Teaching Kindergarten can be very different than teaching adults. From my experience, the layout and structure of your lessons can be essentially the same with some tweaking to the content, but there is much more to teaching in a Kindergarten than just lesson planning. Here is a look at some of the way you can make sure you are the best teacher you can be, ensuring your young learners are growing, and developing, as they should.
Understand the Curriculum: The easiest way to prepare for and convey any lesson is to understand it inside and out, and the easiest way to do that is to understand the curriculum as a whole. Don’t just look into what you are doing today, or tomorrow. Look ahead and browse to see what you are doing in the classroom weeks and months down the road. It will give you an idea on where your classes will be going and help indicate areas you should focus your time on. It can also give you a good idea on what sort of materials you can save for later use.
Build and Stick to Routines: If there is one thing I cannot stress enough in a Kindergarten environment, it’s routines. Routines are essential to young learners and have proven time and time again to be the most effective way of helping them engage in lessons, as well as class management. If you have routines in place they will basically manage your class for you. Have a routine you follow daily (EX: morning song, lesson time, bathroom break, playtime, Arts & Crafts time, lunch.) as well as a routine for your lesson plan (EX: Warm-up, elicit vocabulary, model & drill, activity, concept check). This will keep their attention, and you keep your classes/work day smooth and hassle-free. Not to mention ensure they are learning from every class.
Develop Motor Skills: One thing we have to remember when teaching young learners is that they are just that, young learners. With adults, we focus all of our attention on the lesson and making sure we cover all of our material. With young learners, we must focus equal time on developing the children’s basic motor skills. Your students could be as young as two years old, meaning they are just learning how to run, jump, and even stand still properly. In a Kindergarten, we don`t want to have our students sitting all day and listening. The children need to be moving. During the lesson portion of your day, incorporate games to help develop these motor skills. For example, use a Hopscotch word game, or dictation games like Simon Says. This way you can work on both the lesson and motor skills at the same time.
Get to Know the Parents: Knowing students parents can work wonders for knowing your student better, which can also help you when identifying his/her needs. You can also advise the parents in ways they can help their child learn by showing them ways to reinforce what your learner has learnt in class. During this home study time, parents can also help by looking for potential problem areas, which they can relay to you so you can help to deal with the situation.
Be Safe: Young learners are at the stage where everything is new. As teachers, we’ve filled our minds with so much junk and useless information over the years that we sometimes forget things, until we throw out some old memories to make way for the new. Children don`t have that problem. Everything is new and the minds absorb everything they see, touch and feel, so they are always in motion and exploring. Anything can happen, so always be alert and make sure you start day one with solid routines to help alleviate any accidents in the classroom.
There are a million more tips to being the best teacher in the Kindergarten; these are just some of the best I have to offer from my own experiences. What works for you?