The Gift of Time in Junior Kindergarten

Enrolling your child in school is a huge milestone. For many families, knowing exactly when to enroll their child can be complicated by factors like a summer birthday. This year, we introduced a Junior Kindergarten class at Denver Christian. Our goal with this program is to give students the gift of time and flourish before entering kindergarten. After our first semester of junior kindergarten, we are thrilled with this new class and excited for the rest of the school year!

What is Junior Kindergarten? 

Junior Kindergarten is a program for kids who are young five-year-olds who may have a “cut-off” birthday and need some extra time. The main purpose of this program is to help kids fully master academic skills, gain confidence in social-emotional skills, and increase their fine and gross motor abilities in such a way that will allow them to have true success in their later school experiences. Junior Kindergarten is not repeating Pre-K but providing a stepping stone for students to gradually prepare for Kindergarten. 

“This year we’ve been blessed to see our son grow in confidence, deepen his academic skills, and mature in his social interactions while being in Mrs. Brittany’s and Mrs. Meredith’s JK classroom. Their classroom is like a loving little family with so much individual attention. There are no tears or anxiety going to school, just joy!”  

The Paasonen Family

Why Junior Kindergarten?

Junior Kindergarten is specifically designed for kids who need the gift of time before Kindergarten. Our ultimate goal in equipping children to flourish at Denver Christian is to develop the Whole Child; which means paying attention to spiritual, social-emotional, cognitive, physical, creative, and personal areas of development. In Junior Kindergarten we will especially be looking closely at and developing those growth areas.

“I was extremely apprehensive about Junior Kindergarten, but I am beyond grateful that Mrs. Brittany recommended it.  My son has a September birthday.  That coupled with a lack of social interactions and being pulled from his preschool during the pandemic, it was evident he was delayed in a few areas.  He has made leaps and bounds in Jr. K.  I feel more confident about him attending Kindergarten next year and thriving. It was the best decision for my son and Mrs. Brittany and Mrs. Meredith have done an incredible job.  I am so grateful for them and their program.” 

Stacey Bennington 

Every child who completes Junior Kindergarten will go to Kindergarten the following year. However, during their Junior Kindergarten year, they are able to gain confidence in social skills and develop an interest in and mastery of academic skills. While all Junior-K students have some school experience, Junior Kindergarten helps them transition seamlessly to Kindergarten. The activities, daily schedule, and number of transitions will all gradually and purposefully increase/build stamina for Kindergarten beyond what they generally do in Pre-K

A Successful Start to Junior Kindergarten 

Since starting in August, our students have made huge leaps and bounds, as individual students and as a class. Mrs. Brittany Viss (Junior Kindergarten Teacher) reflects on how the Junior Kindergarten model has reduced social anxiety. She says that students are “less frustrated since they are surrounded by peers their own age and not trying to keep up with a lot of peers who are older than them and playing/socializing on a different level. As guests come into our room, I often hear the compliment “your students really are a sweet bunch; they all get along with each other and really enjoy being together” and it is TRUE!” 

Our Junior-K students have engaged in a wider range of activities so far. Some of their favorites were their science unit on bats and learning how to rhyme. One highlight is the STEM Elective, which is a unique special for our Junior-K students. 

“Mrs. Brittany and Mrs. Meredith are SUCH a blessing.  They know how to tailor learning to each student and meet them where they are.  The kids are challenged and have so many opportunities for gentle growth and development.  School is fun and our daughter is so excited to tell us what they do in class every day.  To anyone who may be having a hard time deciding, you absolutely cannot go wrong with another year before Kindergarten.  What a blessing this year has been.”

The Stellish Family

Mrs. Viss has also noticed that students are more motivated and interested in learning (than previously) because they are more confident and seeing more success in academic skills, motor skills, and self-help skills. This is exactly the goal that we hope for in Junior K! Brittany says, “They are showing more ownership over their learning and are driving it more independently. We also are seeing them truly master things and understand them fully! This will set them up to do really amazing things in Kindergarten!”

We are thrilled with the addition of Junior Kindergarten at Denver Christian. We fully believe that this gift of time is invaluable to set many students up for success during the rest of their K-12 experience. 

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