(Part 3 of a series. Click to read part 1 and part 2)
If you haven't been in a kindergarten class since you were the student, here is a glimpse into what a day looks like at our school:
8:00 Group 1 begins. (16 kids)
-Group learning time-This time is on the 'carpet' where the kids are expected to sit, not talk to or touch anyone, and follow what the teacher is doing. It could be calendar, counting, stories, words of the week, phonics decoding, or any other number of things.
-Tables- The children are split into 3 groups- 1 table is with the teacher for instruction, the other 2 are for various independent work- writing, coloring, alphabet or poem books, journals, etc. Sometimes these tables have helpers, other times not. The rotations are timed at about 20 minutes each.
9:40 Group 2 arrives (16 kids)
-More group learning time, directed drawing, journaling, singing. (Mostly trying to keep all 32 kids focused on one thing.)
11:45 More Group time
12:05 Group 1 leaves, Group 2 begins table time, as above.
1:45 Group 2 leaves.
Also the kids get approximately 8 pages of homework per week (2 pages per day for Monday- Thursday, due on Friday), with a monthly reading chart, 20-25 books per month.
In my observation this year the youngest kids:
- are the smallest
- cannot sit and listen to the teacher for any given length of time, much less an extended period.
- cannot keep their hands to themselves.
- need almost constant 1 on 1 supervision to get the academic work done sufficiently.
- are months behind what are considered basic kindergarten standards: alphabet, phonics decoding, counting, (some can only go as high as 30).