Friday, August 30, 2013

Closing the gap between Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten

Preschool and Kindergarten, there is a difference, but we can bridge that gap.

Closing the gap between Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten has always been a goal for me.  A student’s transition from Preschool to kindergarten should be easy and exciting, not a scary and unwanted task.
That is why I continued to implement it into my Pre-kindergarten classes.

Each year I visit at least two Kindergarten Classes, I look for the overall structure of the class and each teacher’s management philosophy.  I see if I can implement some of their ideas into my classroom. Then I speak to each kindergarten teacher to get an idea of what I should be teaching my students to prepare them for kindergarten.

Some kindergarten classroom structures are designed in the same way as a preschool class with a few centers and an area for circle time.  Students were required to raise their hands before speaking and as you know, they do more writing and table work than they do in Preschool.  For that reason, it is important to work on fine and small motor development before they begin to write.

One of the classes I visited, the teacher instructed the students to the table by naming the table after an animal.  For example:  she would say, “Students please meet me at the zebra table,” and the table would have a zebra print on it. This was something that I implemented in my class, my students really enjoyed it. It was great in developing listening and direction taking.

Years ago, when I started in the business, most schools only taught their students how to recognize and write capital letters. So when the students begin writing their names, they only wrote them using capital letters. Most of you probably already know this, but based on a kindergarten teacher, this is one of the hardest habits to break.

The teachers were very pleased that I chose to observe their class, so I would leave with tons of information on what a student needed for Kindergarten as well as 1st. grade. This gave me information on ways to implement these learning skills into my curriculum, so that the students were more than prepared.

I also scheduled a field trip to the local school for my students; the teachers were great, they included the students in their daily schedule and even gave them paperwork to do.  I loved the look on their face; it was a mixture of confusion and excitement. After our trip, we did a picnic on the school grass and then walked back to our center.

I think this experience made it real to the students, we read them books about kindergarten, but actually taking a trip to a kindergarten class gave them a better understanding.

I know that each school has their own philosophy about how Pre-kindergarten classrooms should run and that they are separate from kindergarten. But to me, it’s about the students and what they need.

 I want them to be excited about going to a school with a lot more students than they are use to, I don’t want them to fear it.


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