# 65 Kindergarten

# 65 What is the purpose of Kindergarten?

It is to teach children social skills and manners. Most K students do not begin school with a desire to read. They want to play and have fun. They like music and art. They need to be taught how to approach a potential friend and ask if they could join their game. Most children don't automatically know what to say. Many are afraid. It is hard to sit in uncomfortable wooden  chairs for hours. They want a nap. They want their moms.

And yet there is the curriculum. Curriculum waits for no child. It gets in the way of stories, art and music. Children are expected to write and they can't write their name. Parents think they are being helpful by teaching their child to write in upper case letters. It takes at least a month to retrain them. Not every child is kind, and children experience some of the meanest kids they will ever know, while  teachers get to meet the parents that made them that way. Scary? You bet!

How to help? Morning circle is a good idea. The teacher presents a situation and demonstrates role playing. Children have a partner and practice that they are going to say, especially to that meany.

Young children like continuity. They want to know the steps taken today are the same steps taken yesterday.They are open to small changes that help them grow, and they like to feel comfortable with these changes. Young students are delighted by kindness, and need to be taught ways of demonstrating kindness to others. Students strive for specific acknowledgement of good works and behavior. Comments such as, "I like the way you shared your crayons with ___________. That was very kind of you." Notice goodness and watch a child glow.

Teach students appropriate ways of getting attention. Laughing at another student is never appropriate, either is teasing. Teach students to ignore  negative behavior of their classmates, as this only encourages more poor behavior. It is never too early to teach the golden rule, to treat others as they would like to be treated. In the morning pass out a paper titled _____________ shows good character by _________, and include a drawing. When complete the student puts the paper on the bulletin board. Happy students are the best students!