June 2022 will bring about an exciting milestone for Link Community Charter School (LCCS)! Having secured a hard-fought approval for expansion from the NJ Department of Education, LCCS opened its elementary school, beginning with Kindergarten in the fall of 2021 -- no easy task during a pandemic. And, in June, our first Kindergarten “moving up ceremony” will take place! A new grade level will be added each year over the next few years until there is a K-4 program to complement that of the existing 5th to 8th grades resulting in a full K-8 elementary school.
Approaching the growth with the same commitment as in past initiatives, staff worked last summer to prepare the curriculum and the physical space needed, creating both a robust age appropriate program and providing a nurturing and welcoming learning environment. Link’s youngest scholars are immersing themselves in reading and writing, and creating their own publications! In science, they have studied trees, weather, and gravity so far this year, and in social studies, they are learning how to be good school citizens. In the true Link spirit, Kindergarteners also experience a rich arts program with visual art, music, and movement, strong health and wellness activities, including physical education, yoga, and mindfulness. To reach important developmental milestones, they also engage in cooperative and imaginative PLAY! Additionally, LCCS has a comprehensive support system in place, for the social and emotional needs of all students, including Kindergarteners.
A side benefit of the addition of Kindergarten has been the connections being forged between upper grade students and our youngest scholars. Older scholars take part in a variety of projects, including working with them on experiments in science class, reading to them, and assisting them in writing projects. The impact is twofold as our upper level students develop leadership skills, confidence, and a deeper understanding of education working with the younger ones while providing the younger students with positive student role models and a greater sense of community.