I found out yesterday that school board officials will be visiting our classroom today to look at how the Full Day Kindergarten program is being implemented.
Is it bad that I really don't want to be there? Is it bad that I'm not sure what my actual role in Full Day Kindergarten is?
I really don't want to have to meet with them.
Full Day Kindergarten started in 2010 as a way to help alleviate pressure on working parents and the daycare system as well as helping those in low-income/poor test outcomes have improvement and therefore be equal to those in higher economic areas.
It was rolled out and advertised as a play and inquiry based learning program for the students as studies have shown that it is the best way for kids to learn - through play.
However, it was not introduced properly to teaching staff before the implementation began and it was determined through a study, that it isn't actually that beneficial.
I have 28 students in my classroom. 13 Junior Kindergarten munchkins and 15 Senior Kindergarten munchkins. I have an Early Childhood Educator in my classroom as well, who is considered my teaching partner.
I'm told that I'm to help my students develop and eventually learn through inquiry. Huh?
Also, many of my parents have expressed concerned about the play-based system and asked "If they only play all day, how do they learn the basics?"
I guess that's where I differ from the school board.
As a parent myself, I want my child to be writing and reading, at least in a very basic level by the time my boys head to Grade 1. This is a belief held by the parents of my kiddos, since it's a conversation I've had numerous times during parent/teacher interviews.
According to the play-based framework, students are supposed to have a lot of choice, begin developing self-regulation skills and be able to decide what they will do.
I'm not allowed to use worksheets. I'm not supposed to force my students to work on their writing. I'm not supposed to do reading groups.
Given the choice, 27 of my 28 kids will not write at all during the week. They will not pick up a book. They will play house, build blocks and neglect the pencils and beautifully coloured picture books I have set up in my reading and writing corner.
I guess, maybe this visit will help clear those things up, but at the same time, I don't want to be judged. I don't want to be questioned on my teaching and everything in my classroom.
Apparently it isn't enough that the parents of my students are happy and that my students are learning and excited to come to school each day?
I thought that's what my job was.