Brookwood Junior Kindergarten focuses on learning, playing and growing

Thomasville Times-Enterprise, Staff Report
THOMASVILLE —The Junior Kindergarten classes at Brookwood School may look very different than what you remember from your childhood. At Brookwood, these youngest students engage in playbased learning and enrichment classes that draw from the broad variety of resources available across the school’s campus.
“Our curriculum is rich in literature, creative play, critical thinking, and hands-on experiences,” said Mrs. Jennifer Newcombe, Lower School Director. “Additionally, our students are exposed to visual arts, music, technology, physical education, and character education.” Junior Kindergarten at Brookwood is the school’s half-day or extended-day program for four year olds. Known on campus simply as JK, children in the program have lessons in the classroom, as well as other play-based and experiential learning opportunities across Brookwood’s campus.
“Each day, our students navigate their way around the Brookwood campus while going to the Arts Pavilion for music, the Spanish room with Señora Garzón, Chubb Hall for art, the technology lab, the library, and the gym for physical education,” said Natalie Braswell, Junior Kindergarten teacher. “Our students and faculty feel safe and secure on our beautiful campus. We are all one big family at Brookwood.”
By exposing these young learners to many different settings, ideas, and experiences, all within the confines of a small, safe, family- oriented campus, the children are encouraged to develop a life-long curiosity and love of learning.
“The students that begin early childhood programming see learning as a natural joyful process where their curiosity is enriched and valued.” Newcombe says. “These students develop strong vocabulary, critical thinking, and verbal reasoning abilities.”
Even the physical space in which Junior Kindergarten takes place has been designed to maximize the children’s ability to learn, play and grow.
“The playground is right outside of our classroom backdoor,” Braswell said. “We understand the importance of learning through play and we strongly encourage independence and accountability” In addition to creating a physical space that encourages students to flourish, the Junior Kindergarten program at Brookwood also emphasizes one-on-one interactions with teachers to help build the feeling of family and community on campus.
“As a parent, I love the one on one attention my child is able to get to make sure they reach the next academic level,” said Brooke Crocker, Junior Kindergarten teacher. “As a teacher, I love the small classes because I am able to give each
child their own attention that is so important for their growth.”
An engaging curriculum and personal attention for each student combine to create an environment in which students are engaged, attentive, and happy “There is such a strong sense of community here, which contributes to a more joyful learning experience and greater academic gains in our students,” Newcombe says. “On any given morning at carpool, you will get a sense of the joy and love of learning at Brookwood. Students are happy and skipping into the school building each day.”
“We are blessed to have outstanding teachers who help our students in Junior Kindergarten build a strong foundation,” said Brookwood Headmaster Dr. Randy Watts. “Further, our JK students are able to use our entire campus as a learning environment. In keeping with our mission of developing the whole child, our students grow academically, physically, socially, and spiritually”
Located in Thomasville, GA, Brookwood School is a private school for grades JK-12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.