I'm baaaaaaack.

Hoarding All the Glitter Since 2001.

10 January 2013

2013

This year is for some reason turning into the Year of Realized Projects I Have Idly Considered for Years on End.  Presently:

  • The children are making enormous number lines by 5s to 100, using fingerpaint and handprints.  (They're over five feet long.  One per kid.)
  • We are doing more writers workshop type stuff and they have published books.
  • We're making spore prints from mushrooms RIGHT NOW.
  • We have live adult chickens in the classroom.
Overall, I predict I will have mildly paint and/or marker-specked hands and clothes pretty much every day going forward.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I greatly enjoy your writing and perspective. I found your blog from Rachel Norton's blog.

I am in the final stages of the SF kindergarten search and have a question (well, two actually) that I hope you will respond to. There is quite a bit of public data about SF public school's school demographics, funding and test scores and there are different ways to cut the data. What do you think are key indicators of a great school? Of course, your answer may or may not have anything to do with the data I mentioned.

Second question - what school is fortunate to have you as one of its kindergarten teachers?

E. Rat said...

Briefly, I think a great school values all learners and provides ways for all children to be successful. For me that means an environment that affirms diversity as a value in and of itself, provides ample programming in art, PE, and science, and teaches self-regulation.

I do not think test scores are a useful indicator of a school's greatness, although the amount of test prep is a negative one.

Sean Simon said...

Thanks. I agree with your recipe for a great school. I think the hard part for SF parents today is trying to assess which schools really have these as core values, since most of them make the same pitch. This is especially true for folks that don't have any friends/family in SFUSD schools. I would love to be able to peek behind the curtain, which sounds like I am more skeptical of the schools than I intend.

Simon

Simon

E. Rat said...

Sure, and every school means what they say, so it comes down to whether their vision of a well-rounded, child-centered program matches yours.

If I were touring schools, I would personally want to know about whether Kindergartners have unstructured imaginative play or not and how much. I think play develops language skill, empathy, cooperation, and creativity. So if a school didn't have much (or any, it happens) play on the menu, it wouldn't be the school for my family.

I would also ask about how the school supports children who struggle with self-regulation (because they fidget or don't like to sit very long) about sensory-motor programming, and if the kids regularly get muddy, and/or paint-covered. I want to hear that there are lots of strategies to help kids be successful and that I should be ready to purchase lots of smocks for the classroom, because to me that makes for a great Kindergarten experience.

I would probably also be banned from all tours for life and be a real irritant asking a lot of questions, though.