By: Danielle Keyes ’24
Tara (Monteleone) McGinn is a Pine Crest School alumna from the Class of 1988 and parent to three Panthers: Megan ’20, Ashlyn ’22, and Caitlin ’25.
Beginning her Pine Crest career as a freshman in the Upper School, she returned when her oldest daughter was ready for pre-kindergarten.
An important part of applying for admission to an independent school is getting to know the school and assessing if it is right for your family.
Families applying to independent schools often ask how they may prepare their children for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. While each school may have different admission criteria, one area that many schools evaluate is a child’s fine motor skills.
Pine Crest School received three Anatomage Tables recently.
Anatomage Tables are virtual dissecting tables that are generally used by medical schools such as the Mayo Clinic to allow medical students the opportunity to perform virtual autopsies. One Table is located in an Upper School Huizenga Family Science Building classroom. The additional Tables are located in the Middle School life science classrooms — one on the Boca Raton campus and one on the Fort Lauderdale campus.
At Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, Florida, Middle School is comprised of students in grades six, seven, and eight. Transitioning to Middle School from fifth grade is a significant step for students.
At Pine Crest School innovation is part of the curriculum from day one. Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten students visit the Zimmerman Family iLab, or the Mintz Family iLab each month, and have computer science class twice a week.
Students are exposed to basic algorithmic thinking and logical reasoning through elementary coding classes. Students use applications on iPads, like Dash and Dot, Ozobot, Bee-Bot, and Codeable to learn to sequence and debug code. Students see their code come to life in the small robots that complement the applications they use.
Digital portfolios are also part of their computer science and technology curriculum. Students upload samples of their assignments, or “artifacts,” to reflect on what they have learned. These portfolios will follow them throughout their academic careers at Pine Crest.
During their time in the iLabs, students are exposed to organic gardening and engineering challenges. They are exposed to the design thinking process showing students how to research, ideate, experiment, and reflect as to problem-solve and think creatively.
Students are given design challenges exposing them to the engineering process and teaching them to manipulate materials and construction techniques appropriate for their age level. Additionally, students use Squishy Circuits to learn the basics of electricity and circuitry.
This innovative curriculum is designed for students to take risks and fail forward.
When you think of a pre-kindergarten curriculum, subjects that may come to mind are reading, writing, and math. However, in 2015 as part of the 2014-19 Strategic Plan, Pine Crest School launched a new computer science program that started with our pre-kindergarteners on both our Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale campuses.