Sporting hardhats and clutching colorful ribbons, Blake’s class of 2035 led a procession to the site of the future Early Learning Center (ELC) for a groundbreaking celebration.
Children at the Center
Blake’s pre-kindergarten program is grounded in the belief that respect for the child is paramount to a meaningful education. On our Highcroft campus in Wayzata and our Blake campus in Hopkins, teachers hold our youngest learners at the center of the educational experience. To be eligible for pre-kindergarten, children must be at least 4 years old by Sept. 1.
The Power of Play
Hands-on or imaginative experiences, experimentation and play are the most powerful forms of learning for young children and are at the heart of Pre-K teaching and learning.
Pre-kindergarten classrooms are considered “the third teachers” at Blake. In these spaces, children are encouraged to make decisions about where to spend their time and what to explore. Classrooms are designed intentionally with books, activities and materials that promote autonomous learning through play. Children may work individually or in pairs and small groups.
Small class sizes mean teachers can carefully observe and interact with each student to learn their unique interests and needs. Teachers provide the scaffolding to help students reach the next level of learning while supporting early literacy, mathematical, scientific and critical thinking skills.
Complimentary morning care is available from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. on a drop-in basis.
An afternoon extended day program is offered from 3:30 to 6 p.m. in a warm, secure environment where children enjoy friendships across age groups. The day includes snack and a variety of free play and structured activities. Families may enroll students in one or more days per week.
Pre-K students are part of Blake’s language proficiency program. Instruction is led by language education degreed faculty who are native and near-native speakers and who have lived, studied and worked in Spanish-speaking countries. Spanish instruction occurs for 20 minutes, twice a week. The curriculum is aligned with that in Blake’s Kindergarten through grade 5 where Spanish is offered daily for 30 minutes.
Blake hosts Amity Interns from a Spanish-speaking country who support teachers and students. In cooperation with the Spanish teacher, the Amity Intern offers small group activities, differentiation and personalized instruction.
A pre-kindergarten student’s day is from 8:30 a.m. to noon with an optional afternoon program. Although every day can be slightly different, here’s what the days holds:
7:30-8:15 a.m.: Optional, complimentary care (with escort to classroom)
8:15-8:30 a.m.: Children and families play and greet each other
8:30-9 a.m.: Circle time
Gross motor activity (either physical education class or outdoor exploration)
Small group work
Visual art and music
Spanish instruction (twice a week)
11-11:30 a.m.: Storytime
Outdoor exploration or recess
(Noon dismissal from morning program)
More than half of our families choose to have their child spend one or more days in our afternoon program in the pre-kindergarten classroom with pre-kindergarten faculty. Children may enroll for one or more days per week.
After recess: a 30-minute healthy lunch
Transition: includes a teacher read-aloud
Quiet rest time: Some children nap, while others listen to audio stories
Work choice: independent exploration or teacher-guided experiences
3:30 p.m. dismissal: to either carpool, bus or extended day
3:30-6p.m.: Optional, fee-based extended day program
Toya West will join Blake as the founding director of the Early Learning Center (ELC) this July 2022.
Students as Makers of Meaning
Students not only answer questions posed by adults, they construct their own questions and objectives. Teachers guide and challenge students as they develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the world.
Teachers lead daily campus activities that encourage excitement about the natural world, sharpen observation skills, enhance problem-solving and connect knowledge to new experiences.