Day in the life of a kindergarten teacher

Aug 9, 2015 by

Julia Proctor –

In the year before they begin school, children at kindergarten learn a little more about how to learn and they continue developing the skills they will need for the next 13 years.

Justine Wickham is a kindergarten teacher at Shelford Girls’ Grammar School’s Early Learning Centre, responsible for the education of 22 four-year-olds.

8.30am – Get to school. The children start arriving straight away. We set up our room yesterday so the children can go straight to an activity.

We are quite lucky, we have three teachers in our room so another teacher is there while I meet parents. One parent wants to talk about a child’s sleep issues. It’s fast paced. The children want our attention and so do the parents. It’s a bit of a juggling act. But if we know what’s happening in their lives, we can support the children and parents.

9am – The children choose what activity they go to. We have five tables set up to encourage all areas of development. Everything has a purpose. I try to get around every child. Today I have a child weaving. He is so persistent. I tell him I really love the work he is doing.
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10.15am – Cut and set up fruit for morning tea. The children come and go as they please. I sit at the table and we talk about everything from what we did at the weekend to the types of fruit we are eating.

11am – Mat time. The children come together. We all talk. It’s about everyone having input. I ask questions and the children know to take turns. We encourage them to listen to others and pose their own questions.

We have chickens at the moment. They have the chicks out, they are holding them, examining them, and are quite infatuated with them. The chickens mess on the floor which is quite exciting. One of the boys doesn’t want to hold the chickens, but we encourage him and he does. What an achievement, you can see it in his whole body.

11.20am – We go outside to the oval. Here they have space to explore and more freedom. I am kicking and throwing the football with the children. For some children this is their only outdoor time.

12.15pm – Lunch. We have one teacher stationed at each table. There’s lots of chatter and we talk about lunches and what’s healthy food.

1pm – Rest time. I take them through a guided meditation. It relaxes them. Some sleep, some lie there. I quickly eat lunch and then get straight onto the computer, writing up observations on each child. I analyse them and then think what I am going to do next and how we are going to plan the program to meet the needs of that particular child and the group.

1.45pm – The children get up. One of my colleagues has reset the tables and the children go to more activities.

2.20pm – We come together again on the mat. We have a letterbox which a child takes home each week and brings back with objects starting with a particular letter. Today it is E. The little girl is a bit nervous but with encouragement she shares what she has brought. We reflect on the day and share the great work that has happened.

3pm – Parents arrive. I talk to the mum of the boy with the weaving. You can’t speak to everyone but I try to touch base with a few parents.

3.15pm – Everyone has gone. I discuss with my team how the day has gone and any concerns. My team is very much in sync. It’s a good opportunity to debrief.

3.45pm – Set up the room for tomorrow. If something is not working, we will change it. Back on the computer, writing up notes. I’ll get stuck into it again later at home and spend an hour and a half writing up observations and doing analysis. I could do more but you need to draw the line somewhere.

4.30pm – Home. It takes 45 minutes. I listen to the radio. It’s a chance to reflect on the day.

Source: Day in the life of a kindergarten teacher

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