I once heard that everything you need to know in life you learn in kindergarten. After thinking about it, I thought that really rings true. This includes kindness, treating others as you want to be treated, showing respect for others, and remembering to say please and thank you.
Kindergarten is often referred to as a foundation for school. It is very important that each child has a pleasant experience in kindergarten. If not, they may develop a disliking of school and learning at a very early age. What are children in kindergarten learning? They are being taught the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and colors. However they are also learning social skills that they need to make their school experience a pleasant one.
Have you ever observed the first few days of school? It appears to be total chaos as each child reacts differently. Some are eager to go to class while others cry and cling to their parents. I am thankful for the teachers who are willing to help them get through those rough first days. For many children kindergarten is the first real exposure they have outside of their home on a daily basis. This is a big change for them. Especially when it comes to rules. Some children have all the freedom they want at home. They find adjusting to classroom rules quite a challenge. For others, learning to share is something they are not used to doing.
Relationships are different in kindergarten. Children have the opportunity to meet other children and play with who they want to. In the past, they played with the children their parents selected or with their siblings. For some children, resolving conflict with their friends in kindergarten is very difficult. Children have to learn skills to enable themselves to resolve their own issues.
Kindergarten offers each child the unique opportunity to explore their world on their level. They get to choose how they want act and learn to be responsible for their own choices. They also learn each choice has a consequence.
I am amazed at how much a child develops emotionally and socially during kindergarten. They are beginning to understand the environment they are in as well as question so many aspects of it. They are fascinated by each other and enthusiastic about new learning subjects. Sometimes I think if we all followed the rules of kindergarten and kept the enthusiasm we had back then, the world would be a better place for everyone.
Kindergarten teachers have got to be the most patient and fun group of people there is. How many others do you know who have the patience to take a group of twelve to twenty children on a daily basis and teach them basic schoolwork, social skills, and nurture each one as if they were her own children? I know it is a task I would not be able to do.
Think back to your kindergarten teacher. Most of us can remember our teacher as well as some things about the classroom. Most of all, we can remember if it was a good experience for us or a time we would rather forget. I can still remember my kindergarten teacher. She was very kind and fun. We all loved her. Her class was comfortable and inviting. A positive experience in kindergarten lays the foundation for how a child feels towards going to school and towards the learning environment.
To be an effective kindergarten teacher, you must truly love working with children. While a desire to teach is important too, so much of the day is spent on meeting the emotional and social needs of the children. The role requires an attitude of acceptance which enables each child to feel valued. On the other hand, the teacher must show competence in observing both verbal and non-verbal behavior to assess the child appropriately. In today’s society, a kindergarten teacher must be willing to meet the needs of children from a variety of cultures as well as those with special needs.
Being a kindergarten teacher is a very rewarding experience. You get to see things in a new way through the eyes of an innocent child who is experiencing it for the first time. You also get to see how much they learn and grow from one day to the next. To be a part of helping a child learn to read or write their letters is an unbelievable rewarding experience.
Effective kindergarten teachers play a dual role. They are responsible for keeping the children happy, motivated, and learning in the classroom. They also have the role of keeping the parents informed of what is going on in the classroom. Parents have to be informed of their child’s performance and progress. It is important to find ways to involve the parents in the classroom as much as possible as well as get the parents to be involved with their child’s learning at home.
Teachers’ Working Conditions
The Japanese government, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet announced an emergency measure to reduce the number of children on nursery school waiting lists. Building more nursery schools and daycare centers for children? What are you going to do with all these new nursery schools and no teachers, no workers? Teachers’ working conditions must be improved. Better salaries, conditions and benefits should be given higher priority. Competitive salary for nursery school teacher jobs should thus be given top priority.