Some thoughts on kindergarten.

Kinder means child and garten means garden. I think that ‘child gardening’ is a very pretty metaphor for what we do as teachers. Teachers provide the ‘water’ and the ‘nutrients’ (and if you’re feeling cheesy, the sunshine), but the children do all the growing themselves*.

*If you want to stretch the metaphor, those sticks that support roses and young trees are probably a bit like ‘scaffolding’ too.

I’ve just finished my second week teaching in a kindergarten. It’s been really fun. I’m not sure how much of that is because it’s a kindergarten and how much is because it’s a good school but I’m loving it so far.

I’m not sure how much I can blog for a while. I don’t think it’s that useful for anyone else to read my thoughts on teaching when I don’t really fully know what I’m doing yet. That said, here are a few observations on my first weeks that might be useful and/or interesting:

1) Everything is cute. 

The kids are cute. The classrooms are cute. The textbooks are cute. Everything is cute.

2) There is a lot of unconditional love.

I’ve been late for class a few times because I walked past a classroom and all the kids wanted a hug before I went upstairs. A few people I’ve spoken to said this sounds like their worst nightmare, but it’s okay by me.

3) Young kids have really low attention spans.

At my old school I could set activities that would run for 20 minutes with no real problems. I knew younger kids had low attention spans but I didn’t realise how much lower. I’m still getting the hang of things but doing lots of different activities is important.

4) Young kids find really weird stuff fun. 

I’m not sure if I’ll ever understand some of the things they get up to. They spent two lunchtimes putting ice in a sled, pulling it across the playground and then tipping it out to start over again.

5 )Task based learning is easy.

Task based learning used to be one of those things which I used to be a bit scared of and thought was really hard to plan. My new schedule has classes like English Gym, cooking class and science (we made zoetrope last week). With the younger kids even simple stuff like drawings have a lot of pedagogical value as questions like ‘what is it?’ and ‘what colour is it?’ are around the right level.

6) Singing and chanting is fun 

This is another thing that I didn’t use because I was a bit scared of it. Now I have to do it, I really enjoy it.

7) A nine-till-five is better than a two-till-nine

Working from 2pm till 9pm sounded great before I started doing it. Now I’m on a more regular shift I can do so much more with my evenings which I’m really happy with.