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End of year goals (prek)

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End of year goals (prek)
Old 02-19-2017, 08:58 AM
 
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I teach prek mainly 4 with some 5 year olds and I was wondering what are the goals or objectives you want the kids to learn or master before the school year ends.. One of my coworkers is adamant that the kids need to leave prek knowing how to read and to have PERFECT handwriting... I do stress penmanship and we are decoding simple 2 and 3 letter words but I'm not sure if I should be more demanding of my students as the other teacher is... My biggest fear is that the students will hate learning and going to school at a young age.. My co worker has already closed some fun centers so the kids can only focus on letter formation and reading.. So my question is whether those expectations are achievable and realistic.. Thanks in advance for your help.


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Old 02-19-2017, 11:01 AM
 
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FWIW, I am a kindergarten teacher. I've been teaching for 34 years and taught T-K, K, 1st and 2nd, G&T Math (3-5) and Basic Skills Math (1-5). The majority of my career has been in K and 1st.

What are the requirements for entering K in your district? In my state, kindergarten is not mandatory. My district does not provide preschool for all 4 year olds like some districts. There is only one preschool inclusion class. That being said, we follow the Common Core and have a rigorous demanding curriculum in kindergarten. We do have students who just turn five when starting kindergarten. Many of our parents can't afford to send their child to a private preschool so many children enter kindergarten with no prior school experience. We have a lot of students who don't know any letters/sounds and don't recognize/can't write their first name when they start out the year. Most of them meet the end of year expectations-can add/subtract, write informational reports, read Level D or above ...when they leave kindergarten.

I think your co-workers expectations would not be developmentally-appropriate for most students who just turned 4 years old. There would be other factors to consider like whether or not the child has had any previous preschool experience or exposure to letters. Does the child come from a language-enriched stimulating home environment? Do the parents read to the child often? Has the child had lots of experiences-walks around the neighborhood, been to the park, grocery store and other places like the post office, library, garden center, bank, zoo, aquarium and children's museum?

Yes, some 4 year olds will be able to meet your co-worker's expectations.
Is your co-worker feeling pressure from the kindergarten teachers or parents to get the pre-k students to a certain level or is it required in your pre-k curriculum? I would not be comfortable with it being required that a child must be able to do all those things before entering kindergarten. Yes, as a kindergarten teacher, my job would be a lot easier if all students entered at that level, but at what cost? It is much easier for a child to accomplish things when he/she is ready. You can create a lot of unnecessary stress on a child when you require them to do it before then. Some children might shut down or become unwilling to even try when unrealistic expectations are placed on them. Others might act out or have avoidance type behaviors.

Instead of focusing on "perfect handwriting" with paper and pencil, 4 year olds could use things like wikki stix or pipe cleaners to form the letters. They can start out with sky-writing (tracing in the air)-working with gross motor first and then fine motor. They can use paintbrushes/water to paint the letters on the sidewalk or chalkboard. They can use their finger and trace the letters in fingerpaint or shaving cream. The children are still learning letter formation, but in a more developmentally-appropriate way. If a child is ready, you can introduce some paper/pencil tasks, but it shouldn't be the only way. At the same time, it is important to work on developing an appropriate pencil grasp.

You already do a lot in pre-k. Along with developing social skills and school-readiness, you work on things like developing fine motor skills/strength, visual discrimination skills (same or different), visual motor coordination (tracing, cutting with scissors, coloring), auditory discrimination skills, listening and following directions, and being able to sit while a story is read.

You also work on oral language. I think oral language development is very important-being able to speak in complete sentences, being able to orally share with others, using mature speech ("She is my friend." vs "Her is my friend."), and being able to speak in front of a group. Read alouds and shared reading (predictable books with pattern sentences) expose young children to the rhythm of our language and help build vocabulary which help them with reading and comprehension.
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:23 AM
 
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I do not care if kids come in reading, or have perfect handwriting. I don't care if they can count to 100 or add in their head. That's what kindergarten is for. In fact, I prefer not to have readers at the beginning of the year.

I do want them to come in with the background to be successful in K. I want them to have developed their fine motor skills through lots of hands-on sensory play. I want them to be able to navigate social situations. I want them to feel comfortable asking adults - any adult - for help. I want them to be able to transition between activities, even when it means stopping something that they love to do or that they are not finished with. I want them to treat the classroom and it's materials with respect. I want them to know how to get out materials and put them away. I want them to know how to use scissors and glue and have a correct grip on their pencils. I want them to be able to listen to a story and retell it in their own words. I want them to be able to ask questions, speak up, and speak clearly. I want them to be a gracious loser and not throw a fit if something doesn't go their way. I want them to understand what it means to have patience (I know it's unrealistic to expect that they always have it!) and that they can't always be first for everything. And I want their parents to know that the world, and our classroom, does not revolve around one child!
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