Young Fives

Pal-Mac Primary school

120 Canandaigua Street

palmyra, ny 14522




We use Seesaw here at Pal-Mac Primary to communicate with families. Seesaw is a simple way for teachers and students to record and share what's happening in the classroom.


Seesaw gives students a place to document their learning, be creative and learn how to use technology.


Each student gets their own journal and will add things to it, like photos, videos, drawings, or notes.

When there are new Seesaw posts, families can be notified via app notification, email or SMS.


During the pandemic, Seesaw has really become our lifeliine to staying informed and keeping our community going virtually. 

Please join the moment you have your family code!


about us

Welcome to the Young Fives Classroom!

At Pal-Mac Primary School we offer UPK for three and four year olds. Kindergarten is for five year olds turning six.  In between UPK and Kindergarten, Pal-Mac Primary has the Young Fives Classroom.

The Young Fives, is a 5-day a week, full-day program designed for your child, who would normally enter K as a 4 year old.  These children are turning 5 between late August and December 1st.

The Young Fives program is NOT kindergarten. Each year the Primary School gets parent requests for their child to get another year of UPK or attend kindergarten for two years because they are just not ready to progress. To answer that need, the Young Fives program was created.  Instead of rushing young children to start kindergarten, the Young Fives is that in-between program that gives the gift of time. Time many families have been asking for, but just couldn't make happen for social or financial reasons.

The Young Fives class gives the gift of time, an extra year of school, to help them build a strong foundation for future success.... 

Meeting the Developmental Needs of the

Young Child
Our youngest students often start school

without maturity, social skills and/or academic

skills they need to succeed in Kindergarten and

beyond.  Today's Kindergarten is different than

in years past.  There are more standards and

learning requires a lot of group work and

interaction with peers. A lot of language,

listening, and speaking skills are required.  

Many times families will think their child is ready for kindergarten because their child may be able to count high or even read, but their child may struggle socially and need more time to develop social interactions.  A recent study out of Stanford University (2015) found strong evidence of mental health benefits in delaying kindergarten. The study found that a
one-year delay dramatically improves a child's self regulation abilities even in later childhood. According to the study, children who started kindergarten a year later showed significantly lower levels of inattention and hyperactivity. The benefits were found to continue even at age 11.


According to Loris Malaguzzi, the founder and director of the renowned municipal preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, "It is not so much that we need to think of the child who develops himself by himself but rather of a child who develops himself interacting and developing with others”. The social child is the learning child.

The Young Fives program was developed to give the time for children to develop those skills for success rather than rushing into kindergarten where not having those skills could place their child in a struggling situation. 

Young Fives is a Win-Win-Win for Children, Families, and Schools
If research tells us that younger children are at a higher risk for struggling academically, emotionally and/or socially, even if those struggles may not show up until 4th, 5th or even high school, why would we not provide this program for our families. Pal-Mac has taken the steps to create something creative and unique for their families and children. Taking everything learned from our families' needs and from research we believe we have created that in-between program that wins! Giving an opportunity for students to grow and develop rather than rushing is a win! Giving our families an additional option to ensure their children enter with maturity, confidence, and skills they need to excel is a win! Our schools benefit because children are better prepared to succeed and are less likely to require remediation, special education or retention is a win!

New York is one of the only states left to allow four year olds to even start Kindergarten. Most have changed the start date to five on or before September 1st. Seven states even require the child to be five before August 15th. In New York, the age for starting is left up to the Local Educational Agencies to decide.


Two teachers to help your child. Young Fives benefits from having two highly qualified teachers in the room at all times. A general education teacher, Mrs. Rhodes and a speech pathologist, Mrs. Tome.  

Why a Speech Pathologist as a teacher? Young Fives benefit from a language enriched classroom and a professional to address any articulation needs or language needs. Many Young Fives come in with limited language skills, like speaking in one word answers. Through large group instruction, we work on building age appropriate language skills. Students become adept at speaking in complete sentences, making eye contact, describing objects in detail, building larger vocabularies, and expressing their thoughts clearly and concisely. 

The Young Fives curriculum is different from

Kindergarten to allow the children new

experiences the following year.

play is learning

Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning.

But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood. "  
-Fred Rogers

There is a common misconception that playing is not learning – or is the opposite of learning – and therefore play does not have a place in the primary classroom. This thinking has become more prevalent as the pressures of accountability have forced more academic content into the kindergarten curriculum, transforming kindergarten into what looks like “The New First Grade”.

However, play should not be

treated as a break from

learning, but instead as the

way that children learn best.

In fact, play is a young

child’s fundamental mode

of learning. That is why play

can be found all day long in 

Young Fives in math,  

technology, inquiry units and

literacy instruction.

Even in the strict adherence to the Covid 19 regulations, your child will be playing every day!




There is no bad weather,

only bad clothing choices.

A generation ago playing outdoors in nature was usually taken for granted; but times have changed. Children today spend less time playing outdoors than any previous generation. Research tells us that children need to spend time outdoors and have contact with nature to grow and develop into healthy human beings.

“Nature is important to children’s development in every major way – intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually and physically. Play in nature is especially important for developing capacities for creativity, problem-solving, and intellectual development.” (Kellert, 2005). Also, spending time outdoors has a positive impact on symptoms of stress, attention-deficit disorder, on self-control and self-discipline.


We go outside almost every single day to the playground or for walks around the neighborhood and village. We head down the street to the nature trail by the canal to play, hike, and explore.

The only things that hold us back is if the windchill is below 20 degrees or if it is raining hard.  We will definitely be getting outside a lot this year since being outside is better than being inside for Covid reasons.

The Whole Child


Mindfulness, Social Thinking, and Responsive Classroom

are social-emotional learning tools that create healthy habits of the mind. We don't use a reward system for behavior. We are growing self-regulation in students through the modeling and practice of mindful tools.


We encourage wait time, negotiation, and empathy. We help children identify their feelings and how to channel those emotions positively.  We spend a great deal of time throughout the year practicing acceptable behavior in all situations. We practice kindness and thoughtfulness every day.


We are cultivating happiness and well-being. We also work hard on self-reflection. We do Child-Led Conferences (Parent/Teacher and Child attend). We help the children evaluate their own progress both emotionally and academically throughout the year.

Mindfulness                       Social  Thinking                Responsive Classroom


inquiry-based learning and PYP

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.” - Albert Einstein

No matter how you define success, problem solving

skills are fundamental for our children to thrive in

the future.


We all need the capacity to identify and solve problems

in order to adapt to an ever-changing world, navigate

key relationships, and contribute to family, local, and

worldwide communities.

Children are fully competent and capable of building their own theories about the world around them. They have been doing so since birth. First through listening, and watching then mouthing everything around them and finally through asking questions. Anyone who has ever had a three year old ask them why over and over and over again in a series of “why” questions knows that children naturally want to understand the world that they live in.


Yes, children are born predisposed to problem solve, however, adults can play a key role in children’s problem solving development and scientific thinking. The kinds of experiences we offer children and the way in which we allow them to own those learning experiences can help them turn their infinite capacity for wonder into strong and flexible problem solving skills.


What we do matters!

Inquiry-based learning means that we honor our children’s ability to drive their own learning. We are placing student questions and ideas at the center of the learning process. Students are encouraged to ask questions then investigate their own queries about the world. 


Teachers ask open-ended questions and engage students in problem-solving processes. The educators document the learning as a process to take each child from where they are as a learner to where they need to go next.


We document the children’s work through photographs, video, written word, displays, etc., to tell the story of the children’s early childhood experiences. Every child has their own portfolio on Seesaw, consisting of artwork, photographs, information related to developmental milestones, and more. 

We utilize documentation panels to provide visual evidence of the learning process using photographs, artwork, data, and other samples of work in the hallway in front of our classroom.


©2021 BY Pal-Mac Primary School


Palmyra, NY 14522