Effective Kindergarten Teaching
Kindergarten children learn when subject areas are integrated
Effective kindergarten teaching occurs when students are offered thematic units rich with content. Important literacy and math concepts can be reinforced as theme content is shared.
Whether by using thematic units or other methods, learning a new concept is easier when it is repeated in many different subject areas.
A child learning about the life cycle of a butterfly may act it out with creative movement and poetry, paint it with a large paper and paint, illustrate and label the stages in science and literacy lessons or listen to related stories and songs.
As a rule, continue kindergarten themes for no longer than 3 weeks. Exceptions here are ongoing units such as frog eggs to frogs or growing plants from seeds. Don't keep pushing a theme if the children have lost interest. Ask yourself if you are presenting enough "real objects". New themes get everyone motivated and enthusiastic.
Learning is developmental
Effective kindergarten teaching happens when teachers remember that children develop physically and progress academically, socially and artistically at different rates.
Just as some children get their first teeth at 4 months and others at 10 months, children's abilities to observe and process information develops at varying rates. Some four year olds have superb small motor coordination and draw and cut beautifully, but have delayed speech patterns. Other children may be verbally eloquent at four years of age but be physically uncoordinated and be at a scribbling stage in drawing.
Offer open-ended activities to meet the developmental stages of all students. An open-ended activity is any activity that all children can have success with. The more advanced child may add words, a more complex drawing or use a higher level of thinking than a child at an earlier stage of development.
Children need instruction, practice and time
to learn new skills and concepts
- No one learns to jump rope by only looking at the rope and exploring its properties. Effective kindergarten teaching happens when guided instruction and time to practice are scheduled into the kindergarten day.
- Be creative - there are lots of ways to practice skills using puzzles, games, diagrams and more. Do not automatically think "worksheet" when you think of skill practice. Practicing concepts and skills does not need to be dull and repetitive.
- Effective kindergarten teaching includes presenting thematic units to make learning interesting, understanding that learning is developmental, and giving students plenty of time to practice new skills.
How to Teach Kindergarten Pages
- Always use concrete materials to teach little kids
- Children learn in lots of different ways
- Present concepts in a structured step-by-step way
- Thematic units make learning interesting
- Learning is developmental
- Practicing concepts and skills does not need to be dull and repetitive
- Be flexible and understanding with young children
- Motivate with enthusiasm and curiosity
- Help children describe what they’ve learned
- Take lots of breaks