Changes announced for next year in the Beginning School

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Kindergarten hours expanded, preschool program adds drama class

Letter from Hannah Whitehead, Beginning School head

Dear Beginning School Parents,

I am happy to share with you some exciting news about next year’s Beginning School program. Two years ago Beginning School parents answered a survey about the length of the school day. We learned that a large majority of Catlin Gabel families, especially those with children in other parts of the school, found the 1:30 pm dismissal time challenging. Teachers also felt some limitations from the short day. The Beehive staff has worked for several months to address these concerns. As a result, we have a plan that we believe will strengthen our kindergarten program by increasing valuable classroom time, and also add something exciting to the preschool curriculum.

Preschool. Because we have preschoolers who are old hands at school, and also children for whom five mornings a week is a stretch, we will keep our present format of 8:20 am-1:30 pm, but with the assurance that there will now be space for every child whose family would like to take advantage of an extended day program. We are thrilled to add drama classes with one of our Catlin Gabel drama teachers, Deirdre Atkinson, on Wednesday mornings, three weeks of the month. 

Kindergarten. The kindergarten day will start at the same time it does now, but will extend to 2:45 or 2:50 pm. The new ending time will allow families who do not have other children at Catlin Gabel to slip in and out before the pick-up line gets too busy. It will also give families with other children in the school time for an unrushed Beehive pick-up before setting off to Lower, Middle, or Upper School to collect the rest of the family.

The kindergarten afternoon will be full of opportunities for children as they rotate through drama with Deirdre, extra shop time with Jennifer, and a special music curriculum with Rhonda, along with more campus exploration, craft projects, play with the Honeybees, and open-ended time to imagine and create. We are very excited about the richness of the longer kindergarten day. 

The tuition has not yet been set for next year. The longer kindergarten day will likely cost somewhat more than at present, but Lark and the board of trustees are committed to keeping the increase as small as is fiscally prudent. We will keep you informed when the budget is passed.