The Village School’s kindergarten class is always buzzing with play-based learning activities and many educational experiences throughout the year. Lori Elwell is the head teacher and is assisted by Pam Weber. Their students really enjoy books and being read to each day and make significant progress learning how to read words, sentences, and finally short books by the end of the year. Phonics games are an enjoyable way for them to practice their emerging reading skills. In addition to literacy lessons with their classroom teachers, kindergartners meet regularly with the school’s reading specialist and Wilson Fundations specialist.

Numbers are introduced via the Singapore Math program, and this approach has proven effective as students learn how to count, add, and subtract. Math learning is integrated and reinforced throughout the curriculum.

kids in costumes

Learning about their community is fun for kindergartners, and it is an important part of the Village School’s place-based education. The kindergartners study North Bennington businesses, institutions, and workers, learning why each one is just as important as the other and how they all make for a productive community.

The class’s science and nature learning focuses on life cycles and survival throughout the seasons. Science is supplemented by the Four Winds Nature Program and Hiland Hall Gardens, during which students enjoy hands-on participation in the school’s garden program. Field trips also emphasize experiential learning outdoors, and may include visits to a local apple orchard, a pumpkin patch, the Nature Museum in Grafton, Hildene Ponds, the Bennington Fish Hatchery, and more. Kindergartners also participate in the school’s annual Invention Convention and Science Fair.  

Learning to bake

Encore and enrichment programming is provided to all kindergartners, as they participate twice a week in art, music, and physical education. Foreign language learning is also introduced through a partnership with Bennington College’s Language Program, enabling kindergartners to  receive basic instruction in Chinese, French or Spanish.

Daily recess and weekly visits to the school library for lessons in print and digital media, as well as participation in school-wide performances and assemblies round out the kindergartners’ vibrant education at the Village School.