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Why choose Transitional Kindergarten for your child?

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Transitional Kindergarten, or TK, can be defined in different ways depending on your area.  Locally,  TK is an option for younger five year olds who don’t quite make the birthday cut off for kindergarten OR just need or want another year to figure things out before jumping into the rigor of a kindergarten classroom setting.  Our TK class is a mix of younger five year olds and older fours.  A few children are attending TK after being in a four year old class at Carson Creek or another preschool. Others are attending TK instead of the fours class.  There are no rigid guidelines for placement in our TK class.  Our class is very similar to our fours class but with a slightly stronger emphasis on academic skills.

Research by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that children who are older when they start kindergarten are at an advantage over younger classmates.  They have higher test scores and are more likely to attend college.  However, these statistics are certainly not a deciding factor if you are considering TK vs. Kindergarten for your child.

In North Carolina, children are not required to attend school until the age of 7.  Any schooling they receive before kindergarten is icing on the cake.  When I was a kindergarten teacher, I taught children who had attended daycare since they were babies and I taught children who had spent the first 5 years of their lives on grandma’s hip, so to speak.  Children come to kindergarten from many different backgrounds and with different educational experiences.  As many parents know, the expectations for kindergartners have become rigorous.  Gone are the days of nap time and dress up and appropriate amounts of free play!  Many kindergarten classrooms are operating with one teacher and NO assistant; often, that looks like 17-20 five year olds and ONE stressed out teacher!  Many times, the children receive only 30 minutes of free play outside.  They attend school all day in NC.  We don’t have half-day kindergarten.  For some children, kindergarten is a wonderful experience. My younger son had a beautiful kindergarten year at Woodland Heights Elementary with a seasoned, loving, patient teacher.  I will be forever grateful for her and the value she placed on developmentally appropriate experiences for her students.  My older son realized at the ripe old age of 5 that school is very hard.  His self esteem was damaged in kindergarten and we are still recovering.  His experience was the catalyst for my quest to provide a developmentally appropriate preschool where children feel loved and honored.  The pressure is just too much for many of our children and it is not necessary.

At Carson Creek School, children spend half of their days outside.  They learn through play.  Each child is treated as an individual with unique needs, interests, and abilities.   We focus on the emotional needs of our children and the academics are taught appropriately, depending on the child.

We have a few spots open in our TK class.  Schedule a tour if you are interested in learning more!

Teaching The Whole Child

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What does it mean to teach “the whole child”?

When we think of education, the first thing that may come to mind is academic achievement or cognitive learning such as a child’s ability to read, write and do math. It is important to remember the other domains such as physical and social/emotional development and not to focus only on academic skills.

Physical development in the preschool years involves large muscle strengthening through activities like jumping, kicking balls, pushing and pulling objects and using the trunk to support the body. Without trunk strength, it is extremely difficult for a child to hold himself comfortably and still in a chair or sit up and pay attention for any length of time on the carpet to listen to a story or other instruction. Fine motor skills, which lead to a child’s success with writing and other school and life functions, are improved by exposing children to opportunities like opening jars and snack bags, pinching cotton balls with tweezers, buttoning a doll’s dress and playing with play-doh. As fingers develop strength, they become more able to hold a pencil and apply appropriate pressure for writing.

Developing social and emotional skills in preschoolers is absolutely crucial. We must help children learn how to empathize with others and show compassion, share and take turns, manage emotions like anger and sadness and see things from another person’s point of view (a skill which develops in older 4 and 5 year olds. Younger children’s brains are “egocentric” and unable to think of things from any point of view other than their own. They can’t help it. It’s just their nature.)
If we are to teach the whole child, we must intentionally provide a setting in which all learning domains are nurtured. When this happens, children are well-rounded, happy, successful and ready to face their world.

Why did you choose the name “Carson Creek”?

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Why did you choose the name “Carson Creek”?

The name of my school came to me as I was driving to Northern Hospital of Surry County this past April. I had two hours in the car alone with my thoughts and they were focused on my 94 year old grandmother who had been taken to the hospital earlier that day. I was remembering the summers I spent at her home in “the country”, as she would call it. She lives in an old, farm-style house that was built by her father and brother. Several generations of Carsons have lived in that valley and, so, it is known as “Carson Creek”. My brother and I spent two weeks each summer at her house and, when we were there, it was like a different world. I can’t say that I appreciated it at the time but, looking back, I know it helped shaped the person I am now. We spent our days catching salamanders and crawdads in the creek, eating berries off the vine, digging potatoes in our grandparents’ extensive garden, playing baseball in the grassy front yard, and pushing trucks through the sandy bank by the creek. I can remember rolling down the grassy hill by the seldom-traveled road until I was tired and itchy. I remember catching lightning bugs and putting them into jars. I remember picking mint from the yard to put into Grandmother’s sweet tea. Yes, Carson Creek is the perfect name for my school.

What is a Nature-based Preschool?

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What is a Nature-based Preschool?

At Carson Creek School, our preschool program will balance traditional classroom learning with natural, outdoor exploration. Nature is the central organizing concept and children will spend a large part of their time outside playing and exploring our beautiful school yard. Inside, children will listen to stories and sings songs about our theme (Autumn, Bugs, Space, Flowers, Ocean Life, Eggs, Birds…).

They will develop skills in math by counting seeds, measuring sticks, sorting leaves, etc. In Nature preschools, the environment is set up for children to manipulate logs, sticks, rocks, acorns, leaves, water, mud, dirt and other natural materials in a way that is not usually seen in traditional schools. Children have experiences with animals, bugs and native vegetation as well as fruit trees and gardens filled with vegetables, flowers and herbs.

Research shows that daily exposure to nature impacts children positively in the following ways:

  • Supports development intellectually, socially, spiritually and physically
  • Supports creativity and problem solving
  • Enhances cognitive abilities
  • Improves academic performance
  • Reduces ADHD symptoms
  • Increases physical activity
  • Improves nutrition
  • Improves eyesight
  • Improves social relations
  • Improves self discipline
  • Reduces stress

— Reference: naturalearning.org

If playing with mud, dirt and bugs does not sound fun to you, you are in luck! Let our teachers do the dirty work! We love it!