Now in my second year of teaching transitional kindergarten, I have really embraced the gift of time this new grade offers. My students don’t have to master all the academic skills of kindergarten. Instead, I get to foster their natural curiosity and instill a sense of confidence that will serve them throughout their educational careers and beyond. We explore kindergarten standards using hands-on and interactive activities, and I incorporate play into many aspects of their learning experience. In TK, my students build the social, emotional and academic skills necessary to be successful next year in kindergarten.
Nurturing Confidence in Young Learners
Cultivating my students’ confidence is essential to helping them become motivated learners. Children will become more involved and engaged in discovery if they feel successful. I make an effort to recognize their work and help them feel good about what they accomplish.
Building off of this foundation, I’m then able to meet children where they are. I have multi-level games and activities available at each learning center during math and language arts “table time.” Students tend to choose the activities that are at their level. They are curious and naturally seek out opportunities to try new things. At times they make up their own rules for playing a game such as “Go Fish,” but they are still learning to recognize numbers and to negotiate the process with their classmates.
When the students have lost interest in a given activity, I switch it out and provide more challenging activities as the year progresses. I use assessment to guide my instruction, and children receive additional help individually or in small groups as needed. As the year progresses, I create leveled small groups and differentiate instruction.