Kindergarten Teacher: Ms. Joy
For children entering Kindergarten it is a year filled with new experiences; a new school, new friends & teachers. Throughout the year, but especially in the first months I spend time getting to know the children and the children spend time getting to know me. Gradually, as friendships develop, children should feel a sense of trust not only with their teachers and physical space, but also within themselves and among their friends and the class as a whole.
The physical environment and the structure within the daily schedule play a major role in each child’s involvement with the curriculum and each child’s success at acquiring new skills. Fixed parts of the schedule include a morning and end of the day meeting, silent reading time, story time. Choice Board is also an important part of our day; children use the choice board to choose activities available in different areas of the room designed to invite exploration and for small group instruction in Literacy and Math.
Language Arts is the descriptive phrase incorporating spoken language, written language and reading. Each of these is an integral part of the classroom curriculum.
Inherent in any group of people is the need to communicate, both in small groups and as a whole. Our class meetings offer children opportunities to share information verbally. Meetings are a chance to DESCRIBE a new pet, RECOUNT the events of a busy weekend, EXPRESS a fear of concern, and DISCUSS a classroom policy, READ a part of your Drawing and Writing Book and LISTEN to the sharing of your friends.
Throughout the day children use their verbal skills as they work and play together. Whether explaining the rules of a game, collaborating on a block building, role playing in dramatic play, conflict, children are continually using and sharpening their verbal skills…..skills which for young children are the most important form of communication.
In the writing area, I firmly believe that most children can write before they can read and thus writing is an important part of the kindergarten classroom. Each child has Drawing and Writing Book/ Journal to record in pictures and words, a special event of his/her day, a story, thought or idea. The form of a child’s drawing and Writing Book varies with other language skills and development. Early work may begin with the drawing and dictation of a story. Here the connection between the written and spoken forms of language is established. Some children begin by “overwriting” while others copy underneath the written worlds. During the year, kindergarten children are encouraged to build or “encode” their own words. As confidence builds children begin to say “I can do this by myself” and off they go. Each child will also create their own alphabet dictionary along with their letter books.
During the second half of the year, the children are encouraged to think about the characters in their stories as well as the story line. Their imaginations, combined with a certain confidence in themselves as “writers” can flourish a wide variety of stories about castles, bunny rabbits, princes and princesses, whales, space ships. Stories may be written in one day while others continue over many days
“Invented” spelling helps foster independence in writing and at the same time reinforces the early phonics skills used for reading. Children are encouraged to use any and all “tools” to stimulate the development of a sight word vocabulary which can be used in both writing and reading. These tools may include words from the morning message, choice tags, world wall, word rings, room labels, class and job list and words from their “Challenge words” book. Through the “writing process” and “invented spelling” children can become uninhibited in their pursuit of written expression and gain confidence and pride in them as writers.
In addition to journal writing the children are busy with many other writing experiences throughout the day, such as, labeling the parts of a collage project; making signs for a block structure, or matching words to pictures for our classroom dictionary. In the writing area are examples of the many opportunities that children have each day to communicate and practice writing the letters of the alphabet and letters to friends or family.
Providing children with opportunities and experiences that will foster desire, motivation, interest, enjoyment and skills in reading is what I value for the kindergarten classroom. Children enter the class with a wide variety of pre-reading and reading skills. I like to think of reading (and all learning) as happening on a continuum. Each child is an individual on that continuum with individual strengths and it is my goal to identify where each child is on the continuum and how he/she can move forward at a pace that is comfortable and appropriate. Identifying specific learning styles (auditory learner/visual learner) as well as using a child’s strength and interest to create a positive learning experience for children.
For most children the desire to read is a natural outgrowth of being read to. Often children gather around for story time, or participate in book buddies with another grade. Every day we have silent reading after lunch and recess. Generally story time has a theme or focus for the week or two such as a series of books about friendship, animals, or topics relating to self concept (feelings, self awareness and our bodies).
Many children’s first reading experience is an off-shoot of their writing. Children eagerly read sections of their journals to teachers, parent and friends. When children show signs of readiness, time is devoted to attaining the skills necessary for beginning reading. Board and lotto games, puzzles and word hunts, alphabet books and rhyming games are among the activities used to help children with letter identification and letter sounds. We use ‘Lively Letters ‘which is a fun and interactive way to learn the letter sound relationships. Stories and characters with various hand cues and gestures help us remember the sound letter connection.
All beginning readers work with a Word Ring. These help children develop a sight word vocabulary (words read without sounding them out) and a familiarity with word families. Children use their word cards in many ways- to play games, make sentences and write books. Through work with their word cards and other language activities, children gain a solid understanding of the connection between letters, words and sentences as well as an enthusiasm for reading. Children also learn sight words by reading their challenge words each week.
Children connect with the reading process throughout their day. The overall program is designed to meet the reality that the class is composed of children who posses styles, strengths and needs. Common to all is an enthusiasm and excitement about books and reading.
GOALS – 5 year olds in Language Arts
Listening to stories and books, discussing, drawing, writing , dictating stories;
Dictation and illustration of their own stories
Participation in class discussion;
Learning sounds and letters
Developing beginning sight world vocabulary(through word ring and challenge book)
Phonics-decoding consonant-vowel-consonant words( cat) and use of special phonics books to reinforce these skills;
Journal writing and reading;
Alphabet sight word books( letter of the week books)
Additional sight word readers and leveled books throughout the year.
Work with mathematical concepts occurs in a variety of ways. Many of the activity areas in the classroom naturally integrate various math skills. Work with blocks for example, allows children to express their perceptions of the outside world in an organized manner. The blocks are “units” of construction; each type is related to another by size. Children explore their ideas: they count, add and measure how many different blocks are “units” of construction; each type is related to another size. Children explore their ideas; they count, add and measure how many different blocks are part of their buildings.
Our morning meeting on attendance becomes an addition and subtraction game as we figure out how many children are in school and who is missing, or how many more girls are in school than boys?
Children enter school with a considerable amount of mathematical knowledge. In kindergarten it is the intent to build on knowledge they’ve acquired their interactions and experiences by providing them with games and activities witch illustrate & reinforce specific concepts and skills. For example, most children can identify many patterns around them- night follows day, seasons of the year, colors in a favorite shirt. They can explain that this series repeats itself over and over and can predict what comes next. During our math program children would participate in a game or activity designed to reinforce their understanding of simple patterns and gradually work towards not only recognizing but also creating and predicting other patterns. Colored cubes, buttons, beads, nuts and a variety of other objects are used in patterning activities. Since mathematics is based on patterns that occur in a repeating and predictable order, recognizing and predicting patterns becomes important in First Grade as children begin their work with place value and addition and subtraction. Throughout the Kindergarten year work with mathematical concepts involves the use of manipulative materials.
Below is a list of skills and concepts that is covered during the kindergarten year. Please keep in mind that this is meant to be a guideline and that as children are ready they may progress beyond these skills.
Recognize and describe position words( inside, outside, top, middle, bottom, before, after, and between, above and below and over and under)
1:1 correspondence/counting objects
Numeral writing( matching and counting)
More than/less than
Measurement with non-standard implements( ribbon, cubes, etc)
Patterns and Movement
Shapes and parts of shapes
Work in social studies revolves around relationships-the relationship to the school environment, to the home environment, the relationship of the child to the school community and to the larger community and the class as a community.
Class meetings help children relate to each other and create a daily forum for solidifying a community feeling. Meetings provide the opportunity for children to establish, evaluate and re-establish policies that effect classroom life, such as rules for the centers and other behavior management. Through communication with each other, children develop a sense of who they are, who their peers are and the special qualities that we all have as individuals. It is this blend of individual personalities and feelings of community that make the socialization process in the classroom so special.
In addition to the traditional holidays there are many other opportunities to celebrate ourselves as a group! Not only celebrating our first day together, but also with the help of a picture number chart in our job area, we celebrate the 100th day in school, by making buildings with 100 blocks, or eating 100 cherios for snack. Our 100th day is a day to remember!
Helping each child establish a positive sense of themselves as an individual and as a member of the group is the primary goal in Kindergarten.
In the area of science it is my aim to provide children with opportunities to discover and explore the natural and physical world around them. Children are encouraged to explore, observe, experiment, questions and record (through verbal, pictorial and physical means). These skills are extremely important as they are potentially applied to every aspect of a child’s school experiences.
A wider variety of science activities are woven into the curriculum. Science projects and activities are geared to the child’s natural curiosity and experiences with the natural and physical world. Many parts of the curriculum evolve around a child’s questions or sharing of a found object.
Projects such as “Sink and Float”, “planting” and in art, discoveries about color and light using paint, and food coloring, provide a variety of discussions. In addition to the planned curriculum several discoveries and observations, some simple and some complex, yet all reflecting the wonderful curiosity and excitement of children interacting with their world.
Art is an integral part of our curriculum. Painting, collage as well as a central project offer children a variety of material and mediums to work with throughout the day. Free exploration and experimentation is encouraged and valued as a means for self-expression and discovery. With each discovery a child gains confidence and self esteem and is eager to test out new ideas. Within the area there is a variety of art experiences which offer children a means of self-expression and creativity. The intent is that each child will find a material or medium that they enjoy and feel successful about.
MUSIC and DRAMA
Children sing songs, play games and participate in a variety of creative movement. Since performance experiences enables students to have fun, take risks and feel part of a larger community. Drama is a more directed form of play children develop their imaginations, or organizing abilities, confidence and language. Drama provides a ready- made structure for practice in listening and speaking.