Balance is the common thread running through each aspect of the Kindergarten classroom. Balance between Leila Day’s tradition of exploratory learning and the academic rigor necessary to prepare children for first grade is achieved through interlacing the two, especially during the daily reading and writing workshops. In Leila Day’s style of teaching the whole child, the thread of balance is also evident through helping children balance their need for self-fulfillment with learning how to independently resolve peer-to-peer conflicts – yet knowing when to ask for help from a teacher; and through teachers balancing the perspective of the individual child with that of the group.
Dramatic play has a significant role throughout the classroom and is carried outdoors to the play yard. This is another area where academia is woven into exploration, where socialization is learned, where social and emotional development is fostered and flourishes. It’s where children can re-enact a story or a previous experience in their own way so it becomes understood, presented on their terms, embedded in them in a way that allows them to be active in the experience rather than onlookers. Ultimately, it is what enables them to develop confidence in their understanding of the world and their surroundings, and helps them process their experiences in a way that allows them to find balance between their own needs and expectations and those of others as they prepare to move on from Kindergarten and Leila Day.