My Kindergarten Philosophy
My goal as an educator is to provide children with successful learning experiences that help foster a positive attitude and good self-image in each child. My program is structured and well organized, but with enough freedom to promote independent thinking and creativity. I also think it is very important to meet students' individual academic and social needs in a way that builds upon their strong points and remediates their areas of weakness.
I use positive reinforcement as an effective motivation (i.e. praise, stickers, treats, etc.). I believe it is very important to catch the children acting appropriately and reward them to encourage positive attention. It is clear to me that children need to be given guidelines as to what is expected of them academically and behaviorally. By establishing classroom rules and safety rules with the children, I develop a model for appropriate behavior at school. I use consequences for misbehavior (i.e. time out, diminished free play, etc.) to insure the safety and well being of the children. I use these consequences, only when necessary, to discourage inappropriate behaviors. I stress consistency in both positive and negative reinforcement in order to develop a good self-image in your children.
My philosophy is basically eclectic. I have chosen to integrate a number of approaches with the idea that what works well in one situation may not work in another. It is necessary to be flexible, and to assess the program's effectiveness frequently.
A balanced approach to teaching has provided me with a means of setting up a classroom where all types of learners can achieve success. I provide many hand-on projects so the children can actively participate in their learning. This provides them with the opportunity to feel a true sense of pride and accomplishment when they have completed a project. Children should read and write daily, incorporating activities such as DEAR time, Word Wall, interactive writing, journals, guided reading, and reading/writing workshops.
As well as teaching the fundamentals of education, there are other skills that need to be addressed in the classroom. These include environmental awareness, tolerance, socialization and manners. It is important to educate the whole child: academically, socially, and physically.
Structure is important in the classroom. It should be incorporated in a way that still allows for flexibility and creativity. A routine should be set up from the beginning so students are comfortable and familiar with the daily schedule. They should have an active role in establishing rules so that they are aware of the boundaries in the classroom. They should be familiar with the rewards as well as the consequences that they can incur.
Assessment should be balanced as well. It should be authentic in that it evaluates a child individually and during actual activities. This can be done using tools such as anecdotal records, running records and portfolios.
By learning in a fun, non-threatening setting, the children are less inhibited and thus gain confidence, growing personally as well as academically. In addition, they instill a positive attitude towards school within themselves which can be carried on throughout their education. By recognizing each child as an individual, I am able to meet their needs and guide them in their learning; acting as a facilitator.