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The Magic of Nardin’s Kindergarten

With our Kindergarten Experience event on January 29, right around the corner, we wanted to hear from one of our teachers to tell us firsthand what a day in the life of WNY’s premier Kindergarten program looks like. Alli Robbins ’09 gives us an inside look at the Kindergators, which is what the Nardin family fondly calls their youngest Lower School students. She talks about the unmatched academic foundation that prepares them for lifelong learning, and how every day students explore their interests and have fun.

A Conversation with Alli Robbins ’09, Kindergarten Teacher

Joyful is a way to describe the Nardin Kindergarten classroom and a little bit magical, it really it is. Our classroom is a really special place, and I think it is because the students and teachers come together to make that magic happen.

We are a unique program at Nardin because we have multiple teachers in the classroom all day long which allows us to have smaller group work with the students to meet them at their individual ability level. When it comes, for example, math, science, and reading, we can provide differentiated work and one on one time with our students.

We provide a play-based curriculum in our classroom. Here at Nardin, there is a lot of learning, but we always remember our students are also just five, so they need to laugh and sing and dance and play. We make sure that our learning is hands on. We are always looking for new ways to make our learning fun and engaging.

We start our day with Morning Meeting and then afterwards we always have a dance party to give a little brain break. After that, we get right to our math and then reading and literacy time in the morning plus handwriting. Typically, then we have lunch and specials in the afternoon. We come back as a class in the afternoon for another section of core content; it might be social studies, science, religion, poetry, or reading and then enjoy a craft in the afternoon.

A big part of our program is our specials. Not only do our students have dance or PE every day, but they also have another special. These include music, art, library, French, and Spanish. In addition, they have many options right here at Nardin to explore interests outside of the classroom. They can take musical instrument lessons, ballet, swim team, and more. There are so many different opportunities.

Each Kindergator has a computer, and we want our students to be comfortable using them. With our guidance, they learn to sign on by themselves and we help our students become independent on the computer. The teaching team also has many different computer activities we do with them.

Another thing we prioritize is getting outside every day. It is so important for the students. Nardin has a brand-new playground this year that our students love to use. One of the advantages of having our campus in the Elmwood Village, is it is great for walking. It is such a friendly neighborhood.

However, sometimes I think people think that Kindergarten is a lot of just play and the first classroom experience. But really, you are laying the foundation for students’ lifelong learning. We think that foundation is so important, so we work very hard to make sure that each student is provided with a strong foundation as a Kindergator, so that they can build on that learning for the rest of their lives.

The growth you see in our Kindergarten is unparalleled. Some children come in knowing only a handful of letters in the beginning of the year, and by Kindergarten graduation, all of our students play a role in the ceremony and read something in front of their friends and family. It is unbelievable to see the amount of growth week by week and then from beginning to end. It is amazing to see.

We look forward to meeting prospective students and their families on Saturday, January 29!

In her fifth year of teaching Kindergarten at Nardin Academy, Alli Robbins ’09 is part of a three-person Kindergarten teaching team.

KINDERGARTEN EXPERIENCE

Date: Saturday, January 29
Two sessions to choose from:
     9:00 - 9:45 am; followed by an optional tour
     10:00 - 10:45 am; followed by an optional tour

Join us for an interactive classroom lesson with the current Kindergarten teachers, current students and parents. Learn about the Kindergarten schedule, philosophy, extracurriculars and more! After the classroom visit you will have the option to take a small group tour of our dynamic classroom spaces.

Reservations are required by contacting Danielle Dodman, Director of Admissions, at 716.881.6262 x1030 or via email at ddodman@nardin.org.