Fours (4K)

Meeting House is an approved Madison 4K site!  Our fours program focuses on language arts and literacy, science and math, fine motor abilities like writing, social skills, and transitioning to 5-year-old kindergarten.  The daily schedule includes free choice, group time, outside play/large motor time, snack time, and music & movement.image1 (8)

  • Room 2 has two teachers and sixteen students
  • Room 4 has two teachers and eighteen students
  • Field trips include visits to the library, planetarium, UW Geology Museum, and UW Arboretum, among other unforgettable outings
  • You may enroll your child in a 2 ½ hour morning session (8:45-11:15am), or a 2 ½ hour afternoon session (12:45-3:15pm)
  • You must enroll your child for five days a week (Monday-Friday)
  • Children enrolled in 4K at MHNS through MMSD are not charged tuition for the 2 ½ hour 4K program, but additional extended sessions are available (tuition is charged for each of these extended programs)
  • Your child must be four on or before September 1 to be eligible for enrollment

In Our Own Words

Rooms 2 and 4 are where you’ll find the “big kids” at MHNS. But they’re not just big physically – their inquisitive minds are expanding by the day! 4K teacher Courtney says, “At this age, they want to learn – not just listen, but actually contribute.”

As it turns out, the opportunities for 4K students to contribute are rich and wide-ranging.  Children not sitting and looking at a worksheet. Classrooms are set up  so the children can have hands-on experiences.  Both classrooms are chock full of blocks, Legos, puzzles, magnetic tiles and art supplies. There is a science corner where children can mix colors using pipettes and droppers. They can experiment with play-dough and flubber, and then they can curl up with a book. And that’s just the beginning.

Because the children are a little older now and are attending MHNS five days a week, the 4K teachers are able to incorporate more significant learning experiences into the school day. For example, there’s “Weekend Update”, “Question of the Day,” “Child of the Week,” chapter books being read at rug time, sign language featured in one room and Spanish in the other, and more organized outdoor games (like Duck Duck Goose and Sharks & Minnows). They also take some unforgettable field trips – to the library, planetarium, UW Geology Museum, and UW Arboretum.

The themes in 4K are fascinating and tangible to the children – themes like “Going Green,” healthy eating, oceans, and construction. At this age, they are able to make strong connections between the subject matter and their own lives. “It’s real to them,” says Courtney. “And when they’re into it, that’s when they retain it.”

Hand-in-hand with playtime exists an intentional effort to prepare 4K students for kindergarten. Specifically, there are tons of language arts and literacy activities in the 4K classrooms that encourage children to make links between the spoken word and the printed word.

4K teacher Trish says, “I want to get the kids excited about the printed word. They’re such sponges.” She explains that kids who may have been scribbling the year prior are often now writing their names, recognizing friends’ names, and starting to read sight words. She mentions a student named Patrick, who had been working diligently on writing his name. After painstakingly getting his letters correct, he joyfully yelled out, “That’s the best ‘R’ and ‘K’ I’ve ever made!” The whole class cheered.

In 4K, books are used as a springboard for other activities that utilize science and math. For example, in autumn the class reads a book about apples. Then they conduct an apple taste-test, charting the results of everyone’s favorite apple. They sort the apples, count the apples, compare and contrast the apples, and finally bake the apples. The kids walk away from their “apple experience” having nurtured a variety of language, science, math and measurement skills, and they don’t even realize it because they’ve been having so much fun.

The 4K teachers strive to meet every child at his/her developmental level.  There is no need for parents to fret if a student is not yet reading. It is the social and self-help skills which will be the most important skills to them in kindergarten. They’re the basis for everything.  To that end, the teachers continually encourage children to wash their own hands, put their boots in their cubbies, and clean up after eating.

Rug time – where countless social skills are developed over the course of the year – plays a huge role in the 4K rooms. This is where the children work hard on listening and being patient and respectful. “They’re figuring out how to converse with each other – when it’s appropriate to listen and when it’s appropriate to talk. It’s like throwing a ball, learning how to throw it and learning how to catch it,” says teacher Connie, who works hard to help students fine-tune their social awareness. “They’re so on the edge of feeling what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes.”

4K is a huge year for students. Before the teachers know it, June arrives and the children get ready to graduate from MHNS and move on to grade school. Courtney is always moved to see how the kids have grown and blossomed while in her classroom. “Regardless of where each child is developmentally, we want to see progress and confidence in their skills by the time we send them on their way,” she says.