Junior Kindergarten

Junior kindergarten is the start of a bright future at WPGA. Our teachers build joyful classroom connections, incorporating community and character into thematic units purposely designed for the 4-year-old mind.

Program Philosophy

Rooted in our school’s mission, Shaping Lives of Inquiry, Action and Joy, WPGA’s signature inquiry-based junior kindergarten program aims to inspire in children a lifelong love of learning. Through guided inquiry and experiential activities, many of which take place outdoors, children develop a strong foundation in literacy, numeracy, motor skills and creative expression. Music, art, French, science and social studies are woven into every day’s schedule, with a PE block daily and Spanish or Mandarin alternated weekly. Students are active each day and spend a lot of time in nature. The JK program is designed to support children’s transition to WPGA’s kindergarten program. 

AREAS OF FOCUS   
 
Literacy and Numeracy
  • A literacy-rich environment fosters reading engagement and vocabulary development; multiple interactions with text each day explore the foundational relationships between letters, sound, structure and grammar.  
  • The use of natural elements, with connections between shape, form, quantity and quality, facilitate an understanding of abstract math concepts.
  • Technology is used as a tool, where appropriate, to enhance learning. 
Character Development
  • Teachers, trained in attachment theory, purposefully develop deep, authentic connections with each student to support children’s social-emotional wellbeing and decision-making capabilities.
  • Children are guided to naturally converse with peers, which sets the stage for friendship and collaboration. 
  • The school’s values of mindfulness, balance and self-empowerment are integrated within the program to encourage present state awareness and kindness to self and others.
Community/Global Connections
  • Language lessons (French, Spanish and Mandarin) include fun activities that relate to different cultures around the globe.  
  • Children are part of the school culture and community, with learning activities with higher grades, regular visits to the school learning commons/library, and participation in school events, concerts and assemblies.
  • Service and sustainability are emphasized, with opportunities to contribute to our school and global communities, and to improve and protect the environment.

A Typical Day in JK

The full-day program is purposefully designed to align with children’s natural rhythms and maximize their learning and development. Although no two days in JK are the same, below is an example of a day in the life of JK.  
 
8am-9am:
Flexible drop-off; parents are welcome to chat with teachers or connect in our parent room.  
9am:
Teachers and students gather to review the day’s schedule and the big idea/concept of the day. 
Morning:
Students divide into two classes (same classes all year) to explore the idea of the day.   
Sample activities:
- Exploring English phonetics and alphabet code through movement, song, role-playing, stories and art. *inspired by work of educator Nancy Young
- Exploring numeracy through cooking and baking activities (learning to count, measure, follow direction).
- Exploring ecology and science and developing gross motor skills while in nature (beach, meadow, woods, garden).
Lunch:
Children bring their own lunch. Healthy, juice-free lunches are encouraged; all lunches and snacks must be nut free. Snack time is open throughout the day.
Early Afternoon:
Outside activity and learning, for example, children plant flowers in the ECEC garden or are provided magnifying glasses and encouraged to search for things connected to the day’s big idea.
Reflective Time:
Children rest, nap, journal or read quietly by themselves. This is a valuable time for children to pause and absorb the day’s stimuli and information.
PE Block:  
Taught by WPGA PE Teacher.
End of Day Activity:
Teachers and students gather to perform a song or read a story. 
Pick-up:
2:30pm-3pm

Program Features

  • Full day program (8:30am-3pm, with flexible drop-off until 9am and pick-up to 3pm). 
  • Two classes of 12 and 13 students; 2 teachers and 1 intern (8:1 student teacher ratio).
  • Early Childhood Education Centre features two spacious classrooms, art and science stations, a comfortable quiet room, parent room, kitchen, large outdoor garden and nature discovery area.
  • Specialists teach Mandarin, Spanish and Physical Education.   
  • Guest presenters and field trips related to curriculum. Weekly walking excursions to Jericho Beach and other nearby natural areas.  
  • Parent involvement is encouraged, with parent-teacher conferences, student sharing sessions, parent education workshops and grade socials throughout the year.