Walk into our Kindergarten classroom and you will witness students learning about India in their Global Studies unit or exploring one of the developmental play centers including art and writing. As Lead Teacher Danielle Sarver states, “I love that our Kindergartners can truly learn and explore and grow in an environment that supports that completely. We instill a love for learning and can do it in a way that is exciting and fun and have the support to focus on students individually.” Every day our educators tie the content together across disciplines to build a comprehensive foundation and prepare students for the primary school program.

At a recent BASIS Independent McLean Open House, families posed several frequently asked questions so we’re sharing the most popular topics here.

FAQ #1: At what level of reading and math do you expect students to enter Kindergarten?
We recommend students have letter and sound knowledge. For math, we expect rising Kindergarten students to identify numbers, and count and identify one through ten. In our classroom, we start off with the basics with phonics and math and build upon this to create a strong foundation. By the time our students finish Kindergarten, they are at a 2nd grade reading and math level and ready for our advanced primary school program.

FAQ #2: Why is Mandarin taught versus other languages?
Mandarin is a required language from Preschool through grade 4. Mandarin is taught because it is a character based language, which helps develop critical thinking skills and challenges students to think why are characters shaped the way they are written. Additionally, Mandarin provides students exposure to a language that is spoken around the world. Students take Mandarin three times a week for 30 minutes.

FAQ #3: What do Kindergartners do during engineering?
Engineering class is held twice a week for 60 minutes. Our engineering teacher, Ms. Li, joins eager students in their classroom to bring this subject to life. In engineering, there is a lot of teamwork, learning how to cooperate, and problem solve. Kindergarten students learn engineering concepts such as buoyancy, weight, incline planes and more. Our students bring these concepts to life by engaging in group work and problem solving on how to design planes that goes the farthest, build boats that float, and more.

FAQ #4: What is the teacher/student ratio?
While we cap our Kindergarten classroom at 20 students, our two-teacher model provides a ratio of one teacher to ten students. Our two teacher model consists of a Lead Teacher and a Teaching Fellow. The Kinder Fellow is a partner in the classroom. They individualize the learning styles and needs of students so that the Lead Teacher can primarily focus on the content of the curriculum. The Lead Teacher is responsible for planning and implementing the curriculum.

BASIS Independent McLean is a preschool-12 private school located in McLean, Virginia providing students an acclaimed liberal arts and science curriculum.