As per a research conducted in the year 2000 by Rimm-Kaufman, Cox, and Pianta; close to 40% of kids are not fully prepared for the demands and rigors of kindergarten classrooms. If you talk to teachers at Kindergarten and Elementary Schools, they will second this opinion. Therefore, it has become increasingly important to carefully analyze the child care curriculum for the day care center that you have selected for your child. On the other hand, many early toddler care centers (day care centers) have also started investing time and energy into building a Kindergarten Learning Center. The objective of such learning centers is to equip the children with the necessary skill to succeed at the Kindergarten level. These centers are setting protocols and practices that are meant to engage the children and help them learn better. Moreover, there is increased focus on children’s movement around the classroom, their engagement in activities, and the way they work with different materials.
Here are different things that a Kindergarten Learning Center can do to bridge the gap between an early toddler care center and a kindergarten.
1. Set Clear Expectations: Many parents believe that their children shouldn’t be burdened with any expectations at an early age. They should be allowed to enjoy their childhood. Researches prove otherwise, though. Many studies and researches suggest that by setting clear expectations, children learn to cope with them successfully. Most activities at an early toddler care center are children-directed with few or no expectations about the completion of the task and the quality of the end-product. However, it is important to introduce such teacher-designed expectations at an early age. This way, children are held accountable for the proper completion of the task that is assigned to them.
2. Promote Independent Working: There are various physical and social activities that children are involved in at an early age care center. However, these activities don’t always promote independent work. If there is a conflict between children, teacher quickly intervenes to resolve the same. To help children cope better, teachers need to gradually reduce the amount of guidance they provide in the classroom. Instead, children should be allowed to work independently. If any conflicts come up in the process, children should be encouraged to resolve them on their own. Along with training the teachers on promoting independent work, the tasks assigned to the students should also be amended as well. There should be more focus on tasks that require the children to work on their own. Over a period of time, the complexity of these tasks and the time assigned for the same should increase.
3. Clear and Succinct Teacher Expectations: Those day care centers that are working on developing a successful Kindergarten Learning Center need to introduce clear and succinct teacher expectation sharing as a part of the curriculum. When a task is assigned to the children, the teacher should clearly mention when that task must be completed. Moreover, there should also be a way to gauge whether the task has been completed to satisfaction or not. If you are just recently introducing this concept, it is important to ensure that the tasks are not complicated involving worksheets. Instead, they could be simple tasks like social games, building assignments, or art projects. The ultimate goal is to slowly introduce small amounts of teacher direction.
4. Emphasize on Classroom Routine: Children, at an early toddler care center, should be trained to carefully listen to the instructions that the teacher provides. They should then independently complete the assigned tasks, and place the materials in their original position when the session is over.
5. Classroom Rules: Finally, it is worth noting that this is a good age to introduce a child to discipline and following rules. Children must be expected to sit in their chairs with both feet on the floor. Additionally, they should be required to work quietly and place the material back to its original position after the completion of their work. Including the importance of rules in a child care curriculum will not just help children be prepared for kindergarten but also help them improve their day-to-day conduct.
These are minor changes that day cares centers can bring about in their child care curriculum to ensure more kids are ready for kindergarten. By introducing a Kindergarten Learning Center, day care centers fulfill their responsibility of letting children be aware of what to expect. If you have any questions or comments about these tips, please write to us in the comments section below.