For children who are ready to enter private school at the K4 or Kindergarten level, an academic screening is often required by the school to ensure they are developmentally ready to do so. While this can be a stressful and high-pressure time for these children and their families, our goal at Sweetwater Episcopal Academy is to make it a fun, enjoyable experience that sets children up for success rather than adding unnecessary stress to the equation. That’s where our “Screening Fun Day” comes into play!
Screening Fun Day: An Interactive Experience
After a child and their family has visited our campus for a tour, then comes our Screening Fun Day. At Sweetwater Episcopal Academy, this experience is exactly what it sounds like—a day of fun! It steers away from the traditional “sit and take a test” scenario (which can often limit all that a child has to offer) and instead implements a more interactive way of assessing a child’s development. The day consists of block time, story time, academic time and play time—giving our team at Sweetwater the chance to look at the child as a whole, not just at their test-taking abilities.
We use fun games and exercises to understand:
- What letters and sounds they know
- What numbers they’re familiar with and if they can identify one-to-one correspondence within number sets
- How they behave during story time
- How they behave on the playground and interact with people
- How they interact when they get something wrong
- How they use eye contact with others
The best part of this screening is that it’s very interactive and not a high-stakes test like some traditional screening assessments tend to be at other schools. It’s an open conversation with math and reading teachers. It’s asking good questions when they don’t know the answer. Ultimately, Screening Fun Day is a way to get a good idea where a child stands in their overall development, and what strategies they use to answer questions and solve problems—all in a fun, encouraging and stress-free way.
From there, we can assess if we are the best fit for each potential student, based on their unique skills and needs, and how they match with our curriculum structure.
We take into consideration things like:
- How well do they respond to a failure? Are they able to bounce back quickly or is it difficult to move forward?
- Are they able to complete grade-level expectation work?
- Do they have any special educational/behavioral needs?
- Are they well-rounded?
Next Stop: Shadow Day!
After we find great matches from our Screening Fun Day, we invite those children to attend a special “Shadow Day” at Sweetwater, where they are greeted with balloons and a welcome sign to get them excited about the day they’ll be spending with us. This is an exciting time in which new students get to spend a whole day on our campus with a buddy (or two buddies, because our kids are usually really excited about who gets to be the next buddy and often end up teaming up together)! These special buddies help new students get familiar with the school, find out where they need to go and make sure they have what they need for a terrific day. Shadow Day has proven to be a great introduction to our school and our campus for these great matches and we believe it’s where our students first feel truly at home with the Sweetwater family.
Want to see if Sweetwater Episcopal Academy is a perfect fit for your child? Get started by scheduling a campus tour with us today!