Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kindergarten Learning

Kindergarten classrooms have changed over the years.  I can remember my Kindergarten classroom.  It was huge.  There was an area that you walked into and hung your coats up.  In the back of the classroom was a stage (a real stage!) that we played on and was filled with toys.  On one side of the room there were two long benches and a TV that was attached to the wall.  We would watch Sesame Street in the mornings.  On the other side of the classroom was a rug and our teacher taught us little lessons.  In the middle of the classroom, was this beautiful circle with all the letters of the alphabet and pictures made out of marble.  It was gorgeous.  I can remember playing The Farmer in the Dell in that circle.  There was plenty of room for several round tables and we had two very large bathrooms.  One for the girls and one for the boys.  We only went to school for a half day.  That classroom still exists today, but I am sure that the learning that goes on is quite different.  Instead of learning how to cut and paste they are learning how to speak Italian and read.  If you haven’t guessed it, I went to Kindergarten back in the 70’s.  Times were different. 

Today, my Kindergarten classroom is not nearly as big.  I have tables, and a rug and a classroom library filled with books.  We are learning letters, sounds and how to read.  In math, I am teaching numbers and then addition and subtraction.  Kindergarten classrooms today offer more formal learning, but that does not mean we cannot still stimulate children’s curiosity to want to learn more and be excited about learning.  Students come to school and have an understanding that words are every place.  They already are able to see a grocery store sign and read it, pass a McDonald’s and know what it says.  Teachers are expanding a child’s language by creating rhymes.  We are constantly reading to the children and having the children read back to us, circle words and letters that they can recognize.  We teach them strategies to decode words. 

Even with all the changes, the main goal that teachers strive to reach is the same as many years ago.  Teach them a love of learning, teach them social skills that will stay with them forever, love them and realize that you are their role model and they look up to you.   For many children school is the one place that they can go to and the consistency and their feeling of safety will always be there. 

As a Kindergarten teacher, I am so grateful for all the resources that are available to students and myself.  Years ago, my students would not be able to sit at a computer or use an iPod as a listening station.  The interactive whiteboards have created a learning environment, which captures my student’s attention and gets them excited about learning.  I am able to communicate with the click of a button to find or talk to others about ideas for my classroom.  I am excited to be able to share and find things that others have made for their classrooms so I do not have to reinvent the wheel.  The children of today are born into this world that many of us are still learning how to use.  It is an exciting time and we should embrace it and remember to keep it as stimulating as possible. 

Written by Kinder Glynn

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