Should a K room look more like a preschool room or a 1st grade room?

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by DrivingPigeon, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Dec 9, 2008

    So, as some of you may know from my past posts, I've been struggling a little recently with how to run and organize my classroom. In the beginning of the year I had rest time, 45 minutes of free choice, and my room had a block area, a housekeeping area, a table top toy area, etc. I based it on what I saw the other K teachers at my school doing, and what I learned in my pre-k student teaching.

    The district is trying to increase the expectations placed on kindergarteners, and most of the teachers are against the changes, because they feel like kindergarten is moving away from being developmentally appropriate. Most of the K teachers have been teaching at least 5 years, so there aren't many newbies like myself.

    Meanwhile, all of us new teachers are kind of torn. Honestly, the kindergarten I see in my district isn't the kindergarten that I saw in the district where I did my clinical and student teaching. In that district, the classrooms looked more like a first-grade classroom than a preschool classroom.

    I don't know if the teachers in my district are behind or right. Should a kindergarten room look more like a preschool classroom, with designated play areas (housekeeping, blocks, etc.) and rest time? Or should a kindergarten classroom look more like a first-grade classroom, with the library categorized by book bins (which K teachers don't do in my district), no rest time, and a smaller number of "toys" for free choice (by this I mean less dolls and toy food, and more Knex, board games, etc.).

    My classroom isn't really big enough to have both. In the beginning of the year about 1/3 of my small classroom was toys. Now, it's about 1/4 of the room. Over Christmas break I was planning on making my classroom library larger, by categorizing my books. This is going to take up a lot of room, however, so my play areas are probably going to go down even more in size. I just hope that I'm making the right decision. What do you guys think?
     
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  3. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Dec 9, 2008

    I think it should be what makes you comfortable. Close your door and do what you want.
     
  4. wikteacher

    wikteacher Rookie

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    Dec 9, 2008

    When I was in K, I tried to shoot for a balance, I guess.

    I didn't have rest time the last 2 years I taught K, mostly because my kids didn't seem to need it.

    I made sure they had between 30-45 minutes per day of free choice during which they had choices like blocks, marbleworks, train set, k'nex, art center, math center, dramatic play, etc. Most of these choices were contained in plastic bins that could be stored away neatly ( I can't STAND a cluttered-feeling room!) and pulled out at choice time and used in various parts of the room. This was also the time when I would pull small groups or individual kids to work on areas that they were having difficulty.

    My library was organized in bins and I started teaching reading groups by January at the latest, depending on the kids.

    As far as my room decor, I don't have a lot of "cutesy" posters, decorations, etc. Most of the things on my wall are there for a purpose - # charts that the kids have created and use, Jolly phonics wall frieze that they refer to daily, guidelines for independent reading and groupwork, word family charts that we have introduced as a class, daily schedules for the kids to refer to, etc.

    Overall, I guess my room looked more like a 1st, but had some distinctly K features. So, clear as mud, right? :) Hope it helped a bit, but ultimately you need to do what feels right to you and what is best for your group of kiddos.
     
  5. firstgurl85

    firstgurl85 Companion

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    Dec 9, 2008

    I came down from 1st so my room is more like that. I have added more kinder aspects though. I have color crayons on my wall but they have color words to go with them, we have a word wall for the words we learn to read, and the library is organized by categories (books about animals, about kids, famous characters, non-fiction, easy readers, favorite authors, etc.) Also our toys are a bit more mature i guess you could say. We have blocks, legos, puzzles, linking cubes, pattern blocks, counting bears, some stuffed animals, etc.
    So pretty much it is an in between, not to young but not over their heads either.
     
  6. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Dec 9, 2008


    I think that's exactly what my room is going to look like when I'm done. I think my kids will be ok with it, too. I took out some of the housekeeping furniture about a month ago and just yesterday someone finally asked, "Where is the sink?" :lol: So, I don't think they would miss half of the stuff!

    P.S. I think we have the same crayons-your's sound just like mine.
     
  7. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    Dec 9, 2008

    I agree with wikteacher, our kindergartens have some free choice time, not as much as I would prefer, but they have it none the less. We have a small kitchen area and a reading area with picture books. The students also have baskets on their tables with books at their level. Free choice materials are in rubbermade tubs that stack nicely on a shelf. We have legos, blocks, k*nex, etc. I would suggest doing that with your free choice centers.
     
  8. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Dec 9, 2008

    I think it also depends on your kids. Do they need more time developing social skills (that's what I really feel like dramatic play areas are targeting) or are they ready to move on. I know that the requirements for my kids in 1st Grade will be higher than they probably have been in the past. I feel a huge responsibility in trying to prepare them as much as possible. Personally, my room is more like 1st Grade, but if I had kids that were immature and needed to work on things like social skills, then that is what I'd concentrate on in the room .
     
  9. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Dec 10, 2008

    IT should reflect a bit of both BUT A LOT OF K STUFF. The Pre-K stuff will help them reflect & make a connection to K & the 1st Grade stuff will make them get a bit of taste of their next MOVE! I didn't read any of the previous posts, 'cause I have to get ready for work, SO I don't know if anyone else said the same stuff. :D
    Good luck with whatever you decide to do & remember...
    CHILDREN ARE MIRACLES THAT CAN TAKE OUR BREATH AWAY!
    Rebel1
     
  10. Mrs.Z.

    Mrs.Z. Companion

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    Dec 20, 2008

    First ask yourself, who am I decorating this room for?

    Is it for the enrichment of the students? Cover the room with work and print at their eye level. Any chart we make, I staple to the wall in what I call a wall book. I only staple it on the top, so the kids can go back through and find info, like lists of color words, KWL charts, word family lists...

    Is it to meet an expectation your district/principal has? Make sure you have any required to be posted materials at their eye level (so they can see it through the window, without having to come in and ask...Where ar your sound-spelling cards?

    Is it to meet the expecations of parents who like to brag about you? Artwork, artwork, writing, writing!!!

    Good Luck!
     
  11. kteachone

    kteachone Companion

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    Jan 17, 2009

    I work in a poor school, and our P says we don't have time to play. When I did my student teaching, the teacher had a kitchen, etc, but that was a more affluent neighborhood. We don't have free choice time or nap time, and we're only allowed 15 minutes of outside time.
     

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