The Kindergarten

[Introduction to the British Columbia Kindergarten Curriculum Guide, 1954]

The Kindergarten is organized to promote the full development of the child through his natural activities. The Kindergarten gives the child the opportunity of working, playing and living with children of his own age.

The purpose of the Kindergarten year is to ensure the maximum growth of each child, physically, socially, emotionally, as and individual and as a member of the group.

The Kindergarten is planned

The Child at Kindergarten Level

The child at Kindergarten level is physically and mentally active. He is eager to reach out for new experiences, sampling them but not delving too deeply, because his interest span is relatively short. In an atmosphere of freedom and sympathetic understanding he learns to react naturally, to share experiences in an interesting manner, and to co-operate wholeheartedly in group enterprises, with emphasis on thoughtful consideration of the rights and priviledges of others. He begins to assume his share of responsibility for common possessions and room neatness and order; to respond to group opinions, suggestions and evaluations; and to grow in self-reliance, independence, and creative expression.

The Kindergarten builds upon the child's individual potentialities, abilities, and needs, and prepares him for learning in the ensuing years of his school life.

Kindergarten experience inspires investigation, exploration, manipulation and expression in the fields of social living, language, arts, music, nature, dramatic and creative expression. As an outgrowth of these abundant, wholesome, and fruitful experiences, readiness for reading and other specialized learnings is developed in the child.

Individual differences in ability and in experience mean that every child in school must be considered as a real person, not simply as a sample which is typical of all children. Early recognition of individual differences in ability or capacity along special lines may greatly enhance the child's chances of success.

The health of the child in the Kindergarten receives careful attention. The importance of a well-nourished active body is recognized.

The Kindergarten promotes health by building social health habits. It develops:

To attain desirable goals of growth, the Kindergarten:-

The Kindergarten Teacher

In a good Kindergarten there will be a friendly comradeship between the teacher and the child. The teacher will speak in clear, quiet tones. Her poise and confidence will give assurance to the child.

It will be obvious that the teacher is aware of the abilities and needs of each individual, acquired through her observation of the child, her study of his developmental history, and her acquaintance with his home and parents. Freedom, spontaneity, and naturalness are never sacrificed for perfection of technique.

Teacher guidance needs to be simple, not dominating but assuring. Every child is a separate entity and has a different set of potentialities. With proper care in his development, each child may build his own place in the community of tomorrow.

The teacher should evaluate continually for effectiveness of her teaching. She should encourage experiences which will bring satisfying results for her particular group. She controls the situation, not by direction but by suggestion, so that which should happen, is likely to happen, and that which should not, will probably be avoided.

She should be positive rather than negative in her approaches with children. The teacher's friendly manner, her sympathy and courtesy, her willingness to listen to and answer questions and to help and protect him in times of difficulty demonstrate to the child the teacher's interest in him as well as encourage his confidence in her.

If Kindergarten guidance is to be effective the child should comprehend and should have confidence in the teacher's role in making requests or offering suggestions. By the manner in which she asks for co-operation or states a request, the teacher makes clear to the child whether she expects compliance or whether he may make some choice; in other words, she indicates whether she is requesting or suggesting.

The teacher always tries to be as reasonable as possible with her requests. She is considerate of the child's activity, she avoids interrupting him when he is busy, and frequently she gives him warning in advance of the necessity for interrupting his activities. If she does have to break into an activity abruptly, she says that she is sorry to have had to interrupt and explains why it is necessary.

The teacher is careful to be consistent. If she explains and reasons accurately, consistency will follow. While the teacher's chief function is to guide the children, this very guidance is directed towards making the children independent of her. The objective is to develop self-reliance in routines, in finding one's own activities, in managing social affairs, in solving problems, and in independence of more than average attention and approval.

The teacher is ready to suggest an activity, to provide new incentives, and to further the development of initiative, but she avoids telling the child what to do and how to do it. Much of her direction is subtle and indirect.

The teacher is ready to suggest an effective sense of humour. She needs to give a light turn to certain situations and to enjoy laughing. In many difficult situations, it is helpful to appreciate the humourous aspect: it often prevents an exaggerated emotional reaction to trifling mishaps and smoothes the process of adjustment to the environment.

By encouraging self-reliance and habits of constructive thinking the teacher helps the child to solve his own problems. She encourages him to investigate, to seek for causes, and to try different methods of working out the problem. She may give him hints of suggestions, but she provides the child with just enough help to work out the problem by himself.

The cultural background, the professional growth, the personal appearance, the physical and mental health of the Kindergarten teacher are all important factors in the success of her work with the young children in her Kindergarten group.

The goal of a Kindergarten teacher has been effectively stated in Education in the Kindergarten, by Foster and Headly

If on any day a teacher can say she has been a true friend, able to strike a fitting balance between authority and freedom, a wise leader, a thought-provoking guide, a just critic, a wise counselor, a co-operative aid, and enthusiastic participant, a source of sound information, an example of propriety, an orderly and thrifty housekeeper, and a patient and efficient executive, then on that day she has functioned as an ideal Kindergarten teacher.

Source: British Columbia. Department of Education. Programme of Studies for the Elementary Schools of British Columbia, 1954.

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