This is the letter I would like to send to the next teacher of each of my students.
Dear Kindergarten Teacher,
In a couple of months you will be getting the students that I, as a preschool teacher, have listened to, played with, marveled at, nurtured, supported, guided and loved for the past nine months. They are excited about school and learning. They think it is a magical place where their ideas are heard, their strengths are valued, their abilities are accepted and play IS their work. They know they are writers, readers, scientists, mathematicians, artists, builders, actors, friends and problem solvers. They believe that their questions are important and that when they have one, they should seek an answer by investigating, experimenting, repeating, reading, observing, looking on line and talking to experts.
They know reading is enjoyable and brings pleasure as well as information. They know that when you want to pass along information to someone you write. They know how to tell a story and are learning to tell these stories with their pictures and their writing. They understand that math is important because it allows us to do things such as have enough snack for everyone, make sure there is a place for each friend or decide on a choice.
They know this because we have been writing letters to each other and visitors, we’ve made lists when we’ve needed items, made save signs when we didn’t want a building knocked down, we’ve graphed our choices every day, we’ve read a morning message and used its information to guide our day, we’ve counted our napkins, our food and our friends. We’ve done real problem solving each and every day.
Through our play, these children have increased their vocabularies and language skills reenacting places we have visited or have read about in books. They have used materials, lots of materials, in creative and innovative ways. They have learned about pattern, shape, color, symmetry, shading, texture and so much more by touching, taping, gluing, painting, sculpting, mixing, rolling and cutting. They have learned about balance, volume, area, measurement and cause and effect by building, pouring, sifting, and digging.
They know the joy of singing and creating music and moving their bodies. They know that moving often makes them feel good and allows them to focus on their surroundings. These children love to be outside. They know that there is so much to discover about the way the world works by looking at nature, and moving water, and mixing mud and running. They know that they do not melt in rain, and do not get sick by playing in the snow.
They are coming to you knowing so much.
I understand that your job is difficult. I taught kindergarten myself for nine years. The age range is enormous, the abilities vary widely, the previous experiences of your students will differ greatly and the academic pressures are incredible.
Despite these issues, I implore you to please remember that PLAY should still be the work of these children when they come to you. Fight to keep your centers, engage them in real experiences, let them touch, take apart, build, express themselves artistically and read and write for meaning. Get them outside every day. Keep their days joyful. They are ready to be life-long learners. It is now in your hands to keep them this way.
Your Students' Preschool Teacher