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  #1  
Old 03-29-2008, 12:20 PM
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myKroom myKroom is offline
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Kindergarten
Teaching preschool VS kindergarten

What are some of the big differences between teaching preschool and teaching kindergarten??

I am currently teaching Kindergarten and am considering switching grades. Preschool is one option that could be opening up a lot in my area! The state passed a grant program last year where districts could apply to get free four year old preschool brought into their district. My current district has the program and many other districts in the area will be getting it this coming school year. I am trying to decide whether or not preschool would be something I would be interested in!

I don't have a lot of experience in preschool (mainly field experience from college) so I am curious just HOW different it would be. I'm kind of looking for the main differences and what kinds of things the kids do and how the kids act.

How long is your day? Do you have AM and PM?
What kinds of activities/academics do you do?
Roughly how many kids do you have?
Do you do home visits...if so what do you do??
How much paper work to fill out?

These are couple of my questions...but please feel free to share more if you'd like!! Thank you!
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  #2  
Old 03-29-2008, 02:08 PM
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Mommyof2xys Mommyof2xys is offline
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Virginia
1st Grade Teacher
I teach pre-kindergarten now, but I taught kindergarten for 4 years. I thought that I would never leave, but where I taught, the children were tested as much as the upper grades and I am talking paper pencil tests too, so that is what took me away from K.

I love Pre-K! I feel like I have much more freedom to teach effectively than K. I also feel as though I am really preparing my students for what is ahead since I have taught K.

I currently teach in a pre-k grant program, our students stay all day, our day begins at 9 am and ends at roughly 3:35. In my program, our classroom should have 18 children. There is also 1 teacher and 1 full time instructional asst. We do not do home visits, but parent involvement is a big part of our program. Parents are invited to come in and help at any time. We also have tons of workshops for parents as well thorough out the year. We use the Houghton Mifflin Pre-K program for literacy and math. We also utilize High Scope. There is some paperwork, but not a lot, we only have to do it once a month.
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  #3  
Old 03-29-2008, 02:24 PM
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czacza czacza is online now
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Grade 3
I taught K for 2 years and then taught one year of Pre-K...It wasn't a good move for me, despite doubling my income. I loved the 'academics' of K- It was the kind of teaching I loved. Sure there was room and time for play, but I incorporated writing, word work, building number sense and other mathematical and literacy connections into our center times. I LOVE emergent literacy and the growth of the Ks in a year. My PreK was mixed age- I did some number and pre-lit stuff with them but I found it less fulfilling than teaching K. There will be die-hard Pre-K teachers here who will strongly say that they LOVE Pre-K and surely there is a dramatic change in the wee little ones in one year of PreK- it just wasn't my kind of teaching- too much 'mommy' stuff, the K's were more independent (thanks probably to the excellent school readiness they developed in PreK programs!!)...

It's usually hard to 'go younger' when you're used to a certain grade level. Why not go sit in on some PreK programs and see if it's for you...
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  #4  
Old 03-29-2008, 03:12 PM
ecsmom ecsmom is offline
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Tennessee
Kindergarten Teacher
I have not taught PreK only K. Our PreK is funded by the state grant and must abide by certain guidelines. One of the guidelines according to the PreK teachers is that they can't force a child to particiapte in any learning experience. They can only offer choices. If a child only wants to do the art center all day, so be it.
This caused some distress to my K students when they were told the didn't have the same choices as in PreK. Their choice was do the work now or at recess. (Yeah, I have that option at my school) It was a rude awakening.
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  #5  
Old 03-29-2008, 03:22 PM
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vannapk vannapk is offline
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Texas
Quote:
Originally Posted by myKroom View Post
How long is your day? Do you have AM and PM?
What kinds of activities/academics do you do?
Roughly how many kids do you have?
Do you do home visits...if so what do you do??
How much paper work to fill out?
I love teaching pre-k. I teach full-day public pre-k in TX. I have taught public pre-k for 11 years and Head Start for 3. It really depends on your state, their guidelines or standards for pre-k (can find them on-line), and your district.

I was hired and am paid by my school district, the same salary as every other K-12 teacher in the district, same number of contract days etc. i.e. I am not a Head Start teacher.

Our day begins at 7:50 and ends at 3:10. We used to be half-day but we recently transitioned to full-day pre-k- it's much better- love it.

To read about the academics in my public pre-k program you can go to my website for pre-k teachers and visit the Teachers Page for all the academics/activities.

I have 22 students. You might want to check with your district or state to see what the rules are about class sizes in pre-k. Because we are a public school we do not fall under daycare regs and we can have 22 kids with only one teacher. I have a half-time assistant that is with me for 2 1/2 hours per day, 30 minutes at a time.

No home visits for me- those are for Head Start- been there done that- never again.

My paperwork is the same as any other grade level K-2.

In my district teaching pre-k is no different than teaching kindergarten. We have tons and tons of testing, we do literacy assessments on the palm pilot, math testing, report card testing-it's ridiculous. We do reading workshop, writing workshop, we have report cards 4 times a year, guided reading etc. My point is that every situation is different and where I work pre-k teachers certainly do not escape the academic pressures of older grades and there is not any more freedom. However, since your state is new to the whole pre-k thing you might escape it for a while before they realize it.
good luck with your decision!
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  #6  
Old 03-29-2008, 08:04 PM
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myKroom myKroom is offline
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Kindergarten
Thank you for all of your replies!! Your opinions have been great!! I knew I would get both sides...and that's what I wanted!

czacza, I'm kind of in your boat...I could get a huge pay increase if I do this...but I'm not 100% sure it's for me!!

I am interested in a change but I don't want to make the wrong decision or jump into a decision!

There are pros and cons to every situation...I just wish that sometimes it would be completely OBVIOUS which one is right!!!

Any other opinions would be great...thanks!!
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  #7  
Old 03-29-2008, 08:15 PM
chicagoturtle chicagoturtle is offline
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Illinois
I teach Pre-K (Special Ed) but I am in a "general education" setting. Here there are 3 programs run by the school district - so we make the same pay as k - 8th grade teachers.

I work for Head Start - so we do have A LOT of paperwork. "Home Visits" can be conducted at our school or in a library- many of the neighborhoods aren't safe to just go wandering around and principals were worried that we are "on their time" if something happens. I am responsible for the Head Start Paperwork, district paperwork and special ed paperwork so it is a lot.

I love the age and see TREMENDOUS growth from September to June especially when I have kids for 2 years.

I have never taught kinder- I know it is much more academic than pre-k, but the academics continue to be pushed down. I work for a large school district, so we often change programs from year to year as far as our focus.

We use creative curriculum in the background of our day and for assessments.

I am in a 1/2 day program now. AM and PM. I once worked for a full day program. I miss the full day. Full day programs here do not nap or have "quiet time" anymore. So it is go go go from 8:00 - 2:15 in most situations.

Meals and family style and toothbrushing is a part of our curriculum.
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  #8  
Old 03-29-2008, 09:22 PM
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INteacher INteacher is offline
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Indiana
High School Social Studies
Playing devils advocate here - but since this is a grant, have you found out how many years the grant will fund?? Are you getting paid with grant money? Will it affect your tenure status or seniority if you take this postion and are paid with grant money? What happens when the grant money is gone?

I have seen quite a few teachers burned by taking postions funded by grants and losing out when the grant money was gone. Please make sure you know what you are getting into before you make your decision.
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  #9  
Old 03-30-2008, 07:27 AM
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myKroom myKroom is offline
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Kindergarten
Quote:
Originally Posted by INteacher View Post
Playing devils advocate here - but since this is a grant, have you found out how many years the grant will fund?? Are you getting paid with grant money? Will it affect your tenure status or seniority if you take this postion and are paid with grant money? What happens when the grant money is gone?

I have seen quite a few teachers burned by taking postions funded by grants and losing out when the grant money was gone. Please make sure you know what you are getting into before you make your decision.
Good point!! I know the pay is through grant money...but I have no idea how long the grant program will be around!! Hmmmmm!
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  #10  
Old 03-30-2008, 11:03 AM
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Mommyof2xys Mommyof2xys is offline
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Virginia
1st Grade Teacher
Quote:
Originally Posted by INteacher View Post
Playing devils advocate here - but since this is a grant, have you found out how many years the grant will fund?? Are you getting paid with grant money? Will it affect your tenure status or seniority if you take this postion and are paid with grant money? What happens when the grant money is gone?

I have seen quite a few teachers burned by taking postions funded by grants and losing out when the grant money was gone. Please make sure you know what you are getting into before you make your decision.
I am actually paid the same salary as any other elementary teacher (at my level) in my district. Also, my pay is not from grant funds. So I agree, research and make sure you find out this info up front.
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