It’s your child’s first time in a classroom! But how different is your child’s preschool program from the rest of their school experience? Investing in a preschool program that thoughtfully integrates your three- or four-year-old into the broader school community can help your child build the routines and relationships that will ease their transition to kindergarten. Here are three of the many ways your child will benefit from a preschool program in a PreK-8 school:
1. Your child will build relationships with more teachers.
If your child’s preschool program includes time with specialist teachers, they develop strong bonds with teachers they will see and know throughout their school years. At Willow, preschoolers have classes led by our French and Spanish teachers, Wellness teacher, Lower School Science teacher, and Music teacher. As they move through the elementary school, these teachers continue to lead classes with students, developing strong relationships and a deep knowledge of your child’s development.
Specialist teachers also help spark your child’s love of learning with their own passion for their subject and depth of knowledge.
2. Your child will build friendships with students of all ages.
When your child’s preschool program is a meaningful part of the larger school community, they will have structured and unstructured opportunities to meet and interact with older students. This could look like buddy classes, where a specific grade frequently visits the preschool for activities, playtime, and projects. It could also include shared recess time where older students can play with younger students. Or perhaps there are projects and events throughout the year where preschoolers are paired with older students to assist in special activities.
At Willow, we do all of the above! Building relationships between younger and older students helps your preschooler gain confidence at school and nurtures their social-emotional growth, while simultaneously giving older students the opportunity to hone their leadership skills.
Of the buddy classes, Willow Class of 2023 alum Rafe Dickens said, “Once the preschoolers got to know us, they waved to us if they saw us in the hallway or while we were playing during recess. Even now it makes our day when they come and say ‘hi.’ Willow is special because age doesn’t matter. We all have formed a uniquely inclusive place where everyone is part of one big community.”
3. Your child will get comfortable outside of their classroom.
Many preschools are confined to their specific classrooms or a special building, even if they are housed on a larger school campus. At Willow, preschoolers don’t just stay in their classrooms. While preschoolers have dedicated spaces to learn and play, every day, they are also traversing our school campus.
From time outside in the Willow woods to traversing the campus for Wellness in the Movement Space or fields to trips to the stream and pond in Science class to weekly Library sessions, preschoolers get comfortable with the whole school campus. Our preschool classrooms are just steps away from our K-3 classrooms, too, giving students the opportunity to interact with older students and teachers and see and get comfortable with the next year’s learning spaces.
Does your child’s preschool program include all of the above?
Use this checklist when assessing preschool programs:
Join our preschool community! Willow is expanding our popular preschool program this fall, and there’s still time to apply. Learn more about our preschool program and start a conversation with our enrollment team here: willowschool.org/preschool-community.