Our Bridging Kindergarten program allows pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students (five- and six-year-old children) time to determine the best class placement for the following school year and beyond. The program is intentionally designed to prepare children for their next grade level, which could be kindergarten or first grade. Within a play-based, engaging and nurturing environment, this program offers children another year to develop and practice essential skills necessary for lifelong learning success. Bridging Kindergarten students at GSES enjoy leadership roles such as chapel acolytes and actors, a spring play, and an entire week of learning outside in the woods. Specialized learning time is provided to each student and teachers closely monitor each child’s abilities, progress and potential. The program maintains a 1-to-7 student to teacher ratio with three teachers to twenty-one students. Learning occurs in both small and large groups that include daily, formal, standards-based instruction in reading, writing, math and handwriting.
The Bridging Kindergarten Teaching Team
Pictured from L to R: Charlotte Trafton, Lead Teacher; Sheryl Johnson, Assistant Teacher; Jennifer Timmermans, Assistant Teacher
Into the Woods is a classic of the Bridging Kindergarten traditions. Students spend a full week at Reed Park engaging in hands on and creative lessons and activities. Students rotate through outdoor learning activities and have free time in the forest each day. Parent volunteers are valued and lead a small group each day. The outdoor classroom becomes alive igniting curiosity and discovery!
The Bridging Kindergarten program has operated at full capacity for the last three years, and in 2020-21 we added a second program due to the need in our community for in-person learning. Our teaching staff and classroom setting coupled with a very low teacher-student ratio is what sets GSES apart from other programs. Having a low teacher-student ratio is one of the most important factors that research shows contributes to enhanced student learning. The team constantly demonstrates a strong passion for the field of education integrating new innovations that are research-based while striving to creatively weave together the particular interests of the children with the curriculum at hand.