Lessons Learned from Kindergarten
By Amy McCutcheon, CVC Kindergarten Teacher
As a Kindergarten teacher I spend much of the day saying and commenting on a variety of things. After a good conversation about some of the items I find myself having to say, and realizing how funny they were, a blog post was commissioned. I am daily grateful to be able to spend most of my waking hours with 5-6 year olds. They make life fun, and they always keep me laughing. And, on a serious note, they teach more about life than any other population.
1. “Use your words.”
One thing that is unique about Kindergarten, is that for many kids, this is their first adventure into full-day education. Some days can be long, and patience levels can be low. Students might opt to give a dirty look to a friend, or walk away from a situation in disgust. Encouraging students to be their own advocates and use their words to solve problems is a life skill.
2. “Hands to Yourself!”
Why is our neighbor’s hair so fascinating during story time? Why must we pull our friends along in order to show them something on the other side of the playground? Why is poking someone during quiet time so funny? I will never know.
3. “It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just try your best.”
This phrase comes out many times throughout the day and it can apply to any situation or subject. As of late, we have been working to perfect writing our numbers 5 and 8. Some students admit defeat before they have even started. Once they are given the affirmation and the pressure of perfection has been taken away, they rise to the task. I often find myself needing the same pep-talk during my day.
4. “Scissors are for paper.”
If you have a young child, or you’ve been a young child, you can figure out why this phrase is needed.
5. “No blurting.”
We refer to interrupting our friends or speaking out of turn as “blurting.” Being able to think before you speak is a fantastic skill to have. Normally, in Kindergarten our comments are innocent and quite complimentary. For example, not long ago, I was wearing a white dress with black stripes, and a sweet child commented that I “looked like a beautiful zebra.” Highest form of praise. However, this comment from a grown adult might not have gone over so well.
6. “Why did you do that?”
This question is often met with confused and glazed looks. Children at this age normally live moment by moment, with little thought to what comes next. My hope is that by asking this question following an incident, it will encourage some additional thoughts in the future. Perhaps when the next kid decides to tie his shoe laces to each other and attempt to walk around, he’ll think twice. Or, maybe “living in the moment” is the take away here?
The most wonderful aspect of teaching Kindergarten is that everything is exciting to the students. I remember a couple weeks ago, during a Bible lesson, I told the kids that as much as mommy and daddy love you, God loves you even more. I had jaws drop. They just couldn’t believe how that was even possible! What a true gift it is to share these truths with these kids Along with that, I’ll continue to repeat these phrases for months and years to come.