Key Features and Benefits of the Kids' Corner Program Model
Four key features of the Kids' Corner model work together to make the program so beloved and sought-after by Winchester families. Perhaps the most important of these features is the culture of caring and commitment that is fostered within the organization's staff and administration. This culture gives rise to deep personal commitment and long tenure among staff, and the pursuit of continual improvement, family-friendly policies, and kid-friendly fun and engaging programs. Our low ratios and high levels of commitment among staff promote a nurturing environment, in which teachers are able to provide intensive attention to the students in their care.
A second key feature is Kids' Corner's enrichment focus. At Kids' Corner, we see enrichment as both activities and an approach to learning that fosters personal growth, rather than purely academic growth, or pure play. We aim to expand children's self-knowledge, skills, and interests--not just through lessons, but through engagement in a well-rounded learning process, across an array of both structured and unstructured activities.
Kids' Corner curriculum offers our students opportunities to explore the world. Students are engaged with both teachers and peers, in programs that are designed to open doors to technology, art, and other areas where schools are not able to spend a lot of time. Kids' Corner staff can often be found engaging children in cooking, visual arts, storytelling, music, and technology projects. For example, children can learn how, and what it takes, to become an artist, because they are working with teachers who are artists themselves, and specifically focused on opening them to the world of art. This combination of activities, mixed with ample unstructured play, allows for the necessary release of energy following the school day, while also continuing learning into the afternoon.
A third key feature of Kids' Corner's programs is the separation of children into appropriate class-sized groupings by grade. Because we separate by grade, curriculum and activities can be planned to meet the developmental needs and interests of children within an age-appropriate range. While there is still time for all ages to play together, this separation allows kids to develop socially and emotionally with their peers, to achieve a sense of mastery, and to build their self-esteem. Separation also allows for smaller class sizes, enabling staff to provide more individualized attention, and get to know both kids and parents more intimately. Likewise, field trip experiences can be better targeted and thus more enriching, with more and better supervision by administration.
Intimately connected to our success with the separation of age groups, is our ability to operate all of our programs at one site. This feature engenders considerable unity amongst parent members and the Board of Directors, and has enabled us to build a larger, more vibrant community. Being on one campus also allows for more valuable and enriching programming, because resources are pooled, and the same expensive programming--such as in-house events and performances--can in many cases be shared across age groups. Another great benefit of bringing students from across Winchester to a single site is the friendships that are built--across schools, based on interests, and beyond narrow sports team experiences. These connections significantly ease our alumni's entry to middle school and beyond. Finally, we are able to share a more diverse staff with all of our students: All of our students get exposure to most of our staff, and our terrific staff are able to share the great things they have to offer among multiple rooms.