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A Peek into Moore County Kindergarten Classrooms

Think public school kids are stuck doing worksheets all day? Well, you’re wrong. In Moore County Schools’ kindergarten classrooms, students are being led to success without even knowing it.

Pinehurst Elementary School’s Meg DeMolet works with students during a group session

Learning Through Productive Play:

Forget rote memorization or filling in the blanks. The county’s youngest public schoolers are forming letters on light tables and words in clay. Their days aren’t spend hunched over desks, but moving through stations of engaging sensory activities.

Southern Pines Primary Principal Tonya Wagner, with students who are piecing words together from sensory bins.

‘Developmentally Appropriate’ Curriculum:

“It’s not a chore to them,” says Mary Lovett of Southern Pines Primary, who is in her 26th year of teaching. “They don’t see it as learning, they see it as playing with their friends. It’s developmentally appropriate and it’s the way a 5-year-old should learn.”

Southern Pines Primary teacher Mary Lovett works with a student in a literacy station.

Students rotate through stations each morning, making a stop at a teacher-led group formed around the students’ skill levels.

A student works in a literacy station at Pinehurst Elementary School

Adaptive Instruction:

“Kids working on learning their letters and sounds would be in one group,” Lovett says. “Those who are actually reading words would be in another group, because they’re working on putting those words together to actually read books.”

School board member Helena Wallin-Miller plays with a student in Mary Lovett’s classroom at Southern Pines Primary School.

Child-Focused Tools:

Lovett was a member of a small group who — with the support of district leaders and school board — recently developed a teacher toolkit, full of age-appropriate ideas to inspire kindergartners to keep learning. This toolkit is now in use by teachers across the county.

A student in Mary Lovett’s classroom shows school board member Libby Carter a favorite program.

Focus on Effectiveness:

“We want the children to achieve milestones in a way that fosters a love of learning and also allows them to have fun; and, we know that these methods are effective,” says Bridget Johnson, Moore County Schools’ director of Curriculum and Instruction. “This is how children learn, and we wouldn’t want to do it any differently.”

Students at Pinehurst Elementary work in a small group

Is your child ready for school? See how to get registered for Moore County Schools’ kindergarten here.

This piece was published in partnership with Moore County Schools.

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