Today I had my final observation and evaluation. With only four days left of the school year for my Young Fives, I am very relieved to able to check that off my list. One of the questions my principal posed to me as part of the post observation reflection was, “What have been your greatest successes this year?” I now realize that my biggest challenges this year are now my biggest successes. I have a few kiddos who were on positive behavior plans for a good part of the year. They have each been able to consistently meet their behavior targets and graduated from the plans. Each time, I celebrated with them. I am so proud of their successes!
I have worked very hard to create a positive environment in which the kids feel they have control and responsibility. They know our promises and they know how to solve problems with their words. They also know that they have the freedom to make mistakes. When a child says they made a mistake I will say, “Is it okay to make mistakes in Young Fives?” and they will echo “Yes, it’s how we learn!” I want them to know they can take risks and make mistakes.
Listening and following directions has been a real challenge this year and I think they have made a lot of progress. I use songs for this. I have also been doing a “craft activity” to give them practice for following directions. I go over the steps – draw pictures, they volunteer to restate the steps, and then they have a visual to refer to.
At the beginning of the year I met with the three Kindergarten teachers and they gave me a list of the things they most want for incoming Kindergartners:
- Follow 2 step directions
- Taking turns & raising hand to talk
- Fine motor skills such as cutting, tracing, and coloring in the lines.
I have put my focus on these things as well as Establishing classroom rules, routines, and procedures and involving students in designing routines and using classroom meetings to review rules and procedures and solve problems. I feel that this has been very successful! My little classroom has become such a positive, strong community. I hate to let them go on to Kindergarten but they are ready!