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10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Kindergarten Program

Ridgefield Academy Summer Camp CT 2022We’d like to thank Ridgefield Academy for sponsoring this story and supporting the Ridgefield community!

Kindergarten is the foundation of every child’s education, making it one of the most important decisions a parent will make regarding their academic success. Luckily, families in and around Ridgefield have many wonderful options when it comes to their children’s education. Take a look at the ten important factors to consider when choosing a kindergarten program:

1. What is the classroom size?
One of the most important questions that you can ask the schools being considered for your child’s kindergarten enrollment is about their student to teacher ratio. Smaller classroom sizes allow for more one-on-one time with each student and a more personalized learning environment for each student’s aptitudes and abilities.

Ridgefield Academy provides individualized attention for students with small class sizes and a 9:1 faculty student ratio. With the vast majority of classes containing 12-15 students, and multiple teachers providing personalized instruction for their students in the elementary years, Ridgefield Academy provides a truly differentiated learning environment.

2. Is there a sense of community?
Now that it’s time for kindergarten, your child will begin spending a significant amount of time outside of your home and in the trusted hands of teachers and academic professionals. It is important that both you and your child feel that their learning environment fosters a sense of community within the school, which will in turn create a safe space to learn, explore, and grow.

Kindergarteners at Ridgefield Academy are warmly welcomed with a school tradition on their first day of school. They each ring the “Patriot Bell”, marking the beginning of their academic journey and welcoming them into a connected school community. They also take part in the Kindergarten/Grade 8 Buddy Program that pairs students for the year, providing new students with a student role model within the school, adding to the strong sense of community and service learning.

Small classroom sizes allow for a personalized experience for each student.
Kindergarten students ring the “Patriot Bell” to mark the beginning of their academic journey.

3. How comprehensive is the curriculum?
A comprehensive curriculum will focus not only on the foundational skills of language arts and math, but will also be rich in electives including performing and visual arts, science, world language, and technology. Each child is unique in their learning style and interest, so having a well-rounded curriculum in the classroom will allow for students to learn and grow in a way that encourages creative thinking and expression.

Ridgefield Academy’s entire academic curriculum is centered around “joyful learning” which allows students to explore their interests and express their creativity through a comprehensive curriculum and electives that creates a space for all children to have the opportunity to be artists, musicians, scientists, writers, learn another language, build a foundation in technology, and more. Additionally, Ridgefield Academy offers an educational program that integrates health and wellness, public speaking, problem-solving and collaboration skills into its curriculum.

4. Are teachers and staff enthusiastic?
High-quality teachers who are invested in each individual student’s success will be one of the most important factors in your child’s academic growth and development. Every student learns at their own pace, and having enthusiastic teachers who encourage and provide support for their students will help foster an environment that celebrates learning.

Teachers at Ridgefield Academy are focused on an individualized approach to learning. In kindergarten, students experience small classes, a 9:1 faculty to student ratio, and assistant teachers providing support during academic lessons. Teachers meet each child where they are and design engaging lessons to cultivate a lifelong love of learning by making learning fun at Ridgefield Academy.

Joyful learning allows students to explore their interests and express their creativity.
Teachers at Ridgefield Academy are focused on an individualized approach to learning.

5. Is social-emotional learning part of the program?
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is particularly important for young children as they learn to understand and manage their emotions in relation to their peers, teachers, and staff. Schools that incorporate social-emotional learning create an environment that improves academic performance and success while teaching social skills.

At Ridgefield Academy, teachers help students identify and manage their emotions by incorporating songs and books that talk about emotions, treating each other with kindness, and practicing mindful breathing to aid the transition between different parts of their day. Ridgefield Academy also has a school counselor on staff who trains and supports teachers to integrate SEL into their classrooms and supports students individually.

6. How substantial is the campus and recreational activities?
As kindergarteners learn and grow, recreational activities are considered an important factor in their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. A school with a dedicated space for students to nurture their needs for exploration and socialization not only allows young children to develop communication, teamwork, and problem solving skills among their peers, but also gives them a space for physical activity and exercise outside the classroom.

Ridgefield Academy’s 42-acre campus provides endless space for both learning and having fun outdoors. Kindergarten students enjoy time outside every day – from nature walks with their teacher to recess to meeting up with their Grade 8 Buddies. The new Outdoor Campus Center, a bi-level playscape sitting directly at the center of campus, provides play apparatuses where students are both challenged and have the opportunity to play in creative ways. Ridgefield Academy is also home to three playgrounds, sports fields, and lots of open space.

Ridgefield Academy trains and supports teachers to integrate social-emotional learning into their classrooms.
Ridgefield Academy’s 42-acre campus provides endless space for both learning and having fun outdoors.

7. How involved and engaged are parents?
Parents are highly invested in their children’s academic success, which is why a great school will encourage parent involvement and foster open communication between parent and teacher. It will also create a space for parents to get to know one another and become engaged in school activities for the benefit of the school community as a whole.

Through strong relationships and great communication with parents, Ridgefield Academy identifies opportunities, addresses challenges, and develops appropriate goals for students. Parents are also able to nurture parent-to-parent relationships with the Ridgefield Academy’s Parent Association, adding to a strong sense of community. Parent engagement opportunities can span from one-time events to commitments lasting beyond a year, including Annual Fund Class Captains, Class Reps, Board of Trustees, and Board Committees, along with philanthropic opportunities that allow families to expand the resources and facilities even further.

8. How accessible is technology?
Schools that invest in technology in the classroom are able to incorporate dynamic learning experiences for students. Many of our young children already know how to navigate smartphones and tablets, so incorporating technology into everyday learning in the classroom is a natural way of opening doors to new skills and interests for kindergarten students.

Ridgefield Academy is at the forefront of integrating state-of-the-art technology into the classroom. Each kindergarten student has access to tablets, computers, and tech facilities through which they are able to learn about the basics of coding, animation techniques, and more. Technology enhances day-to-day learning and contributes to the curriculum with new and innovative practices that build each student’s skills and a foundation for the future, extending into their elementary education and beyond.

Parents participating in Simon Says at Ridgefield Academy.
Students have access to technology to learn skills that will extend into their elementary education and beyond.

9. Are there quality after-school programs?
After-school programs create great opportunities for students to enhance their social skills and academic development in a safe and familiar environment. Schools that offer after-school programming for students create a benefit for both parents and children who are able to participate in enrichment activities under school supervision.

Ridgefield Academy offers both before and after school care programs along with enrichment clubs every season that provides children the opportunities to explore a variety of activities outside of the daily classroom setting.

10. Are there volunteer opportunities?
As our children grow into young adults and future members of our communities, it is just as important that they develop good character and strong values in addition to strong academic skills. Schools that are able to provide service learning opportunities that teach our children about society and how to be good citizens in the world can offer valuable lessons for a lifetime.

Ridgefield Academy offers an active Service Learning Program that encourages and empowers students to become thoughtful, reflective citizens who are inspired to serve as active agents within their community. The school partners with a number of organizations in the local community and provides unique service-learning experiences through guest speaker events, field trips, and more.

Ridgefield Academy's comprehensive curriculum includes performing and visual arts, science, world language, and technology.
Ridgefield Academy celebrates Earth Day!

Thank you to Ridgefield Academy for sharing this knowledge with the Ridgefield community! Want to learn more? Visit the Ridgefield Academy website

Learn More:
Contact Ridgefield Academy’s Director of Enrollment, David Suter at (203) 894-1800 x112 or email [email protected] to schedule an individual admissions appointment and learn more about kindergarten at Ridgefield Academy.

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