This weekend I led a training conference on teaching kindergartners in Sunday School. I had a great time talking with other teachers about ways kids learn and ways we can teach effectively.
As I reflect back on the conference, one thing keeps coming back to mind. We can talk about characteristics and learning styles...and activities and teaching plans. But the one thing we must remember is that each child is an individual.
We must approach each child as he is - not as we think he is or wish he is.
This new class is reminding me to recalibrate my thinking. For example, in the blocks center, two boys played for a long time. They built cities and crashed them down. During their play, these were the disasters that appeared--meteor (again), lots of tornados, a spaceship that went "crazy" when they pushed the crazy button, earthquake, and 20 large crabs.
This is new block play. I haven't had so many disasters happening on a regular basis. I need to recalibrate my thinking, helping them to expand and build on this play in the weeks ahead - and help them think of ways to develop that creative thinking into new ways.
I also have a large group of kids that enjoy playing in the home center all together. Today there were 5 or 6 kids in the "family," all sitting around the table and eating lunch. I need to recalibrate that center to have enough space and materials to keep up with the crowd - and look for some new things that could enrich their play.
Each group - each kid - is different. Some of my regular "fallback" activities may need some rethinking. That can make me a better teacher. And hopefully provide more effective learning.