Day 166 (of 183) Welcome To Kindergarten (with a reference to @CntShpgCanada)
This afternoon we had our “welcome to kindergarten” event – an opportunity for teaching staff and parents and next years kindergarten students to get to know each other. To visit the learning environment. To see who’s who (and to confirm the principal doesn’t have two heads and breathe fire….usually….)
It made me connect to a recent op/ed I read about how “school today isn’t like the way it was” by John Doble ( @CntrShpgCanada )in @huffpost (and as a personal aside, his experience/reflections of attending an urban school seems very different from my time in a rural school….but we won’t go into “have vs have not” learning communities just now…) http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/john-doble/bc-schools-surrey-cloverdale-portables-crowded_b_10212002.html
Now I’m not going to argue ALL of John Doble’s points – he makes some good comparisons and points – but sometimes “the good old days-weren’t….even if the memories are…”. But as today is WTK (welcome to kindergarten) I do want to make some connections over what some different school “entry points” may be like……
Some of his early comparisons include the difference in teaching math between provinces (grade “4” math in BC is “the same” as grade “3” in quebec) and introducing reading (kindy in Q, G1ish in BC) – now in both comparisons while “earlier” seems theoretically better…..sometimes later is better – in Finland, formal reading doesn’t start until around age 7 (natural readers of course encouraged to start early) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/finland-schools-kindergarten-literacy_us_560ece14e4b0af3706e0a60c
and there have been studies around not even introducing formal math until grade 6 (and by the end of grade 6 they are ‘caught up’ with cohorts going through ‘traditional yearly teachings’) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201003/when-less-is-more-the-case-teaching-less-math-in-school
So…..there ain’t no “one best way” to do learning.
and my personal “hope” for students leaving kindergarten: know ABCs and 1-10s (and okay if they don’t have them all – because there is a lot more to learn during kindy:
Todays Welcome To Kindergarten included a focus on socio-emotional readiness (take turns not get you/tool wanted etc) over academic readiness.
So we all helped out as a team – including our counsellor (one day a week) and LRT (also one day a week) re-arranging their schedules to come in and take a sneak peek at how everyone may inter-connect in a few short months!
Tools we used:
Playdough with shapes (and taking turns)
Colouring (to explore fine motor skills)
Stories (to check out some books on what school is like)
Puzzles (because we like to explore problem solving at ALL ages!!)
Are letters important? absolutely. Number awareness? vital concept! Have to have all of that before september? Kinda hope not…..I much prefer kids coming with a good curiosity, strong sense of self-as-part-of-a-team where sharing matters and discovery will lead to learning…but maybe that’s just me.