Preschool Spotlight: Saratoga Independent School

spotlight Founded by parents in 1991, Saratoga Independent School is a private elementary school for children in kindergarten through grade 6, that also offers morning and afternoon Pre-K programs, after-school and summer enrichment programs, and aftercare. Their picturesque Adirondack-style Anderson Campus, which opened in 2004, accommodates up to 130 students.

Saratoga Independent School will be holding an Open House on Saturday, March 19th starting at 10am. These Open Houses give prospective students and families the opportunity to tour Saratoga Independent School, meet faculty and staff, and learn about the school. To schedule your visit or RSVP to this Admissions Open House event, please complete their form by clicking here.

In today's 2016 Preschool Guide Spotlight, let's find out more about Saratoga Independent School from the director of the school, Felice Karlitz.

Mamatoga: What sets Saratoga Independent School apart? What makes it unique?

Felice Karlitz: Our 3 and 4-year old multiage Pre-Kindergarten classes enhance interaction between children of all ages.  It recognizes that children develop at different rates regardless of their chronological age. A multiage setting helps children develop self-esteem and social confidence. Monthly themes that integrate language, science, math, music, literacy and dramatic play so that children can make meaningful connections.

In addition, children meet weekly with our Spanish and music teachers. Each parent receives a unique Focused 'Portfolio” record of their child's growth and development.  Teachers assess the children by carefully observing them in everyday interactions in the classroom. Through photographs, anecdotes, and work samples, they put together a visual account of each child’s accomplishments. Using recognized developmental milestones, growth in seven areas of development is assessed. We also have a Low teacher child ratio:  11 students to two teachers


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M: What can preschool parents expect from a typical day?

FK: Children's days are filled with opportunities to explore, create, question and interact with the world around them through developmentally appropriate activities. The day begins with activity centers, each of which is carefully planned to provide opportunities to develop their individual skills and knowledge in different areas of development: cognitive, fine motor, creative, social. Circle time may include a story, calendar work, sharing information and work, a song, or a science activity. In this warm and supportive environment, children develop the confidence to share their thoughts and ideas and speak in front of their peers.

This is followed by snack time, where social interactions and language development occurs in a natural and relaxed way. Following snack, children enjoy an independent reading time.  As they explore books, connections are made to favorite authors/illustrators, genres of fiction and non-fiction, and to the literacy skills they are developing.

The next activity time allows teachers to tailor activities to each individual child's strengths and needs. Activities may include games that foster number/letter recognition, sight word development, and spatial concepts.

Outside play occurs every day: running, climbing, digging, swinging, sliding, and socializing on the playground, our playing fields, or on our low challenge course. We end the day with a group song and/or dance.

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M: What is the SIS approach to preschool learning?

FK: Our Pre-K program is based on the principles of developmentally appropriate practices for young children as identified by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. In addition, our multiage approach is based on the understanding that all areas of development and learning are important and they proceed at varying rates. We create hands-on activities because children are active learners, not passive recipients. They learn from their own experiences, not worksheet and text driven assignments. Our activities are play-based because play is an important vehicle for children's social, emotional, physical and cognitive development.

Our children develop independence and confidence as they are helped to make choices and explore their interests.  They learn in individual, small group, and community activities.

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M: What is one thing SIS would like prospective parents to know about the school and/or the preschool program offered?

FK: At Saratoga Independent School confidence, curiosity, and positive learning attitudes are developed in a warm and supportive multiage community in which teachers and students interact with personal respect, sensitivity, trust and responsiveness, and where each child is a valued member.

Saratoga Independent School will have their Admissions Open House event on Friday, January 29th at 9am. The Open House event will begin by observing the primary school’s Morning Meeting from 9 to 9:15am, followed by welcome remarks by Felice Karlitz, the Director of School and a building tour. Current parents and teachers will also be available to welcome guests and answer questions. For more information and to RSVP, please call (518) 583-0841 or click here. The Saratoga Independent School is located at 459 Lake Avenue in Saratoga Springs.

Click here for the complete 2016 Mamatoga Preschool Guide.

photos in this post by Rob Spring