The Pathfinder School: Traverse City Community School

PreK, Young 5's & Kindergarten

What makes Pre-Kindergarten, Young 5's, and Kindergarten at Pathfinder so unique?

We are extremely proud of our dynamic Pre-Kindergarten, Young 5's, and Kindergarten programs at Pathfinder. As the entry point into the rigorous 1st-8th grade curriculum, we engage our youngest students in a developmentally appropriate level of creativity and critical thinking as they build relationships with their classmates through hands-on, project based learning. Our deep understanding of  Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences theory enables our teachers to build student confidence in their areas of strength and use that excitement for learning to stretch their weaker capabilities.

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2020-2021 Enrollment | Pre-Kindergarten, Young 5's, and Kindergarten

We still have a select few spots for our PreK, Young 5's, and Kindergarten classrooms during the 2020-2021 school year. If you are considering Pathfinder for your child (ages 3-5), we encourage you to schedule a tour of campus to learn more about our programs. Please call our Main Office - 231.995.3800 

In Pathfinder PreK, Young 5's, and Kindergarten classrooms your child will experience...

  • The development of a caring school family throughout the year
  • Communication, creativity, and problem solving in both individual and whole group projects
  • Critical thinking through questioning and exploration
  • Conflict/Resolution tools that are taught, modeled, and learned
  • Imaginative play-time with friends daily
  • Outside play-time in our 22-acre wooded wonderland daily
  • Authentic and lasting relationships with teachers
  • An environment in which the whole child is embraced and taught as an individual
  • Curriculum adapted to both interests and individual development
  • A classroom filled with laughter, movement, discovery, and engagement

 

Pre-Kindergarten Age Range & Schedule: 
(3-5 years old) | Full Day - 8am-3pm

At Pathfinder, the majority of our Pre-Kindergarten students are ages 3-5. We have a suite of scheduling options to choose from; two full days a week, three full days, or five full days. SEE SCHEDULE & TUITION PRICES HERE.

  • Our student to teacher ratio in Pre-Kindergarten is 8:1 enabling each child in the classroom to have individual attention in addition to a safe, and comfortable social environment.  
  • We have two fulltime Pre-Kindergarten teachers: Aubrey Henschell & Kristin Spangler
  • Pre-Kindergarten students have co-curricular classes in Music (2x/week), French (1x/week) and PE (3x/week) however only five day a  week students receive all of these electives. If you have an abbreviated schedule, your child may not experience all of these co-curriculars but will certainly receive instruction from at least two different co-curricular teachers.
  • Full-day students continue with lunch and then a mandatory rest time. Each child pulls out a yoga mat, pillow, and blanket and rests from 12-1pm. They can read quietly, play with a puzzle or sleep.
  • Following rest, Pre-Kindergarten students engage in a series of dynamic, hands-on activities, art projects, outdoor exploration and service learning.

Due to limited space in our two Pre-Kindergarten classrooms our Admissions decisions are based on the following priorities:

  1. RETURNING STUDENTS & SIBLINGS OF CURRENT STUDENTS

  2. LONG TERM INTEREST IN PATHFINDER - Ideally, we seek to find students and families who are interested in being with the school through 8th grade.

  3. POTTY TRAINING - We require that all students applying to the school be fully potty trained.

  4. BALANCE - Our goal is to have a balanced multi-age classroom of children ages 3-5.

All initial placement decisions will be made by the end of February 2019, at which point we will notify all families. If you have questions before then, please feel free to contact the Admissions Office: 231.995.3800 or email receptionist@thepathfinderschool.org.

 

As children in our Pre-K program approach the end of their second year, teachers and parents sit down together to discuss the child's readiness for Kindergarten. If all parties agree that the child is ready to progress as a five-year-old to Kindergarten, we happily accept that child into the Kindergarten classroom for the next year. If not, or if parents would prefer to have their child start at 6 years of age, we have introduced a new classroom for our Young 5 students. Ultimately, we want to operate in your child's best interest.  

To read more about starting Kindergarten at age 5 versus 6 click the links below:

 

Young 5's Age Range & Schedule: 
(4-5 years old) | Full Day - 8am-3pm | Half Day - 8am-11:30am

We are now offering a classroom specifically designed for those students who do not turn 5 until after the traditional Kindergarten cut-off date of September 1st and before November 15th. The majority of the students in this class have also already completed two years of pre-school education. We offer two options for the Young 5's classroom: 5 full-days each week or 3 full-days (M-W-F) with two half-days (T-Th). SEE SCHEDULE & TUITION PRICES HERE.

  • Our student teacher ratio in Young 5's will be 8:1, to allow for a small setting similar to our Pre-Kindergarten rooms.
  • We have one full-time Young 5's teacher: Mrs. Stephanie McLean - who will be transitioning from teaching Kindergarten at Pathinder for over a decade.
  • 5 Full-Day each week Young 5's students have co-curricular classes in Music (2x/week), French (1x/week) and PE (3x/week). Students with an abbreviated schedule receive some of these co-curriculars, but not all. 
  • If choosing the 3 full-day, 2 half-day option, students are picked up in the classroom at 11:30am before lunch on Tuesday & Thursday.
  • During full days students continue with lunch and then a mandatory rest time. Each child pulls out a yoga mat, pillow, and blanket and must rest from 12pm-1pm. They can read quietly, play with a puzzle, or sleep.
  • Following rest, Young 5's students continue with more dynamic, hands-on activities, art projects, outdoor exploration and service learning.

 

Kindergarten Age Range & Schedule:
(5-6 years old) | Full Day - 8am-3pm | Half Day - 8am-11:30am

Our Kindergarten students are typically 5-6 years old. We offer two options for enrollment: 5 full-days during the week, or 3 full-days (M-W-F) with 2 half-days (T-Th). SEE SCHEDULE & TUITION PRICES HERE.

  • Our student teacher ratio in Kindergarten is 12:1.
  • We have one full-time Kindergarten teacher: Amy Pyles - who we are excited to be welcoming back after a leave of absence.
  • 5 Full-Day Kindergarten students have co-curricular classes in Music (2x/week), French (1x/week) and PE (3x/week). Students with an abbreviated schedule receive some of these co-curriculars, but not all. 
  • During full days students eat lunch in their classroom or outside and then have a mandatory rest time. Each child pulls out a yoga mat, pillow, and blanket and must rest from 12-1pm. They can read quietly, play with a puzzle, or sleep.
  • If choosing the 3 full-day, 2 half-day option, students are picked up in the classroom at 11:30am before lunch on Tuesday & Thursday.
  • Following rest, Kindergarten students continue with more dynamic, hands-on activities, art projects, outdoor exploration and service learning.

 

Pre-Kindergarteners dissect a salmon donated from the weir in Traverse City. The yellow paint is from the Gyotaku prints students made of the fish body prior to hypothesizing about what they would find inside of their prize salmon. As a part of this lessson, students also traveled down to our dock on Cedar Lake and caught 12 bluegill that were cared for by our 3-6 year olds throughout the school year.

 

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Pre-Kindergarten, Young 5's & Kindergarten Enrollment Policy

At Pathfinder, we afford parents options for the schedules of their Pre-Kindergarten, Young 5's, and Kindergarten students. We recognize that at this young age, not all children are ready for 5 Full Days of school. Below is our policy for enrollment in these classrooms, as well as our Mid-Year Enrollment Options. 

Beginning of School Year

For the start of the school year, Pre-K prospective students are offered the following options based on availability:             

  • 2 Full Days: T, TH
  • 3 Full Days: M, W, F
  • 5 Full Days: M-F

For the start of the school year, Young 5's & Kindergarten prospective students are offered the following options based on availability:  

  • 5 Mornings (M, W, F) and 3 Afternoons (T, TH)
  • 5 Full Days: M-F

We offer the options listed above in order to maintain a consistent classroom dynamic, build curriculum around student needs and emergent interests, as well as to cultivate the appropriate number and gender balance of students in each grouping.

 

Mid-Year Check In & Day Extension

If you are interested in expanding your child's schedule from 2 or 3 full days to 5 full days, we will need to take these steps and also look at classroom availability. 

STEP ONE: Consult with your Teacher - At Mid-Year, Pre-K, Young 5's, & Kindergarten parents can consult with their teachers about extending their child’s program from 2 or 3 Full Days to 5 Full Days.   

STEP TWO: Parents Connect with Admissions & Finance: Teachers will direct parents to Admissions and Finance for a dialogue about the shift from 2 or 3 Full Days to 5 Full Days. Teachers will email or provide a written recommendation about the child in question with their thoughts about extending the days as well as any concerns.

STEP THREE: Admissions & Teachers Connect: Admissions will connect with teachers following the parent discussion to schedule a “Trial Run” for the child and discuss any final concerns.

STEP FOUR: Trial Run: Admissions will invite child to try the Full Day option for 2 days. After that, Admissions and teachers will connect about the extension.

STEP FIVE: Notification of Placement: Admissions will contact Parents to notify them of a confirmed day extension or a temporary hold on the move in the best interests of the child.

 

 

 

"Our kids simply love school. They’re having fun. They’ve made great friends. They look forward to class each day. They’re thriving. It’s an amazing recipe for success!"

- Parent, grades 3 & 5