Deciding where to send your TK/ kindergarten child is a big deal. As a parent, you want to feel confident that your little one is loved and affirmed for who they are while being offered opportunities to continuously learn and grow. That’s why at GPS, we do everything we can to ensure you feel well informed about leaving your child with us every day for a full-day kindergarten experience.
At morning dropoff, you have choices. Depending on your family’s needs, you can either drop your child off at the front door, where a caring teacher or administrator will be there to make eye contact, smile and say good morning, or (if your schedule permits and your child needs a little more transition time) you can walk them into the classroom and help them put their things away and get settled before the school day starts. Families wanting to take advantage of the free breakfast provided by the Sac City Unified Central Kitchen also have the option of dropping their child off as early as 7:45 am (or even 6 am if they are enrolled in the EDMO before and after care program). The official school day starts at 8:15 am daily.
Throughout the day, students are mentored by a variety of caring adults, from their primary teacher to the music and art specialists, lunch duty team and social-emotional learning facilitator.
At the end of each day, one kinder class sings a "goodbye song" in sign language. Another kinder class does a calming video to get them reset before heading off to their next location. All students learn responsibility by cleaning the classroom area before leaving, and packing up their belongings. Students are released at 2:30 pm every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and at 1:30 pm every Wednesday. Check out the school calendar.
TK/Kindergarten School Day
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 8:15 am - 2:30 pm
Wednesday: 8:15 am - 1:30 pm
Reading Centers (60 minutes daily)
Math Blocks (60 minutes daily)
Project-Based Learning/English Language Arts (60 minutes daily)
Physical Education (30 minutes daily)
Art (twice a week for 30 minutes)
Music (twice a week for 30 minutes)
Recess (twice a day for 15 minutes)
Lunch (30 minutes daily)
Transitional Kindergarten Curriculum
Connect4Learning nurtures children’s eagerness and readiness to learn. Connect4Learning includes four main components that are integrated throughout the school day: literacy, math, social-emotional development, and hands-on science. Learn more about Connect4Learning.
EL (Expeditionary Learning) Education uses high quality texts to connect to student learning while also working towards a final project. We chose EL Education because it supports the development of foundational skills that promote literacy growth. For math, students engage in hands-on activities and games designed by GPS teachers that reinforce standards based concepts. Learn more about EL Education.
Social Emotional Learning
TK and kindergarten teachers at GPS are focused on the social emotional development of our students. Because this is the first formal educational experience for many of our students, and because they are still learning effective ways to interact with each other, our teachers model healthy ways to express emotions, help kids understand social boundaries, and give multiple opportunities to practice in real time. According to GPS Instructional Coach and Founding Teacher Moriah Haworth,”Learning things like sharing, taking turns, channeling frustration in healthy ways, communicating directly when a classmate does something you don’t like, these are all examples of things we practice with our TK and kindergarten students.”
Starting in kindergarten, students participate in their first Compass Circles, a school-wide curriculum that is at the center of the GPS model. Based on the belief that education is about helping young people reach their whole and full potential, the Circles are designed to “inspire our diverse community to live inspired, purposeful lives. Through [the] Compass Model, all members of our community work to develop their own Inner Compass, which we hope will be a reliable source of guidance throughout their lives.” Watch this video to learn how GPS students feel about the Compass Circles.
According to Ms. Haworth, kindergarten teachers help students get used to routine, learn how to listen, understand when it is (and isn’t) your turn, and identify your “feeling word”. “This is a big deal. A lot of kids start out by saying the same three or four words–happy, sad, tired, or mad. At this stage, we focus on expanding the emotional vocabulary. They also start out finding it difficult to offer specific appreciations to other students in class. So instead of just saying, ‘I appreciate Juan because you’re nice,’ we work with them on finding the specific vocabulary to describe the quality that they appreciate: ‘I appreciate Juan because he helped me feel better after I fell down and hurt my knee on the playground yesterday.’ ”
In-School Music and Art
GPS students receive music and art instruction twice a week beginning in TK and kindergarten from specialists who know how to bring the arts to life for young people.
Before and After School Care
At GPS, we recognize that the logistics of managing multiple release times for your children is complicated. For busy families, picking up your kindergartener and then having to wait in the parking lot for an additional 30 minutes before your elementary student is released can be a hassle. That’s why thanks to our before and after care partner EDMO, we offer an after-school “bridge the gap” component for families who need a place for your kindergartener to go right after school and before your older child gets out.
Spotlight on Our Teachers
Mr. Cazares - Bubbly, enthusiastic, firm but loving. With a background in trauma informed care, he brings love to his classroom by always following the 5 positive to 1 correction rule. He loves to laugh, and always has something fun planned for his students whether it's guided drawing time as a brain break, or making chocolate as an extension to the tree unit.
Mrs. Petersen - Motherly, warm, structured. She has a routine for everything! But will still give you motherly vibes. She gives so many hugs to her students, and she loves to add little movements and chants to everything she does. She loves to celebrate her students and if you ever get a chance, she will talk your ear off about all the wonderful things her kiddos are doing.
Ms. Bicego - Quirky, gentle, and sweet. She loves to make silly sounds during read alouds to engage her students! Nothing is too "childish" for Ms. Bicego! She's almost always up and busy, getting things ready for her students, or working with them directly. She loves to do crafts with her kids and you can see her creativity come out in all the activities she does with her kids.