Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Continuing Saga of Kindergarten Teachers

I once wrote somewhere in a past blog that I thought that kindergarten teachers had the hardest job in teaching. Yes, harder then high school civics or biology, maybe harder then university professors who teach only high level graduate courses. Because if you don't have a good foundation about learning and the enjoyment of learning, a student really can't go anywhere. Having fun with learning is like having butter on bread--it goes down easier. So bless the kindergarten teachers of the world.

On the other hand kindergarten teachers have to be on top of what is going on in the minds of four to six year olds--maybe a bit older. Let me digress for a moment. If you're a parent with a young boy age ready for kindergarten, give a thought to delaying his entrance into kindergarten by a year. Go next year instead of this year. Boys seem to take longer to get ready for school activities and most do not work well when stressed. I'm on an old kick here, but success breeds success. If you have two boys in kindergarten and one is five and one is six, I'll bet my money on the six year old doing well at high school graduation. Learning activities in kindergarten will come easier to the older boy and because he will have been successful, he'll look forward to other learning situation and probably be successful as well. End of lecture and digression.

But back to kindergarten teachers. They have to know what the little kids are watching on the TV, what books Mom and Dad are reading to them at night, what foods they are eating, what songs they listen to on their iPods. The kindergarten teachers has be in sync with the children to be able to take them through the learning activities.

Which is why I somewhat lost it when a kindergarten teacher to be from my College of Education said that technology wasn't important. Well now! It seems a couple of my colleagues who have retired from teaching but are still interested in all this stuff wrote me to tell me how their grandchildren are using technology at home and will probably look forward to it when they finally get to school. Both their remarks to me were about two young boys about to enter kindergarten this coming fall. Both are excited about beginning their education.

One of my colleagues, Patricia (as usual all names are different from real life to protect the innocent and me) said that she asked her grown daughter if the Mickey Mouse Club was still on TV as she remembered she was infatuated with "Annette" when she was young. Her daughter, smiling, asked her son to show Aunt Patricia the MIckey Mouse Club. Jacob then went over to his computer, logged on and found the Mickey Mouse site and then proceeded to show his Aunt more details then she really wanted to know. I remember one kindergarten teacher advising me (Me, the music teacher at the time) how to ask a question of these little ones. She said that you don't want to ask an open answer question as a kindergartner will answer and answer and answer. She told me most young children didn't know the meaning of a period in a sentence. It was good advice.

But I do want to quote Patricia. "So does 'technology' belong in kindergarten? It's already there....and God help the poor teacher who doesn't know this. I'm guessing she never got a Monk-E-Mail .....with custom voice video!!!" Earlier in the week I would have said that I had never received a Monk-E-Mail but Patricia was kind enough to send me one. What a kick. I can see young kids sending these to each other......with their beginning sense of humor. If you haven't explored this web site with your child, go to and send me one at And no, you can't tweter me. I'm not caught up with these young kids. Yet!

Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat him as he could be, and he will become what he should be. I don't know who wrote this saying but I like it. It seems to me we need to treat our kindergarten children with the culture they already know. Another way to put this is a statement by the famous Sociologist, Margaret Mead. She once wrote, "We must teach our children to venture down paths that we do not yet know."

Why don't you venture down a different path and thank a teacher who nurtured you in your learning.

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