SKILLS TO DEVELOP WHEN BECOMING A PRESCHOOL OR KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
During the process of teaching at Little Caliphs Kindergartens you will learn a great deal about how children learn, learning styles, types of instruction and curriculum. Take as many opportunities as you can to experience classroom teaching and work with children.
Although you may feel nervous at your first year but later and during your first efforts on your second year… remember to relax and have fun. Provide the children with something interesting to do and establish clear expectations for during and after the lesson and things should run smoothly.
Revisit your niat why do you choose and stay as a kindergarten teacher. Have a strong azam to become a better teacher as years go by.
Teaching concepts is the key to children’s teaching. If you teach well these concepts will be understood all the way up to primary school. If children do not seem to understand a concept, always ask – How can I present this concept differently? Do the children have the vocabulary to understand this concept? Do I have to backup a few steps? What can I do differently?
Never assume that young children understand what you are asking them to do. Always show them (don’t tell) and then give them hands on experiences. When teaching kindergarten be aware of learning differences and offer a variety of activities and experiences.
In the process of becoming a kindergarten teacher, learn as much as you can about being organized. Every system you put in place will save you hours of work in the future.
Although it takes a lot of work in your first year, plan the next year in advance. This way you will have plenty of time to order resources, borrow books and DVDs, and organize field trips and classroom visitors for each theme you teach.
Do your lesson well with understanding and putting in thoughts and interesting ways in teaching
Have good storage systems for both your own personal belongings and classroom equipment make it easier for you and your students to clean up and put things away.
Problem solving skills
If something can go wrong it will! Be a creative problem solver. At your first year you may have a child with special needs in your class. Every well-planned lesson was disrupted. You either get frustrated or go into a creative problem solving mode. Define the problem, and then ask… How can I make this work? In what ways can I solve this problem? What can I do differently? Do I need to ask for help or advice? Avoid blaming at all times, just focus on solving the problem.
Cultivate patience and a sense of humor
When you are teaching preschool students, cultivate patience and a sense of humor , have fun and cultivate sabar in yourself. Little kids have on days and off days just like teachers. Be patient with your students and with yourself.
Some days your well planned lessons are a flop and other days a spontaneous lesson will evolve from an unexpected source. Be willing to scrap your plans and go with the flow.
Experience can only be gained through trial and error, so when things fall apart, give yourself a pat on the back for effort and start the process of creative problem solving again. Go home, take rest, solat, istighfar and doa to Allah to gove you ilham to teach and to have sabar
Learn to write
Every teaching job involves a lot of writing. Use spell check and a dictionary with all that you publish. Being able to write notices to parents, signs in the classroom, and report cards with correct spelling, grammar and punctuation is a vital skill to learn when becoming a kindergarten teacher. If your English skills are weak, get extra help to improve them.
Learning English is not hard, the key thing is do not be shy when you try speaking English with your students. You may learn from theinternet and other resources.
Learn to communicate
Be sure to take courses or workshops on communication if you are not confident. Teachers need excellent listening and communication skills to work with parents, children, and other staff members. Learning how to talk to others in a manner that builds bridges rather than walls is a valuable quality to acquire. Positive talk and professionalism are akhlaq and adab that you need to build a good culture in your kindy.
Some educators find Chris Thompson’s audio books, “Dealing with the terrible twos and beyond, talking to toddlers” to be a great help. Don’t be fooled by the title, or by the fact that the audio books are geared to a parent audience. His techniques work well with children from two to school age and are beneficial to educators as well as parents. Google and find this book or other books that may help you in teaching. Leaders are readers!
Learn to have good time management
Becoming a kindergarten teacher takes hours of work. Even if you love working with children you need to create boundaries to ensure you have a life beyond children or the classroom. Once again, the more systems you put into place, the more time you will have.
Learn to appreciate and work with parents…
In learning how to become a kindergarten teacher, remember parents are an invaluable resource. They are enthusiastic and will help with everything from coordinating field trips to cooking with the children in the classroom. Remember to acknowledge their efforts with verbal and written recognition. Talk to them professionally and have sabar, avoid back biting you may not have barakah in teaching the child if you do so.
Knowing how children learn best
When teaching kindergarten, remember that children learn best when given things, objects, stuff to learn with (called “concrete objects or manipulatives”in the education world). Multi-sensory experiences are necessary. There are many great educational learning supplies and materials available to teach number sense, classification and other math concepts. You may use lego, blocks and kitchen corner to teach maths and vocabulary.
When teaching kindergarten always use concrete materials
Use science materials Little Caliphs Scientist properly to enhance experiential learning with your students. Trips are very good to show them what you taught in school in applying to the world. Use the trip the best you can.
Children learn in lots of different ways
Learning styles research tells us that children learn in many ways. Visual learners watch closely when you demonstrate an activity and like to draw and play with shapes and puzzles. Auditory learners understand ideas and concepts because they remember information they have heard, follow spoken directions well and remember songs easily.
Although all children learn through touch, some learn especially well through touch and movement (tactile/kinetic learners). Some children like structure and some learn more easily in an unstructured environment.
When teaching kindergarten be aware of learning differences and offer a variety of activities and experiences. If you want your children busy, happy and on task, give them lessons that offer a variety of kindergarten teaching ideas, different opportunities to learn, and things to touch and discover.
Present concepts in a structured step-by-step way
When concepts are presented in a structured step-by-step process with each step building on previous knowledge, children learn with less effort. Expecting a young child to understand the concept of a water cycle without previous experiences with, and vocabulary about, clouds and rain and links is assuming too much.
Offer step-by-step structured activities and experiences to help kids learn when teaching kindergarten.
Kindergarten children learn when subject areas are integrated
Effective kindergarten teaching occurs when students are offered thematic units rich with content. Important literacy and math concepts can be reinforced as theme content is shared.
Whether by using thematic units or other methods, learning a new concept is easier when it is repeated in many different subject areas.
A child learning about the life cycle of a butterfly may act it out with creative movement and poetry, paint it with a large paper and paint, illustrate and label the stages in science and literacy lessons or listen to related stories and songs.
As a rule, continue kindergarten themes for no longer than 4 weeks. Ask yourself if you are presenting enough “real objects”. Find different story books to make theme story telling interesting .New themes get everyone motivated and enthusiastic.
Learning is developmental
Effective kindergarten teaching happens when teachers remember that children develop physically and progress academically, socially and artistically at different rates.
Just as some children get their first teeth at 4 months and others at 10 months, children’s abilities to observe and process information develops at varying rates. Some four year olds have superb small motor coordination and draw and cut beautifully, but have delayed speech patterns. Other children may be verbally eloquent at four years of age but be physically uncoordinated and be at a scribbling stage in drawing.
Offer open-ended activities to meet the developmental stages of all students. An open-ended activity is any activity that all children can have success with. The more advanced child may add words, a more complex drawing or use a higher level of thinking than a child at an earlier stage of development.
Children need instruction, practice and time to learn new skills and concepts
- No one learns to jump rope by only looking at the rope and exploring its properties. Effective kindergarten teaching happens when guided instruction and time to practice are scheduled into the kindergarten day.
- Be creative – there are lots of ways to practice skills using puzzles, games, diagrams and more. Do not automatically think “worksheet” when you think of skill practice. Practicing concepts and skills does not need to be dull and repetitive.
- Effective kindergarten teaching includes presenting thematic units to make learning interesting, understanding that learning is developmental, and giving students plenty of time to practice new skills.
- Teaching with themes helps children connect ideas…
Why use themes when you teach?
Content rich kindergarten themes:
- hold the children’s attention ,create excitement in the classroom
- encourage talking and new vocabulary
- offer opportunities to teach skills in an interesting context
Benefits of teaching with themes
Teaching with themes encourages students:
- to learn new information
- to share what they already know about the theme
- to be enthusiastic about new ideas and things
- to enjoy investigating the world
- to ask questions and come up with ideas
It is exciting when children hear concepts repeated in different subject areas and make connections between them.
Teach with real things…and Integrate with Islam
Whenever possible, choose kindergarten themes where real things are available. Our vocabulary syllabus are laid out for you and the lesson plans are done by integrating all the multiple intelligence and VAK methods integrating Islam adab and sunnah in the teaching. If the central idea is the food, cook, visit the nearest grocery store and bring vegetables and even fish and chicken into the class for the day to show the children and discuss . Add also the favourite food of our beloved Rasulullah s.a.w and what does halal food mean. Teach doa and also the adab of eating. Kindergarten children are much more engaged when presented with the real thing. Making good art and craft and interesting posters are showing that actual learning and teaching are happening in the class room. They will stay involved longer in the theme topic if they can use their senses to learn about it.
At young ages, most children are really interactive. They can’t sit still for very long and have short attention spans. . One can teach his/her child very naturally about Islam.
Teach duaas naturally. When you eat have him/her say Bismillah. When he/she goes to the bathroom have them say the duaa. Let them hear you say duaas throughout the day. Sometimes they amazingly pick up duaas (and some quraan) without formal instruction, by hearing them repeatedly, consistently.
Teach simple adab/hygiene. Eat with your right hand. Make istinja after using the bathroom, etc. From experience, it is easier to teach these skills while they are young. When they are older, they get set in their ways and it is more difficult to correct “bad” habits.
Children love to be read to. Read the Quraan, Stories of the Prophets, hadith and talk about what they mean. Ask them questions about what you read. Answer their questions. Try to paint pictures in their heads about what you are reading.
Teach them basic aqeedah. At 18 months I started teaching my youngest daughter and now my youngest son to respond to Where is Allah. Of course they don’t really understand the meaning at this point, but when I ask him where Allah is, he points to the sky (well, if he is laying down he may point off to the side, but the foundation is being set for when he is older, insha Allah.
Just take your daily routines and remember Allah much and teach them how to do things Islamically. Explain why you do this and that. (e.g. We start putting on our shoes, brush our hair with the right because the Prophet (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) did this. When you see them eating with their left hand, respond with the quraan or hadith, like, The shaytaan eats with his left).
Those are just some of the ideas that can be shared. Life is full of lots of “teachable” moments that don’t require worksheets and textbooks. Take advantage of them!
Add “what your child has learnt” on the booklet pages (see top image) to help parents have a conversation with their children about the theme when they take their work home.
Our Little Caliphs Scientist kit should be brought home with a letter to parents so that they may recap the experiment with their child. Encourage them to come to our Fast reading technique Seminar and encourage them to teach reading at home.
Do not wait for parents meet to tell the progress of the children, inform parents for any good development of their child, let them feel happy and that you are really doing a good job in teaching your children
Whatever that you have done in your first or several years that you have been teaching, reflect back and have the azam in your heart to become a better holistic teacher at our beloved Little Caliphs kindergarten
Have a great year ahead Inshaa Allah
Pn Sabariah Faridah Jamaluddin
Founder of TLCP