When those sweet little faces arrive in kindergarten at the beginning of the year, they often don’t come with much background information.
I think we can all agree that our youngest students need to spend more time playing and developing their fine and gross motor skills and building a strong foundation for academics. But where do we even start?
I go into hundreds of classrooms a year, and I find the kindergarten classrooms to be the most interesting.
Last week I was in New Orleans working with Lafourche Parish preschool teachers. The goal of the day was numeracy, and one of the highlights was the afternoon make-and-take session, where we had five stations for teachers to visit.
Did you know that a child’s ability to skip is correlated with his or her math skills? Did you know that static/dynamic balance has a lot to do with readiness for reading? Motor development, both fine and gross, does matter a great deal as we take a whole child approach to education.
We have all been there…trying to get students to develop one-to-one correspondence with concrete objects. You have a pile of counters ready on your table.”Watch how I do it,” you say. “1, 2, 3, 4.” And with great patience, you carefully move one counter at a time from one side of the table to the other.
Today our children in the 21st century are into technology, aren’t they?! Many children would love to stay on their iPads and play “Minecraft” or check out fun videos rather than do any fun crafts or projects.
With all of the testing going on in classrooms today, school–just plain and simple–isn’t as fun as it used to be. Teachers are worried about their students’ performance and about being evaluated on how well their kids perform, regardless of how “at-risk” they are or the many factors influencing their learning.
When something is done using “multi-sensory modes” it will stick better in your brain!
It’s hard to find a truly developmentally appropriate preschool these days. It seems that the idea of a “rigorous curriculum” gets pushed down to our younger students and we easily lose focus of what the true purpose of education is.