What programs are available for my incoming kindergartener in Monroe?
Kindergarten registration is right around the corner. If your child is entering kindergarten in fall, 2013, now is the time to get them registered! Monroe Public Schools prides itself in giving choices to families and you have many options when considering kindergarten in Monroe: we have full-day, every-day programs, half-day models, and alternating days at various schools within the district. These are based on enrollment and are subject to change, depending upon the interest of our community. If you have an incoming kindergartner set to start in fall, 2013, plan to get information at Kindergarten Registration Night on March 5 at 6:30 p.m. at each elementary school. For questions on which school you are assigned to, you can call the district at (360) 804-2500.
In addition to the different models offered through the district, Monroe also has two unique kindergarten programs that will begin their second year this fall. The Dual Language program is open to fifty kindergartners and is housed at Frank Wagner Elementary School. The Montessori program is open to kindergarten through third graders and is housed at Maltby Elementary.
The Dual Language program will begin its second year at Frank Wagner Elementary School in the fall with first grade students and 50 new kindergartners. It is a bilingual educational program integrating Spanish-speaking students and English-speaking students for instruction in and around English and Spanish. Kindergartners spend 50 percent of their time in an English-speaking room where they focus on English literacy (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) and mathematics.
The other 50 percent of the time is in a Spanish-speaking room where they focus on Spanish literacy, social studies and science, and art. This immersion program has a balanced population of native English speakers and native Spanish speakers. By interacting with peers who are fluent in the target language, as well as learning skills in both languages, both English and Spanish students are exposed to appropriate social conventions of language and learn the vocabulary needed to transfer the skills to the other language.
To learn more about Monroe’s Dual Language program and hear from current parents and teachers, attend the Dual Language Informational Night at 7 p.m. at Frank Wagner’s gym on Feb. 21.
The Montessori program will begin its second year this fall at Maltby Elementary School. There will be openings for new kindergarten students through interested third graders. This program is based on the philosophy of Dr. Montessori, who believed that children learn best at their own pace as they are ready to absorb new information.
This program uses specially-designed materials that children manipulate to learn a lesson. Dr. John Chattin-McNichols, Montessori’s 2013 Lifetime Achievement recipient and author of The Montessori Controversy, shares that “these Montessori materials are designed to tell the child when he has mastered a skill, so he can approach his work as if he is doing a puzzle. The child feels proud of himself when he accomplishes the task correctly, which generates pride internally rather than from external means.”
This Monroe program follows the Montessori model from the structure of the classroom, teacher’s role with the students and the specific materials used. Students also participate in regular district assessments to track their progress. Anyone interested in this program for their kindergarten through third grade child should plan to attend Maltby’s Montessori Information Night on Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Maltby Gym.
I have always appreciated Monroe’s approach to kindergarten and the variety of options they have available. Kindergarten is an exciting and important time for families, and is the beginning of a long and important educational career that will set the tone for a child’s education. It’s important that you think about what works best for your incoming kindergartner and your family. Attending these informational nights is a good way to learn more about what Monroe has to offer.
Jessica Conte is a Nationally Board Certified teacher, has eight years of teaching experience in Monroe, and is a doctoral student in Educational Leadership at Seattle University. For questions to be answered in future Ask a Teacher columns, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.