Do you enjoy Pre-K or Kindergarten better?

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by luvteaching25, Apr 5, 2007.

  1. luvteaching25

    luvteaching25 Rookie

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    Apr 5, 2007

    Hi everyone!

    I wanted to know if anyone out there had taught pre-k previously and if they preferred K or Pre-K? I have a choice, but don't know what to choose. I am currently teaching Pre-K.
     
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  3. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Apr 5, 2007

    kindergarten by a long shot. But that is just me.
     
  4. luvteaching25

    luvteaching25 Rookie

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    What differences did you find?
     
  5. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I'm in my 15th year of teaching. I started in PreK, moved to 2nd for 2 years, then to K for 3 years, and now am back in PreK. I hope never to leave PreK again! It's really my niche. In my case, a lot of the reasons I prefer PreK are program specific - they may or may not apply to the situation you are in, but here's a list.

    *In PreK, we are limited to 20 kids per class. In K, that can go up to 30.
    *In PreK, we have a full time aide. In K, there were no aides when I was there (yup, even with 2 sessions of 30 kids each, I was on my own!). Now that it's full day, there is one aide shared per 3 classrooms.
    *In K, the focus is on mastery of skills. If kids didn't acheive to a certain standard, they are retained. I hated that "failure" attitude. In PreK, the focus is on exposure to skills, not mastery.
    *Prek is still somewhat play-focused here, which I think is much more developmentally appropriate. K is very academically oriented.
    *There is a LOT less pressure on PreK kids, as far as reading and academics go. In Kindergarten, they even have standardized testing already! To go along with that, the parents are more relaxed in PreK. There's no great push from them to have their kid reading by June, thank goodness.
    *I really enjoy the social growth of the kids, and in preK, that is much more of a focus than in K.

    I have to go, but I'll post later on the downsides of PreK, because there are many of those, too.
    Kim
     
  6. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Apr 6, 2007

    Hi- I currently teach full-day public pre-k in TX and have been for 9 years. However, last year I had the unique opportunity (or misfortune, it depends on how you look at it) to teach Kindergarten literacy support half-days. I think the answer to your question may depend on where you teach; high vs. low socio economic factors make a big difference. I have found the following differences in general between kinders and pre-k's

    Kinders at beginning of the year are much more independent than Pre-K (think bathroom and self help skills)

    Kinders have more prior knowledge than pre-k's in the beginning of the year so it's easier to "do" things in kinder.

    Kinders are less "needy" in the beginning of the year than Pre-K's.

    Pre-K's are more eager to please their teacher, Kinders want to "test your limits" all the time.

    Pre-K's want to follow the rules and kinders want to break them.

    I was given a choice between the two grades last year and I chose Pre-K hands down. I can put up with the difficult first few months in pre-k because after those first few months it's smooth sailing. Kinder seems to get more difficult as the year goes on. I teach full-day pre-k and after December our curriculum is exactly like kindergarten so I am getting the best of both worlds. I teach word families, guided reading, sight words etc and my kids are very eager to learn and follow rules and directions. One of the other reasons I turned down kinder is they keep making the academic requirements more and more like first grade, our kinders now have to read on level 6 by the end of the year, the pressure is just too great, especially in our low SES, high ESL area.
    Good luck in your decision!
     
  7. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Apr 6, 2007

    The biggest downside to PreK is September. I'm not kidding. The kids grow and change so much that they are light years different in June than they were in September. Starting over again is miserable. And when they come in, they really know nothing. I mean, NOTHING. You forget that you even have to teach them how to stand in a line, how to wash their hands and flush the toilet, etc. (the positive side to this is that, without any previous school, you don't have to unteach someone else's routines or expectations...) I go home in Spetember every night and need a serious nap and a glass of wine! But, with a pretty rigid structure and a good sense of routine, they quickly learn the rules and it gets better fast. By November, you'll be in a groove. They ARE really eager to please and eager to learn at this age.

    There are also a lot more by the way of bathrooming issues and parent-seperation issues in Pre-K. (from both the parents and the kids!).

    I still prefer PreK, though. We have an award winner K teacher at my school, and she cringes at the thought of teaching Prek, though....everyone has their own niche, and you have to find yours.

    Kim
     
  8. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I wouldn't say this is a rule to all classes. The classes I worked in the kinders wanted to follow the rules and didn't know about "testing your limits".

    I didn't like pre-K because I found they had a hard time following directions, to clingy...... I know this isn't true for all pre-k students. I just found I worked better with kindergartners. Best of luck to you in which ever you choose.
     
  9. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    Apr 6, 2007

    One summer I worked with a three year old class. I will never do that again. However I would teach the 4's if I had an opportunity. I do love kindergarten though.
     
  10. luvteaching25

    luvteaching25 Rookie

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    Apr 7, 2007

    Thanks for your input ladies! After looking at the pros and cons, I decided Pre-K. It's Half-Day, which means that I will have 2 groups of children! Yay! I am excited. Any advice on the beginning of the year?
     
  11. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Apr 7, 2007

    Hi luvteaching25: I have a page for teachers who are new to pre-k or kinder on my website: ~*~vanna's page for new teachers~*~ I'm not sure if it will be helpful to you since you said you are currently teaching pre-k. If you click on "home" at the bottom of that page it will take you to the main part of my website where you can access lots more info for pre-k and kinder teachers. Good luck :)
     

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