Sioux Falls School District adding junior kindergarten program this fall

Education

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For parents who feel their kids aren’t quite ready for kindergarten, the Sioux Falls School District has a plan to help.

Junior Kindergarten is a special program looking to help kids take that first leap and tackle big challenges; ones that won’t just get them through school but can last a lifetime.

Making the transition from one grade to the next can be tough but starting school is a whole new challenge.

“Junior Kindergarten is a program for kids who maybe aren’t quite ready for that big step of kindergarten; they just need that extra year of time for growth and development,” Assistant Superintendent for Academic Achievement for the Sioux Falls School District Teresa Boysen said.

Giving kids all the tools to face up to hard obstacles in the classroom.

“Really what we’re looking at is some real focus on those play and social skills, being able to interact with other kids appropriately as well as those early academic skills,” Harvey Dunn Principal Patti Pannell said.

“We’re going to work on oral language development,early numeracy, early literacy skills, some writing because that’s often a piece that students don’t work on,” Boysen said.

And ones they’ll take on when they grow up.

“Creativity, exploration, really developing that grit and perseverance. You know, when we think of, ‘How do kids respond when things get hard?’ and looking at sustaining those skills, working on social skills and that communication,” Boysen said.

Two KELOLAND schools are looking to implement this program next fall: Susan B. Anthony and Harvey Dunn. These are the first two to try this out in Sioux Falls.

“We want them to be successful in kindergarten. We don’t want them to struggle either academically or socially, emotionally, and so this gives us the chance to provide them, like you said, with the skills to bridge that gap,” Pannell said.

Not only granting them the gift of knowledge.

“It’s giving your child the gift of time. Everyone will always go to kindergarten, so giving them that time to develop academically, mentally, socially, ready for that rigor that happens from kindergarten through grade twelve,” Boysen said.

The classes will begin next fall accepting kids over the age of five. There’s over twenty spots left open, it’s free and any child from the district can be enrolled.

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