What are this child's academic strengths?" Even for play based private schools I have seen this question. I hear the question as well from parents. How does Appleseeds prepare the child academically for Kindergarten?
The question used to be absurd. No child would be expected to have academic skills before entering Kindergarten! Kindergarten was where you would go to get ready for first grade, and THEN you would begin the academic skills. And I find too, particularly with the attitude of Americans, is that play is a nice, secret way to get academic skills into your child. "Oh wow, Bobby! Look at all those sticks you've gathered for your fort! Let's count how many! One, two..." and in the process, take the child out of their sacred moment of play in order to learn to count.
By the time most children leave Appleseeds, I want them to have played and played and begin to yearn for something more challenging. Then we know it's time to move on to Kindergarten. They've been fully fed with rich play experiences and they are ready for what is next. Of course they will still build on their experiences here, but the play is what prepared them for the next step.