I subbed in kinder this week. My old room, my old partner and my old assistant. Old in terms of familiar and comfortable as our rhythm and old established synchronism was as if I never left! New stuff, new room arrangements and new kids yes, but passion to teach, as fresh as ever. And that needs to be when faced with a “new” crop of kids each year. Nothing here is old to them! My heart soared with pride as I saw teachers’ embrace the idea of a “slow gradual start” of the school year. Kinders have much to learn as routines and schedules in their six day rotation, becomes part of their schema, internalized with repetition, posted/pictured daily schedule and patience. In time the questions, the uncertainty of which group they go to specialists, which group is theirs for Daily 5 rotations and where they sit for guided reading, writer’s workshop or math will be accomplished with more ease. But not now. Now their eyes widen with questions, concerns, fear of being lost, doing something wrong and challenging the expectations when they’re not ready to stop their activity. These are all typical responses, ones that we see as kinders gradual learn the “ropes.” Till then our job becomes that of the caring adult to let our kinders know we’re here for them, to help when needed, to guide when uncertain, and to lead with reassurance; that although confusing, we’ll figure it out together and of course with hugs! For now morning play time helps with the goodbyes, putting away backpacks and getting settled for the day. From morning meeting to recess on the yard to that big chunk of work time to lunch/recess, then to specialists, PE, snack and dismissal; so much to do, so much to remember. But we will get there, because that slow start lets the kinders know we have time, there is no rush.
Today Jenny and I introduced how to use our iPads. While half the group worked with the iPads the other half had a math activity with Roger and then we switched groups. Can’t wait to see how the kinders will use the STEAM Bins.
Some schools have kinders enter the program in gradual entry points the first week of school. Is that how your school works? Do you start the academic components right away or do you have discretionary leeway?