Transitional Kindergarten: Foundation for Flourishing

For students not yet old enough for Kindergarten, the Transitional Kindergarten at BASIS Independent Fremont provides a unique program that creates a strong foundation for learning at a young age. But what makes this program work? The wonderful teachers, of course! Read on for insights from the current BASIS Independent Fremont Transitional Kindergarten teachers to discover why they love working with our youngest learners.

From Our Teachers

One of our Early Education Teachers and founding faculty members, Ms. John, has very clear goals she follows to shape her classroom.

“Our goal is to teach our students to be engaged and captivated with music, excitement, laughter, hands on activities, action packed lessons, all in a simply way, so our students can be involved learners. We would like our young learners to have a very strong foundation in phonics and math so when they go to Kindergarten, they are confident learners,” she says.

“We make our lessons interactive and fun, and teach our students to ask a lot of how and why questions. We talk with our students, not at them. We treat them with respect and teach vocabulary in every lesson so our communication can be effective. We want our students to be independent thinkers and embrace challenges. Most of all, we want them to enjoy, have fun, and learn!”

Ms. Mangal, a new addition to our team with decades of experience, agrees.

“I love being a part of the academic team at BASIS Independent Fremont! Transitional Kindergarten is full of engagement, excitement, and exploration! Students are permitted an opportunity to develop social-emotional and academic skills, while also learning empathy, grace, and courtesy. My goals are to teach in a manner that corresponds to the innate learning needs of my students and equipping them with the tools to be successful in and out of the corridors of the classroom! Ideally, students will deepen their knowledge in every facet while maintaining their zeal for education, academic curiosity, and remain graceful and courteous in their conduct and communication with others!”

Ms. Joshi, another Early Education Teacher, emphasizes the importance of engagement.

“In Transitional Kindergarten, I love working with young students who are just starting their school journey. Even in this fall’s virtual setting, my focus has remained the same–engage my students through fun learning activities using the latest technologies and challenge them with stimulating lessons. The key to student engagement is interactive and creative content. I use a lot of games including memory and listening games in my phonics and math lessons. I add drama and theme enactment in science and social studies. Finally, I intersperse music to keep a high level of energy in my classroom. By the end of the year, you’ll notice that your child has become a lot more confident, self-reliant, and is ready for Kindergarten.”

In addition to the Early Education Teachers who lead students through the majority of their school day, the Subject Expert Teachers create lessons focused on their areas of specialized knowledge. Each week, students will have Engineering, Art, Music, Physical Education, Drama, and Mandarin class!

Ms. Nichols, an accomplished artist and former Early Education Teacher at BASIS Independent Fremont, enjoys sharing her passion for visual arts in Art class each week.

“Visual Art in TK is all about providing a variety of experiences that broaden their knowledge and excitement about art. My students are encouraged to play and explore what is possible when new mediums are introduced,” says Ms. Nichols.

“Lessons include art vocabulary and foundational concepts in art theory. Students are also introduced to famous figures in art history as we explore how they used the elements of art and basic principles of design. Art instruction is also meant to strengthen fine motor skills, reinforce concepts from other subjects, and develop social skills.

“The student work you see here is from our first lesson this year. Students listened to the story “The Dot” by Peter H. Reynolds, in which the main character learns that anyone can be an artist; they just need to start creating. Students drew a variety of dots in their own choice of composition.”

Ms. Rezzelle, the Subject Expert Teacher for Music and Drama, creates an atmosphere of creativity and excitement in her classes.

“For Music and Drama at the TK level, we are laying the foundation for our students to become effective communicators. In Music, students step into a curriculum that is rich with folksongs from around the world. Students explore the heartbeat of music by discovering beats and rhythms; they sing call-and-response songs and simple songs that will ignite their imaginations. Students also strengthen their movement skills through games and movement exploration activities set to classical music. We also have a strong global music component in which we discover different types of instruments that are played throughout the world.

In Drama, we begin learning core acting techniques such as improvisation, storytelling, and character development. These skills not only prepare students for performance, but they also engage the students in a way that promotes teamwork, public speaking skills, cooperation, and empathy towards others. Students explore fairytales, nursery rhymes, and folktales from around the world by stepping into them through the use of their imaginations. There is never a dull moment in our Music and Drama class!”

Our youngest students are always excited to learn new words in their weekly Mandarin classes! With specialized lessons for heritage and non-heritage speakers, BASIS Independent Fremont offers a unique opportunity for students of all ability levels to improve left and right brain functionality with this language.

Ms. Yu, one of our Mandarin Subject Expert Teachers, is enthusiastic about the Transitional Kindergarten program.

“In Transitional Kindergarten, we introduce Mandarin conversation vocabulary, such as introducing themselves, counting, talking about our families, and festivals. Kids love holidays, and doing Chinese festival-related activities in class helps them connect the language to something they can taste and create. We’ll try snacks and make crafts to celebrate, and they can attach the new vocabulary words to these ideas. We also introduce them to Mandarin language music for dance breaks when they have been sitting for a while!

Learning about another culture helps the students develop respect for others when they are little. By the end of the year, non-heritage speakers will have oral speaking and comprehension and know how to read simple characters. The heritage speakers, who are speaking Mandarin at home with their families, will be able to recognize more characters, and converse on a range of daily topics. I love watching my students go from the first week of school where they might be shy and not talking as much to the end of the year when they can enthusiastically greet me and ask me about my day in Mandarin!”

Learn more about careers with BASIS Independent Schools on our careers website.

This post originally appeared on the BASIS Independent Fremont Eureka! blog.

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