The Children Are Not Prepared? Let Us Prepare Them
So much of education literature talks about the lack of preparation of the children who enter kindergarten. Not all parents have the time nor the education to be able to teach the letters and the sounds to their children. Not all parents can even read to their children.
It is up to us as teachers to plunge in and teach the children and watch how “prepared” they can become.
When I went to kindergarten 75 years ago, in a mill town in Rhode Island, none of us had been to nursery school or a pre-school program of any kind. The school did not expect us to know anything. Those teachers and that firm principal felt it was their duty to teach us everything. I clearly remember the kindergarten teacher teaching us the sounds of the language and were taught to write in cursive style, and the great adventure of reading began.
Today parents are demanding that their children learn much more in kindergarten. My colleagues and I began, a bit reluctantly, a dozen years ago to teach more to public school kindergartners. Lo and behold! The children gobbled up everything we could give them: the sounds of the language, handwriting, writing simple regular words, writing simple sentences, remembering some spelling rules. Even the children whose home language was not English caught up quickly.
We have had to revise our whole view of what inner-city kindergartners can learn. It has been more of a challenge to us than to the children. They take it all in stride and are teaching us along the way! And as a result, we have become better and stronger teachers. #
Sandra Priest Rose is a founding trustee of Reading Reform Foundation of New York and a reading consultant. Reading Reform Foundation trains teachers directly in their classrooms.