The goal of kindergarten is to foster a love of learning for a child and expand their knowledge base. This is where they will learn to develop those valuable social interaction skills that will be crucial for all that follows in their life. Even though it might look like a lot of fun play is going on, kindergarten is extremely important to a child’s wellbeing. What makes for makes for a great kindergarten? Consider the following:
There should be various learning zones set up throughout the classroom where children can explore different avenues of education. In today’s modern kindergarten class, don’t be surprised if one of these learning zones is stock with computers. Today’s kindergarten student needs to prepare for a world where technology will be part of their daily lives. There should also be learning zones for tactile experiences and critical thinking. A lot can be derived from some good old-fashioned puzzle solving.
Anywhere you look in a kindergarten classroom, there should be an opportunity to learn. That means in one corner there could be a library of books that are age appropriate for the class. All the walls will be filled with charts, words, letters and numbers that can rotate throughout the year. Wherever a child looks in their kindergarten class there should be reminders of spelling and counting. It will all be bright, bold and soon become second-nature to them.
Children develop at different paces. In their early years, that development had to do with motor coordination and speech. As they get older, children continue to grow and learn at different paces. Just because everyone is in the same age appropriate class doesn’t mean they are learning at the same level. That is why there is a need to differentiated instruction in kindergarten classes.
Differentiated instruction is where smaller groups of children will be working on specific assignments that are more suited to their current levels of learning. There might also need to be support with various speech therapies to help enunciation of certain words and sounds. The hope is that with extra focused attention those students can soon be integrated into the rest of the class.
Every parent knows that artwork is a part of early school life. A lot of artwork! In addition to the many “masterpieces” that kindergarten students will be bringing home, there will also be a lot of this artwork on display throughout the classroom. It instills in children a sense of pride to see their artwork hung up in the classrooms and hallways of the school. Throughout the year, parents should be able to track improvements in their child’s art skills as they master different techniques and utilize a variety of materials. This is where some scissor work comes into play and that plays a key part of strengthening hand to eye coordination.
Two common “noises” you should always hear from every kindergarten class is the chatter of the kids talking and the teacher reading aloud. Kids love to talk and those conversations amongst their peers will be encouraged during the right time. When it is reading time, the focus shifts to the teacher. Reading aloud will help strengthen listening skills. This is teaching those young minds to apply laser-like focus on the teacher. There are other great benefits from a read-aloud session such as developing stronger comprehension skills and expanding vocabulary. It won’t be long before the kindergarten kids are reading aloud themselves from their own books. Get ready for more frequent trips to the library.
Music is another constant to be found in kindergarten classes. In pre-school, children build up a repertoire of holidays songs and simple nursery rhymes. Once they graduate to kindergarten, the music can become a bit more sophisticated. Musical instruments can be introduced not only as a way of enhancing the songs they are learning, but also as a way to further their counting skills. Performance is a part of kindergarten life, too. Those songs can be presented at recitals throughout the school year. This is another way for students to build up confidence and self-esteem.
Kids who are of kindergarten age might have issues with cleaning up around the house. In the kindergarten classroom that won’t be tolerated. Every item in a kindergarten class has its proper place and when something is “borrowed” from that place it has to go back to that place. The hope of every mother is that some of those organizing and cleanup skills will be transferred back home.
Play with Purpose
Of course, there will be playtime at kindergarten. However, a lot of that playtime will always have a purpose. There will be free time out in the playground where kids can get in the recommended daily dose of robust physical activity. In the classroom, playtime will take on a more organized approach. There could be small stores set up where kids can learn about money and shopping. There could be a representation of a kitchen, office or even a restaurant where the students will interact and learn through creating scenarios. Best of all, they won’t have a clue that they’re actually learning while doing all that playing.
Because kindergarten is providing the building blocks for the education that will follow, you can count on homework being part of the curriculum. Obviously, this isn’t going to mean kindergarten students will be dragging home backpacks loaded with textbooks. Their assignments will reflect on what they’re learning in class.
It is important that parents set up a consistent homework routine that builds on the foundation of learning. Here again, you will discover that kids work better in different ways. Some kids do better when they complete homework the moment they come home from school. Other kids prefer waiting until after dinner. It is important for the kindergarten homework that parents have the time to become a devoted participant. They need to take the place of the teacher to help the child figure out the answers to the assignment. That means resisting the urge to provide the answers and instead guide them towards those solutions.
Communication with Parents
The kindergarten students will be asking plenty of questions during the course of their average day. The other communication that will be flowing will be between the parents and the teachers. There should be regular email updates or newsletters from the school to the parents. This will help prepare parents for any materials that need to be brought into school for a lesson. Parents will often be encouraged to volunteer at their child’s school. This provides the parents with a firsthand look at how their child is progressing.
Throughout the year, there will be periodic opportunities for parents’ nights or open houses where parents can discuss any areas of concern with the teacher. Of course, if there are some behavior problems that require immediate attention, then the teacher will most likely reach out to the parent. Together they can come up with an effective course of correction to help get things back on track.
Above all else, a kindergarten classroom should be a friendly atmosphere for the kids. This should be safe place not only physically, but emotionally. It is natural for a child to occasionally resist wanting to go to kindergarten. They might simply be tired or something else could be going on. Constant resistance to going to school is usually an indication of some issue they need to work through either with another student or with their comprehension. Yes, they might be frustrated because they’re not understanding what is being taught.
The goal is for the child to be excited every day by the prospect of going to school and learning something new. If that attitude stays with them, then they’re in store for a rewarding academic life.