WA @ PSS: At the Kindergarten

This was my second week at the Kindergarten. Since the three teachers had to do DRA testing of the kids, I was roped in to conduct the morning meeting with the Green team.

Having had my first (awful) experience with them last week, I was more at ease with morning meeting now. Basically, there would always be a morning message written by the teacher on the white board, get the kids to read together with you, highlight some key words you want the kids to learn and then go straight to respond with whatever question that goes with the message. After that, it would be Bible reading and then prayer before talking about the calendar and the weather.

I thought the conversation was a excellent way to get to know your students better and to build rapport with them. The students can choose to ‘pass’ but most of the time, if the topic is interesting, you will have willing respondents.

I thought I did a good job on Tuesday and then worsened on Wednesday and subsequently, today. I believe the kids want their fun-loving Mr Fortier back. Oh well, this would be my last time conducting morning meeting with them, I hope. The trio had finally completed all the testing today! Bravo!

Picture day | 19 Oct 2011

On the Teachers

“One-two-three, eyes on me!” (teacher)
“One-two, eyes on you!” (students)

 To be kindergarten teachers, you need a specific set of skills. Apart from the wide repertoire of classroom management techniques you need to have under your belt, you need to know when to be serious, firm and fun-loving at the right time. Being quick-witted is an important trait in these teachers since many unforeseen circumstances can happen to young kids. Flexibility, that is crucial. Above all, having a cohesive team of well-trained kindergarten teachers is essential. 

Buddy Reading

On alternate Thursdays, there will be Chapel and the whole school would be down in the Gym room for a time of worship and sharing of God’s word. Today, there’s no Chapel but Buddy Reading. Pupils from Grade 5 and 6 paired up with the Kindergarteners and read to them in the library.

*AFI: Instead of chatting among themselves, the teachers could go around and assess if the kids are doing the Buddy Reading the right way.

The Kindergarteners would proceed to this tray of books to select the ones that they want their buddies to read to them.

Choice Time

I love Choice Time, so do the kids. This is the time when the kids can choose the kind of activities that they want to do after Literacy Centres or when the kids have to stay indoors for their Recess (normally held at the Esplanade). There are quite a few activities ranging from picture puzzles, book nook, play dough to Lego. A lot of social skills can be taught and learnt during this ‘play time’.

Making a choice

Choice Time goes like this: The teacher will call out the students one by one to get to the board so that they could place their name pegs at the station that they choose.  Obviously, the kids who get to pick first are the ones who behave properly to be called by the teacher first. When each station has 2 or 3 name pegs on them, the students know that they are NOT to place their name peg on it anymore. So you know what to do if you want to get to the choice board first!

Making serious choices starts now!

In the middle of the Choice Time, the students can negotiate with the friends to take over that specific activity/station. That would need quite a fair bit of skills. Most of the students are nice and would allow their friends to take over. However, there are some stations which are popular and kids want to hold on to their ‘place’ as long as possible. That’s when conflict is highly plausible. One of the unfortunate cases was I. B. who didn’t get to the teaching board which she loved and got into a conflict with her friends. In the end, the teacher had to call her out and gave her a time-out. She had to go to one corner and reflect on what had happened, draw the scene and then talk to a teacher about it. Thereafter, she could ask to rejoin the group. Oh! One more thing, the paper has to go back to the parents! Scary!

So, our dear girl was crying as she did her reflections. Obviously, she didn’t want to bring the paper back home since she knew what she would be in for. *I let the teacher handle it. * Somehow, the teacher had a way to deal with the kids. It’s just so magical. The kids listened and obeyed! Moments later, our dear friend was back with her friends on her fav teaching board.

Kind-hearted M invited I.B. back to the teaching board.

There’s much to learn during this ‘Play-Time’. Students need to learn how to negotiate and be patient.  Kindness and love towards one another have to be shown and teachers can absolutely use this time to talk about it. This is also a great time for teachers to observe the kids and to know their likes and dislikes and what they are good at. The kids’ temperaments are clearly shown in this activity.

To Sum Up

Three days have since passed and I’m absolutely impressed by how the teachers handled the kids. They were quick to correct the misbehaviours of the students and gave ample encouragement at the same time. The students were in a very safe environment to comment yet at the same time, they were taught to know their limits. I like it that a lot of fundamentals were taught in Kindergarten, like having a good writing position and how to hold a pencil in the correct manner. Teachers also emphasized on reading and through this, taught the kids difficult words, prediction skills and the various genres.

Mr Fortier teaching how to grip the pencil

H practising THE GRIP

So, with a cup of coffee compliments of the teachers, I left the school, tired but happy! Three days spent in Kindergarten!