Finding a balance between educational enrichment and fun for young learners is an essential balance every teacher must strike. Kindergarten is a milestone year. There will be worried parents to navigate, excited children who are not yet accustomed to a school structure, and many things to hop around that come along with young children like tantrums and nap time. It is important that this year goes well for them to properly engage with their educational journey. Young learners respond better to play focussed structures and this will therefore have a pivotal role in any kindergarten classroom. This post has some methods for finding a balance between fun and learning in this setting.
Core Skills Are There to Navigate
There has to be some structure to the day otherwise it will all fall apart. Young children may be used to a care setting prior to this, but it will mainly be all new to them and their development. To help them adjust, you can introduce core skills in a light way and keep things focussed on fun. There are lots of interesting learning methods to draw from and that will be the best way to connect with the kids. There are plenty of keywordwriting activities for kindergarten to browse through and take inspiration from for the daily agenda and to meet learning objectives for every child.
The majority of young children in a kindergarten classroom will be used to having stories told to them. At home, this is an essential part of attachment building with a main caregiver. At school, it can have a different purpose. Favorite and well-known tales are a great way to connect with young children, with whom you will have to build some trust before you can influence their learning journey. They are also useful tools to build learning modules around as there are key themes you can draw upon in all the core skill areas. Art, maths, life skills and English will all be able to roll with a central story bringing a whole theme together.
Children that have books on their daily agenda are more likely to pick up core reading and writing skills. Stories spark imaginative play and allow young people to explore what creativity looks like for them. Also, lots of narratives are highly adaptable for a range of purposes.
Embrace the Mess
It would be entirely unrealistic to expect young children to sit down at a table all day. Children this age need movement and creativity to channel their energy before they grow up and develop more ways of regulating their internal systems. They are still learning how to control their emotions, and this can be a big barrier to learning for some teachers. Embracing the mess means finding acceptance in the fact that four and five year olds need to be messy at certain points in the day. They are still learning how to look after their hygiene, and they still discover new information through all their five senses.
Art will be a heavy feature in any kindergarten arena and it can be used in so many ways to create impactful learning moments. Collages teach collaboration, creativity, and how to bring images together. Painting develops a range of motor skills and dexterity is a way to channel imagination in any topic too. Sensory play and exploration are highly beneficial for many reasons. Children need this as a part of their day to develop properly.
Using the Outdoors
Every young learner’s classroom should have some outside time in their day. Whatever the weather, extreme circumstances excluded, as long as it is safe and appropriate, kids need to be outside in the fresh air. It is actually highly advantageous for their learning journeys and there are a thousand opportunities in nature for building upon ideas set out inside the classroom. Incorporate as much forest school time into the class schedule as is allowed, and really let them lead the way when you get out there. Children and nature go hand in hand, and the experience is largely there to enrich their minds and provide physical benefits as well.
Outdoor learning is a definite confidence boost for young people learning how to navigate the world more independently outside of their familiar parental unit. Building children’s self-esteem makes them better prepared for a range of social situations and helps them establish healthy friendships with their peers. It will boost their attitude to learning in a more positive framework above all else.
Balancing learning with fun is an easy task with the right attitude and know-how. Kindergartners need a good balance of structure and routine with outdoor free time and creativity.