balanced curriculum

supportive classroom environment

ensuring school readiness

kindergarten prep

Our K-prep program empowers children to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally as they transition to the next stage of their educational journey.

First Circle’s kindergarten prep program (K-prep) is designed for older preschool learners, age 5 by January 1st, or for those children with summer birthdays who would technically make the kindergarten cutoff but might not be ready.

Also known as transitional kindergarten, K-prep provides children with a solid foundation for the academic and social demands of elementary school.

While First Circle’s preschool and prekindergarten programs are primarily play-based, K-prep offers a more academically focused approach for those demonstrating readiness. With individualized support for each child’s learning needs, children graduating from the K-prep program can, based on age, go on to kindergarten or first grade.


To prepare children academically and socially for success in elementary school




The class works toward Mass. State Frameworks kindergarten standards and Needham Public Schools kindergarten outcomes. While we don’t anticipate K-prep learners to master these skills entirely, they benefit from consistent exposure to them.

our program

areas of learning

me + you

social + emotional

K-prep fosters social-emotional development by promoting positive peer interactions, emotional regulation, and problem-solving skills. Children participate in group activities, collaborative projects, and guided discussions to enhance their social skills and build friendships. Additionally, K-prep emphasizes the importance of independence, self-help skills, and following routines. With First Circle’s unique MyCharacter program, children work on leadership skills and character traits such as self-management, resilience, responsibility, and integrity through structured activities, social interactions, and positive role modeling from teachers.


brain power

math, science, approaches to learning, engineering
Math goals include understanding numbers, shapes, patterns, and basic operations through hands-on activities and games enhanced by the same math program used in Needham Public Schools. Aligned with rigorous Common Core standards, Illustrative Math enhances conceptual understanding and emphasizes mathematical discourse and problem-solving. Our supplementary science program immerses children in scientific thinking and practices. It uses weekly experiments to complement the scientific content covered in great books, enabling students to apply principles and practices to their learning. The program not only covers traditional scientific topics but also cultivates a mindset of scientific inquiry, empowering students with the skills to innovate and problem-solve like scientists and engineers.

healthy me

fine + gross motor skills

K-prep focuses on refining motor skills to support overall physical growth and school readiness. Fine motor goals involve strengthening hand muscles and improving hand-eye coordination and dexterity. Children use tasks such as threading beads, using scissors, drawing shapes, and manipulating small objects to refine their fine motor skills. Gross motor objectives promote balance, coordination, and spatial awareness through active play and movement. Children run, jump, climb, and balance on our outdoor and indoor playgrounds, contributing to their physical development and readiness for the more structured elementary school environment.



literacy + writing

Literacy goals in K-prep are enhanced by daily lessons from the Heggerty Phonemic Awareness program, which focuses on developing phonemic awareness, vocabulary, and comprehension through storytelling, rhyming games, and word recognition activities. Writing objectives focus on building fine motor skills, letter formation, and basic sentence structure. Learning activities include reading aloud, identifying letters and sounds, practicing writing letters and simple words, weekly visits to First Circle’s in-house library (ready September 2024), and creating stories or journal entries. These activities promote language development, literacy engagement, and foundational writing skills necessary for success in kindergarten and beyond. 


imagine that

creative arts

Learning activities—such as painting, drawing, sculpting, and collage-making—foster children’s imagination, self-expression, and social skills. Through dramatic play, children explore different roles, scenarios, and narratives, allowing them to express emotions, problem-solve, and develop empathy. Teachers encourage storytelling, puppetry, role-playing, and performance to enhance children’s artistic abilities and promote language development, social interaction, and emotional regulation.

meet our teachers

Kellen Makuru

Kellen Makuru

I grew up in Uganda, East Africa, where I attended university, graduating with an associates degree in early childhood education, a bachelor’s degree in administration and psychology, and a master’s degree in diplomacy and international studies. I have since been an early childhood educator for over 10 years, both as a teacher and as head administrator of a kindergarten. In addition, I was the director of programs and operations for the Kenzie Foundation, a charitable organization that works to improve the lives of vulnerable children, youth, and widows by supporting community programs. I have a holistic perspective on learning and development, and I hope to discover each child’s potential and help them learn that each day can be their own achievement.

I live in Pepperell with my uncle’s family and enjoy baking, dancing, and arts and crafts.

Patricia and Kellen are a dynamic teaching team from our nursery school program. We are thrilled to have them bring their expertise to our K-prep program!
Patricia Dazet

Patricia Dazet

I have a bachelor's in elementary education and a master of science in traditional Chinese medicine. I’ve held a variety of roles including a reading tutor, elementary school teacher, preschool teacher, director of library preschool and story time programs, nanny, and acupuncturist. I was also a stay-at-home mother for years and considered it the best job I’ll ever have—although working with little ones in an early childhood program is a close second!

While I’ve spent the 2023–24 school year teaching toddlers, the majority of my experience—and my heart—is with teaching older children, pre-kindergarten, and elementary school. I believe that children keep you in the present moment, and teach us the importance of being in the here and now. The emotions they express are genuine and unfiltered, and they're joyful learners. I am very excited to bring a combination of structured learning and playful learning to First Circle’s K-prep classroom!

I have three adult children and one grandchild. I enjoy reading, especially suspense and nature genres. I also love baking, gardening, walking/hiking, and being outdoors in all seasons.

daily schedule

A typical day in our K-prep program balances structured learning, free play, outdoor exploration, and midday quiet time. Mornings begin with circle time, where children engage in songs, stories, and group discussions to develop language skills and build community. Throughout the day, children rotate through various learning centers, such as literacy centers, math manipulatives, art activities, and sensory play areas, allowing for hands-on exploration and individualized learning experiences. Outdoor playtime provides opportunities for gross motor development, while quiet time lets children recharge and rest.



Children are assessed twice yearly through our research- and evidence-based assessment tool. The assessment offers a comprehensive view of each child’s current progress, facilitating collaboration between teachers and parents to set future learning objectives. Teachers use iPads to document daily observations, including photos and notes, creating a digital portfolio of each child’s journey at First Circle. Teachers schedule biannual parent-teacher conferences to set goals and review progress.


When deciding between prekindergarten and K-prep, consider your child’s readiness and educational goals. Both options provide valuable learning experiences tailored to children’s needs and build readiness skills for the next step—whether that’s K-prep, kindergarten, or first grade.


offers a play-based environment for younger children, fostering socialization and basic skills


serves as a bridge to formal schooling, focusing on literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional development

interested in enrolling?

School starts September 3 and runs through June 20th, with the option of summer camp throughout the summer, and follows First Circle’s holiday schedule.