You have been dreading this day all summer. You made a special dinner, took a little longer washing her hair and brushing it, even longer with night time cuddles and story time, and when you went to close the door you looked over at her sparkly backpack and a blue dress with a matching bow and you can’t help but to feel her excitement but also sadness. You walk to the kitchen and make her favorite sandwich and pack all her favorite snacks in her matching sparkly lunchbox.
You turn out all the lights, pick up her toys from today, and make your way down the hall to your bedroom. Before laying down you pop your head in one more time to just see if maybe she magically turned back into a toddler so you could cherish a few more years of her being your little baby, you sigh as you see her sleeping peacefully, and close the door. The next morning is filled with a sense of excitement, anxiety, and a sense of urgency as you miscalculated how long it would take to get a 5-year old ready for her first day of Kindergarten. You drive her to school and walk her in to her classroom, just to make sure she knows where everything is. You reach her classroom, and your eyes start stinging with tears, you fight them back, so she won’t know.
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At the same time you see a woman with a warm smile, she walks towards the door and greets your daughter and hands her a blue card with a star on it and shows her where to put her things and how to find her seat using that card. Your daughter laughs at the silly hat the woman is wearing and sits down and starts giggling with the little girl across the table who has the same backpack as her! The woman reassures you that she will be just fine and she will be sending pictures to every parent during her lunch to show them how their day is going. I Am That Woman. I am the person that you will trust your baby with most likely for the very first time. I am the one that will fan the flame that you started when you taught her how to say her first words and taught her how to ride her bike. My name is Savanna and I am your daughter’s Kindergarten teacher.
To ensure that every family is supported in a way that they specifically need I would use the weeks after registration to set up either a phone call or email conference with the parents of my children before school started. I would ask them things about their child to get to know them better and open a line of communication with the parents/guardians. I would also ask for written permission to share group photos of their child on a Parent/Teacher app like Edmodo with other parents (2015, April 28). With a parent/teacher app, parents could stay in touch and involved with their children all the time.
Something else I would do is in the early weeks of school before Parent/teacher night I would do my due diligence in researching local food pantries, shelters, clothing donations, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, utility assistance programs like United Ways, WIC, etc. I would then create a flyer with all the contact information for these programs and hand them out at parent/teacher night as well as send them home in the children’s folder and post them electronically to our Parent/Teacher app. I would make sure to include ways that families who do not need these services can help those in our community such as participating in a food or clothes drive for our classroom/school. My ultimate goal of this project would be to ensure that families who did need these services would have the information they needed to get assistance.
The ideal environment that I envision for early childhood education begins with an open and inviting layout of the room. Each item will be labeled as to help the children with learning how to spell and understanding what each item is properly called. Each desk would have their own name spelled out on an index card, so they can copy it daily. The room would be decorated with the theme of the current unit such as Habitats or even a specific book that we are reading that week, such as Cat in the Hat. We would meet in groups to discuss our units so that not only are the children listening but also discussing the unit which can expand their vocabulary as well as inspire critical thinking which is an important skill to develop for students.
I am a firm believer that early childhood classrooms should rarely be quiet. This age group loves to talk and express their ideas and opinions (2011). This is a great thing because children learn so well in diverse classrooms and listening to each other talk and use different vocabulary is superlative. The perimeter of the classroom would have different stations that would be changed up weekly depending on the station. Each child would be assigned to a different station daily so that they could explore each one. For instance, some children may not automatically be drawn to the dramatic play station but when assigned to the station they may discover that they like using their imaginations to play detective or firefighters, which may also spark an interest in what they may want to be when they grow up. At 5 years old most children are still learning through hands on play, which means a sensory station is superlative.
Observing children playing at the sensory station could also give you insight to children who may not have diagnoses for autism, as textures can be a big thing for children and people with autism. In fact these different stations can help in discovering what learning style each child learns best in or developing their multiple intelligences in reference to Howard Gardner’s research. Howard Gardner believed that we did not just have one intelligence or one IQ; instead, that there were multiple types of human intelligence such as Verbal, Logical, Visual, Musical, Naturalistic, Bodily, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal (2016). Observing children in the classroom is important to understanding the needs of each child. A kindergarten classroom should be set up to allow children to explore these intelligences. Once you can discover the child’s learning style you can ensure that each child has the skills to succeed not only in your class but any future classes. To me I believe that this the exact goal, to not only absorb the information taught in your class but to prepare the child for future courses and for life.
As a professional I want to ensure that my knowledge tool belt is constantly full of resources to assist in educating each child in a way that supports them individually. To satisfy this responsibility I plan to attend conferences, stay involved with teachers in my local community as well as stay involved online through social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pintrest. Through research on workshops for professional development, I found a resource through Stanford University that connects you with online workshops (DevelopED, n.d.). One workshop I found interesting was the Challenge Success workshop, which is offered completely online and focuses on giving you research-based teaching strategies (DevelopED, n.d.). Another way I have discovered to keep updated on new developments in the field is by having an open communication with my peers.
I plan to use the experience and advice from my peers as a first line of defense to any questions or solutions to any complicated situations that may arise. Having a support system that is easily attainable can help me support each child the way they need to be. I am not perfect and will not ever be perfect but using my peers personal experience I can make sure that I can find a solution to any problem that may arise with my students so I can be a supportive advocate.
In my research I have also found that social media can be beneficial in staying up to date on new techniques, as well as laws that may be passed in my state that could affect my students, and the way I teach. In my research I found that Pintrest can me beneficial for find ways to decorate my classroom for specific units like habitats, or if we are reading one of Eric Carle’s books I can find inspiration how to decorate to make that book leap off the pages and come to life. I found that Twitter has some great resources as well, like the page Teaching Strategies. They are constantly posting new techniques and teaching strategies. You can also ?hashtag’ teaching strategies and post your personal techniques so you are constantly getting new ideas! I want to use all of these opportunities for my professional development so that I can stay in the now’ with knowledge in the early childhood education field.
In conclusion, it will be my responsibility to ensure that I support each family in a way that is unique to each situation. This will happen by keeping an open line of communication and ensuring those who need assistance have an opportunity, and the ability to receive that assistance. It is also my responsibility to ensure my classroom is an ideal early childhood learning environment by including an open floor plan, bright colors and words, different learning stations and ensuring that I nurture each child’s multiple intelligences.
I will ensure that I stay up to date on all educational standards and new teaching techniques by attending conferences and staying active in the teaching community by creating a good relationship with my fellow peers and using social media accounts such as Pinterest Twitter, and LinkedIn for teaching techniques and information about new laws being passed. It is my ethical responsibility that all of my students are safe, secure, happy, and have gained knowledge throughout the year. I never want a child to leave my classroom feeling as though they hate learning, and I inspire to make this my ultimate goal.
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