Lake Forest Country Day School is a Little Lake County Advertising Partner.
Junior Kindergarten is Lake Forest Country Day School‘s four-year-old preschool program. With a student ratio of 1:9, students prepare for kindergarten during three full-days and two half-days each week. I was invited to join the Junior Kindergarten (JK) on their spring Caminita last month to see how they integrate a global adventure into their curriculum to give the children an immersive experience.
First things first. What’s exactly is a Caminita? Caminita means “walk” or “hike” in Spanish. Children at LFCDS begin taking Spanish in JK, so this is a way that the curriculum crosses over and becomes immersive instead of a single class. Starting way back in February, the students begin to plan for their trip to South America, which would be a unit of study for the next few months.
The students start by figuring out what is needed to take a plane trip to South America. It’s a great way to work in real-world education. How many adults do you know that are unsure how to travel internationally? The children created passports and used the school’s 2,800-square-foot Innovation Space to make their own suitcases and pillows for the plane ride. They also made a travel journal of places they want to visit and the things they want to see.
The adventure kicks off with a family event held at the school. All the families in JK come together to give the children an experience of taking off on a flight. Some parents dress up as limo drivers and pilots, there are ticket agents and flight attendants, and the children go through check-in and board the “airplane.” With the help of the Innovation Space Coordinator, the children get to experience South America with family photos in front of the green screen.
After the excitement of the flight, the real work begins to learn everything they can about this new place. The students learn about the continent and its animals for the next few weeks. They create a rain forest between classrooms, complete with a waterfall and the sounds of the rain forest. It’s the perfect place to sit for storytime!
As we showed you in the fall, LFCDS makes great use of its campus and has extensive outdoor facilities. The culmination of the South America unit is to take a Caminita — or hike — around the rain forest (wooded area) and wetlands (the pond) to find the animals they have been studying. Equipped with clipboards and binoculars we headed out to the LFCDS Rain Forest and began our adventure.
The children took the lead and were off exploring high and low to find everything they studied. The whole curriculum, from the family take-off to the Caminita, is an example of how the JK program is designed to use the children’s own curiosity to explore the world around them. Literacy and math are integrated into science-based activities. On our walk there was singing, matching pictures to what we saw and looking at the words that went with them. One of our groups even took the initiative to add a box for an additional animal that they found on the trail.
Lake Forest Country Day School is a co-educational independent school for students age two through eighth grade. They have been graduating students of strong character with a passion for learning since 1888. LFCDS currently has limited spaces in its JK program for the 2018-2019 school year. Children must have turned four on or before September 1. Contact them today to set up a visit.
Disclosure: Lake Forest Country Day School is a paid advertising partner of Little Lake County, all thoughts and opinions are the writer’s own. If you are interested in having your business featured please contact us.