Kindergarten is a magical place where dreams come true, celebrations are everywhere and children learn “how to” learn through their ideas and what they are curious about. Young children have a natural ability to help, support, care and ask questions. They innately want to be a part of things and offer encouragement through their exploration of ideas they are engaged in.
As an educator I have a responsibility to make every effort to support my students and their families. Being a teacher is a privilege and an honor. My presence online and face to face needs to be professional, supportive and kind. The heart of my work is with my students.
Thinking about the fall I am exploring more opportunities that I can offer my students and their families to not only engage in what we are exploring, but ways I can continue to offer hope and invitations to learn alongside each other. These ideas are vital for our success and the success of my students.
So how does this happen?….
- I open my classroom globally. I use social media, Kidblog, blogging, Seesaw and Skype as platforms to connect my students with familiar and new faces globally who are interested in our learning. Modeling “how to” have conversations is important because we all learn about perspective and how we can all benefit from others ideas.
- Reading stories that highlight kindness and empathy are important. Through stories children make connections and want to share their ideas and have conversations with each other about what matters. Again, this is another opportunity to widen perspective and experience how we can all benefit from others ideas. Click here for a great book list that promote kindness.
- Offer invitations for your families and their children to celebrate together about what their child is learning. I try to have 4-5 celebrations of learning a year. I do this because it is an easy way for parents to visit the classroom and also meet other families and have conversations with each other and their child about what they are exploring in Kindergarten.
- Take time to meet and have conversations with your students families. They are important stakeholders and want to be involved. It is important to offer hope and to be positive and share solutions for needs that arise. Seek to get resources that your families need to support their child’s success in school.
- When exploring the Next Generation Science Standards find ways to invite families to be involved in solution based needs that impact the communities you teach in. Click here to read about what I explored last year. When you offer opportunities for parents to engage in new learning, you are modeling “how to” collaborate and learn alongside each other. Rich, engaging and meaningful conversations develop strong relationships. We all matter.
- Take time to notice what is around you and highlight your students in ways that empower them. Saying: “You did a nice job” is one way, but if you elaborate why they did a nice job you empower and recognize their thinking.
- Mindfulness is a wonderful way to help children take time to breathe and get clarity when they need it. This way we all learn strategies that help us recognize what we need to relax, rethink and redo when we are confronted with problems. Click here to see a video I share with my students throughout the year.
- Find ways to collaborate with each other. Through collaboration you and your students experience “how to” connect and engage in conversations that inspire and challenge thinking. We all have much to learn from each other.
- Explore identity and learn where your students are from, the languages they speak and where they have traveled. This offers opportunities to learn about different cultures and perspectives. Celebrate each of your students identities through a project about their unique culture.
- Explore the natural world often and look for patterns. Using inquiry as a way to learn about what you notice inspires deep thinking and promotes questioning.
These are just some ideas I have been reflecting on. I think about the importance of modeling alongside my students and how to solve conflicts in meaningful ways. I think this offers us opportunities to learn from others perspective as well as the value of sharing our ideas to solutions with a global audience so we can all benefit from each others thoughts.
Making a difference is a theme I weave in/out of my interactions with my students. I try to find moments when we can all shine and share our voice because we all matter, our students matter and their families. Through positive, solution based problem solving and a smile we can all make contributions that benefit each other and the world.
Looking forward to another wonderful year in Kindergarten. This is where I get another opportunity to open my classroom globally, to meet and learn alongside others who are also interested in making a difference. I am a teacher, an educator, a learner, an innovator, a learner, a creator and a friend. I believe in offering hope because it lets my students know that I care, I care about them. I want all of my students to be successful… I believe in them…