One of the best parts of my job is finally meeting all the prospective kindergartners each February. Over the year, I get to know them through the eyes of their parents and teachers but I love meeting them face to face as they come for their school visit. 

As they arrive for their two-hour visit, all the different personalities begin to unfold. Some children are eager and chatty. Others are nervous or watchful. Some are quiet and serious while others are bubbling with excitement. I remember one boy bursting through the front door, flinging out his arms and announcing to everyone milling about, “I’M HERE!” On the other hand, I doubt my own child spoke a single word during his kindergarten visit, many years ago. As they say, variety is the spice of life.

After coats are stowed, everyone enters the kindergarten room to meet the teachers, put on name tags and check out the place – finding blocks for building, books for browsing, costumes for play-acting…

girl reading
Some visitors find a quiet corner to look at books.
Some visitors love the costumes in the dramatic play area.
Other children love the costumes in the dramatic play area. "Aaargh! Where's me parrot?"

Some kids shoo their parents along so they can get busy playing. Others take more time to get settled. Eventually, they all say goodbye to their parents who then gather upstairs in the library.

As they wait, the parents wonder: What do they do during their kindergarten visit?

What They Do:
  • Free choice time:  Children explore the room, play with peers, chat with teachers and choose to do something that interests them. Common choices are building with blocks, playing dress-up, performing puppet shows, looking at books, playing at the sand table, exploring the science table, drawing and doing puzzles.
Free choice time might lead to a puppet show.
Free choice time might lead to a puppet show starring a whale.
  • Circle time: We gather to get to know each other. We talk about everyone’s names, sing songs and discuss “What do you think kindergarten will be like?”
  • Go to the gym or multipurpose room: The whole group  moves to a larger space for some large motor movement time. Children run, skip, hop and toss beanbags while playing a variety of short games. It’s a nice change from the quieter space of the kindergarten room and gives them a chance to tour part of the school.
We play a movement/imaginative game called “Sleeping Children, Go to Sleep” where I say that phrase then say, “When you wake up you will be a_______. ( tiger, snake, rabbit, cheetah, dinosaur, etc.) The students really enjoy this and I start taking their ideas.” Marshall, kindergarten teacher
  • Have a snack together: Students return to the kindergarten room for a snack of juice and crackers. They  all sit in a large circle with the adults. Snacks are passed out and they chat about various topics as they eat. It is a pleasant time to relax and share ideas.
  • Work at centers: Every student joins a few other children at a table with a teacher who asks them to draw a picture of their family and tell about it. A family picture is a good icebreaker as it invites them to share something they know very well. Other work centers include pattern blocks, block-building, puppets, book area, and the sand table.
Boy drawin
This boy chatted about his two brothers while drawing his family picture.
  • Story time and closing circle: Seated as group, the kindergarten teacher reads a story aloud. Children are invited to discuss the story, sharing their ideas and listening to each other.
kindergarten circle time
Prospective kindergarten students will have have circle time with Marshall - just like his 2009-10 kindergarten class.
  • Reunite with parents: We all say our goodbyes, the door opens and happy/tired/excited/relieved kids flow out to find their parents waiting in the hall, eager to hear about their visit.

We hope everyone enjoys their visit as much as we do!

If you would like to know more about kindergarten at Friends School of Minnesota, contact admissions.