Kindergarten has truly changed over the years, evolving into a program that focuses on strong academic, social, and emotional skills that young learners will need to succeed in school and in the future.
The best kindergarten programs balance high academic expectations with “brain breaks” that encourage the development of creativity. Parents have come to expect and love the Deer Valley kindergarten program that focuses on nurturing the youngest learners.
“I absolutely love the healthy, nurturing, and fun learning environment in the kindergarten program. By the end of the year, my daughter not only knew how to read well, but she now enjoys reading. She is excelling in Math. It was so amazing to watch my daughter’s progress and know that she was excited about school and learning,” said parent Amy Kearney.
One of the ways that Deer Valley Unified School District (DVUSD) balances learning is by providing specials, including art, music, and PE classes every day for kindergarten students at all of the DVUSD K-6 and K-8 schools to enhance overall learning, growth, creativity, and physical development.
“My child participated in specials each day, and these classes are beneficial and important for all students. These classes can be emotionally therapeutic for students and allow them to recharge to get through their academic day. They promote creativity and allow our children to use their imagination to create while building skills. They open the door for lifelong appreciation of the arts and for maintaining a healthy lifestyle through exercise,” said another kindergarten parent, Diesta Kiesling.
Several studies have shown that these types of classes increase achievement in literacy and mathematics, including a 2006 Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum study on art education, which showed a link between arts education and improved literacy skills.
Another way that kindergarten has changed is the increase in communication from school to home. “We were continuously informed about upcoming lessons, progress that was made with reading, homework expectations, and friendly reminders that helped us stay organized at home, said Kearney.
“I love the consistent and open communication regarding academic, developmental, and behavioral progress of my child,” added Kiesling. “In addition, I believe full-day kindergarten improves overall success by providing the time needed to learn the skills necessary to move onto first grade.”
Deer Valley Unified School District has offered free full-day kindergarten since 2014 and this is the second year that special classes are offered every day. For more information about the kindergarten program including registration forms, visit www.dvusd.org/kindergarten.