Young 5s

Monday / Wednesday / Friday
8:45 am – 3:30 pm

Young 5s is a program for children who are eligible for kindergarten but would benefit from an extra year of growth and development for greater success in school. Children with birthdays that fall between May 1st and December 1st qualify for this program.

The philosophy behind a Young 5s program is that children master skills at different rates. Each child reaches developmental milestones such as walking, talking, and school readiness at different times. Two children from the same family could reach these milestones several months apart. Eventually, the two children catch up to one another; time evens out the differences in their development. Young 5s offers this “gift of time” in the school setting, allowing younger kindergarten-eligible children to mature at their own pace.

Our Young 5s class uses the Zoo-phonics curriculum and builds on the concepts and skills taught in the Pre-K class.

Zoo-phonics® is an effective and proven methodology!

  • The Animal Alphabet helps children remember the shapes and sounds of the letters.
  • Letter sounds are taught before letter names.
  • Lowercase letters are taught before capital letters.
  • The Body Movement for each Animal Letter helps “cement” the phonemic information into memory.
  • The alphabet is taught sequentially, and as a whole entity, “a – z.” The alphabet is not fragmented.
  • Short vowels are taught before long vowels.
  • Phonemic patterns (at, bat, fat, sat, etc.) are taught first, rather than random word lists (of, it, then, was, etc.)

The principle of Zoo-phonics® maximizes understanding, memory, utilization, and transference to all areas of the reading, spelling, and writing process in a playful and concrete manner.

Zoo-phonics® uses animals drawn in the shapes of the letters for ease in memory. A related body movement is given for each letter. This concrete approach cements the sounds to the shapes of the letters. Lowercase letters and their sounds are taught first (needed 95% of the time in text), capital letters and letter names are taught later.


“An extra year of growth increases the likelihood that students will start kindergarten with the fine motor skills and emotional-social maturity necessary for success. These children tend to be in the top reading groups and have the potential to excel in school. They also tend to be leaders instead of followers in their age groups.”                     

                                                -Ms. Susan Suokas, NCS kindergarten teacher

“In my 10 years of teaching sixth grade, there were several students who were young for the grade and who struggled to keep up with the content. While they may have been placed in kindergarten at a young age because of how well they were doing, by the time they reached the beginning of middle school, they had not yet experienced enough brain development to continue to do well. So, when it came time to decide for my own child, who has an October birthday and was doing well enough to start kindergarten early, my experiences in the classroom led me to wait until she was 5 turning 6 before starting her in kindergarten. I chose to give her the gift of time.”

                        – Shawn Burford, NCS middle school teacher

Find out more about our Young 5s Program!

Mrs. Kristine Crouson (pictured left) and her assistant, Mrs. Cheryl Buckley (right) make up our Young 5s teaching team! These dedicated educators provide a structured classroom setting in which their students thrive.