Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Tips to a Kindergarten Teacher Linky Party!

I'm super excited about participating in this linky party - the topic is: Tips to a kindergarten teacher from a kindergarten teacher.

Here are my tips:

1. Try to make things fun and memorable – no matter if you’re reading a book, doing science experiments, or just playing with cars.

Kids will always remember something amazing, that made them go “Wooow!”. Try to plan great activities, something that stands out, because they will be more engaged and they will learn faster. Instead of just reading a book, make a puppets’ show and get the kids involved. Instead of talking about how colors mix to form others, make a fun science experiment with colorful eruptions, instead of just presenting information about dinosaurs, make dinosaur fossils and pretend you are paleontologists in search of fossils. That’s the great thing about being a kindergarten teacher – you can teach anything however you see it fit, not just take a course book and follow it from start to finish.

2. Have a very well-structured morning circle

What has worked for me is having a very well established morning circle routine. We have some basic things that we talk about every day (such as the days of the week, who is present, the weather, the routine of the day, etc.) and then we have different hands-on activities or songs to practice English vocabulary. The songs for the weather, who is present, the days of the week, seasons are the same almost every day. We change them only when I see that children aren’t having fun anymore.

Our morning circle could be:

  • “Who is here today?” Or “Here We Have Many Friends” – song with movement;
  • "How’s the Weather" from Super Simple Songs – we use the weather wheel to indicate what’s the weather like that day; We sometimes dress Millie the Mouse for the weather;
  • We sing “Days of the Week”, then we have one of the children say what day it is and stick the flashcard on our chart.
  • We talk about the schedule for that day – we have crafts, we go to the park… - we have flashcards for every activity.
  • Afterwards, we might practice color recognition with some games and songs: “I See Something Blue” from Super Simple Songs, then “Which One Did I Hide?” game with colorful plastic balls, then we might throw the balls everywhere in the room and the kids will bring the requested colors to me while I sing “I See Something Blue”.
This is just a suggestion. The games and songs are quite varied, only the basic themes are the same. We try to focus on basic concepts such as counting, color recognition, number recognition, shapes, building vocabulary, and social and emotional development.

3. Routines and transitions will make life a lot easier
Whether you are washing your hands, making the circle for the morning routine, lining up to go outside, getting dressed, transition songs, actions and tricks are very useful. The switch from one activity to another is subtle and smooth.

I am working on a longer article about different transitions I have used over the years. A new one that works with my kids is holding bubbles in our mouths (pretend you have a bubble in your mouth by puffing up your cheeks) when we go to the nap room. That way, they will be very quiet when they go to bed.

4. Always try to find the reason behind an undesirable behavior
Behavior management with kids is a lot more difficult than with adults, and that’s because children at a very young age don’t have the skills to cope with their emotions or to express themselves through words. Most of the 3 year olds have to be helped to calm down when their parents leave for work, when some kid takes a toy from their hand, or when they just can’t do something and get frustrated.

A teacher needs to help children deal with their emotions and teach them how to express themselves better. Most of the time an undesirable behavior like hitting, fighting, biting, etc. is a sign that the child doesn’t have the language skills to say what’s bothering her.

For example, I've had kids who bite others, but their reasons were very different: some want the adult's attention, some want to get a toy that another child had, some are very tired, or just feel overwhelmed by a situation. A teacher should try to find out the reason of the behavior and try to fix it. Try to get to the root of the problem and solve it, rather than blaming it on the child.

I hope this short article will give you some useful ideas. I would love to hear yours!

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