A day in the life of a Goodstart kindergarten teacher
Unless you’re a budding four- or five-year-old kindergarten student, you can be forgiven for not knowing the ‘ins and outs’ of a typical day within the classroom.
Yet, it’s a crucial year where children are equipped with essential skills needed to transition smoothly to school and continue their learning for the next 13 years.
As a parent if you’ve found yourself asking, “What did you do at kindy today?” and met with the same response: “We played!” then step inside a Goodstart kindergarten classroom and experience a typical day for yourself.
Goodstart Capalaba teacher Leanne McDonnell opened her centre doors to communication specialist Sharon Hosking for the day.
Children help Miss Leanne scour the outdoor playspace for hazards such as toys posing a tripping hazard. Children enjoy this time as it gives them a sense of purpose and achievement as they actively take part in protecting the safety of staff and children while learning about cause and effect.
While pacing the playground, Miss Leanne asks children about their interests for the day ahead. She incorporates these into her planning.
Outdoor learning experiences are in abundance (ahead of the formal kindy program officially kicking off at 9am). Children join various workshops or enjoy playing with their friends in various play spaces.
Today’s main outdoor activity is threading. With a big rug and a basket full of string, dried pasta and coloured cardboard shapes, children across all age groups come and go as they enjoy making necklaces (many declare they will be given to their mums).
Miss Leanne explains that threading helps her understand each child’s fine motor skills. For many of them, it is a testing learning experience. Some ask for help; others look in need of some help but persevere. Each child is provided positive encourage, support and guidance.
A child runs up to Miss Leanne and declares: “The golden treasure is locked!” Her response: “What do you need to unlock it?” He stops and thinks, before yelling: “Keys!” and runs off to return to his imaginary treasure.
The magic of this interaction is Miss Leanne’s ability to extend his thinking and support him to continue enjoying his imaginary play scenario. She explains that imaginary play expresses a child’s development and contributes to their early literacy, confidence and creativity.
Morning tea time. Miss Leanne explains that pre-kindy and kindergarten children co-mingle to create a sense of community. Creating a sense of belonging and connectedness among children helps them build their verbal and social skills. Children are encouraged to listen to others, turn turns and pose questions to each other.
Time to line up to enter the kindergarten classroom.
All children come in and sit on the mat. Miss Leanne welcomes the class and she invites children to say hello and good morning in their Indigenous language in the local community “Yura”. A roll call is taken and all children are welcomed.
This morning the class reads Waddle Giggle Gargle
by Pamela Allen. Questions are posed to children and they all get a turn to share their thoughts. Miss Leanne outlines it is respectful to listen to others – helping to reinforce good social skills among the class.
Literacy session and inside activities start with five tables set up to promote all area’s of their development. The children choose what activity they’d like to participate in. Every activity has a purpose. Between Miss Leanne and Miss Emma they get around the class to interact with every child.
Miss Leanne runs a sink or float activity table. Each child takes a turn to guess if an item will either sink or float. Objects are placed into the bowl of water and their guess is put to the test. They then mark up their sheets and count how many items floated and how many sunk.
A brief break from activities while children listen to Miss Emma and Miss Leanne about what they did over the weekend with Ellie the Elephant and Puff the Dragon – from looking at the clouds, going for a walk in the backyard to reading a book. These toys will now be taken home each each weekend by children. They will then present back to the class about what they got up to – a fun activity to build their verbal skills and confidence.
Time to feed Sapphire (the class pet blue tongue lizard). Miss Leanne instructs children who are helping this morning’s feed to wash their hands before and after touching Sapphire.
Sharing. When two children aren’t playing well together Miss Emma chats to the children about the importance of sharing.
Children gather by the front door and Miss Leanne runs through the class’s sign-in and sign-out sheets. They have been created for children to recognise and practice writing their names which have been lightly stencilled. Important skills ahead of school. She identifies children who have signed-in or have forgotten and positively encourages them to sign-out this afternoon with the help of their parents.
Lunch time. Chicken pasta is on the menu today. Their teachers talk to children about what they liked best about the day so far. Each child is given an opportunity to share their thoughts.
All children listen to a story. They are told to use their imagination as the audio story is played. Miss Leanne explains to children why rest is so important. She encourages children to stop and reflect on the day.
Miss Leanne reviews her programming and writes up reflections on every child and how she can help continue their learning and development. One child for example has communicated their interest and desire to build an Eiffel tower but does not know what it looks like or what’s involved in constructing one. She points out images in the classroom that she has printed of the Eiffel tower and other structures. She is working out ways to build his understanding around the practicalities of building this type of super structure.
There are many children sleeping, but many are stirring and offered the opportunity to collect a puzzle and complete it on their beds. It promotes independence.
Children pack up their beds and get ready for more activities.
Tennis time for two children selected from class to play today.
Musical movement time. Miss Leanne has a selection of instruments for children and they learn about rhythm and tempo. There are a range of benefits for children’s learning and development when it comes to music – from releasing energy, expressing their creativity to learning new words and ideas.
Children head outdoors to enjoy afternoon tea.
Miss Leanne re-commences her programming and observations for children and plans for tomorrow.
Outdoor play commences and continues until children are collected.
Room is set-up for tomorrow. If something is not working, they will change it. Miss Leanne talks to Miss Emma about how everyone has gone today in the class. It’s a good opportunity to de-brief and discuss tomorrow’s plan.
Parents are starting to arrive. Miss Emma talks to some of the mums about how the day has gone and their children’s participation and learning in class today.
Centre closes. Another great day for children at Goodstart Capalaba – Greenup Street.
Miss Leanne is responsible for the education of up to 22 four-year-olds, supported by Miss Emma who holds a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and is currently studying towards her Diploma.
Learn more about Goodstart’s kindergarten program here