I have now spent three weeks in the classroom and I am getting used to the hustle and bustle of the pre-K schedule. This week challenged me to focus on the teaching styles of Ms. Darian Kerster and her teaching assistant Ms. L who both continue to impress me with their adaptable, nurturing, patient and playful attitudes.
I was immediately amazed by the freedom and independence they encourage for all of the young students in their classroom and the desire for their students to try new things and explore their abilities that both teachers exhibit. A variety of play stations are available in the classroom and every day each student is able to freely pick where they would like to play. Initially, I questioned the freedom and expected chaos in the classroom but because both teachers have embraced the freedom of choice from the start of the school year, the classroom has developed structure and the students respect and demonstrate gratitude for the mutual trust that has developed. I am unfamiliar with the promoting of freedom in the classroom but I am overjoyed to see the abundance of choice that students have in school today without taking away from a positive learning environment.
Miss K is constantly coming up with new ideas to integrate learning into the scheduled routine of the Pre-K students which keeps each child engaged and curious. This week, we did a finger painting activity which allowed the students to explore the primary colours and the result of mixing them together. Rather than shying away from the mess, Miss K encouraged them to smudge, swirl, and squish the paint which inspired the students to have fun and be adventurous with the activity and allowed them to challenge their brains to be imaginative.
Beyond special activities, Miss K is constantly adapting her classroom to suit her students’ interests and to reflect community events and holidays. When I first started assisting in her classroom, hearts were a major them and incorporated into different play station including the treasures in the rice bin, the playdough cookie cutters, and the crafting area. This week she started transitioning into an Easter theme and set up a water table with sea animals in it because she noticed her students taking interest in splashing in the sink. I admire Miss K’s ability to adapt her classroom to better suit her unique group of students and to provide an environment where there is always something new to explore and learn.
Positivity is hugely represented in the Pre-K classroom which is another commendable teaching style of Miss K. She is always sure to explain why someone’s actions may have been inappropriate or wrong and then elaborates on what would have been a more acceptable behaviour to ensure each student has the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and correct their actions. She also encourages each student to solve disputes with classmates independently rather than always relying on a teacher to step in as a way of helping her students recognize their self-worth. As another way of inspiring self-respect, Miss K will have her students give themselves hugs or pats on the back to reward good actions or blow kisses to their brain to acknowledge smart thinking.
The teaching staff in the Pre-K classroom are constantly learning from their students which allows them to improve the classroom environment for the students in return. They allow their creativity and imagination to shine through their teaching styles in order to plan activities that engage all of the students and are educational and playful. Learning through play is the motto of the staff in the Pre-K classroom and by letting their originality shine through, they act as excellent role models for their curious and exuberant students.
Sincerely an inspired to be creative Miss S