Questions For A Kindergarten Teacher

Kindergarten parents and future parents of Kindergartners are full of questions about Kindergarten.  Often times they think that there question is so trivial that they don’t ask it and then continue to wonder about it.  Kindergarten teachers want to make this year a very memorable year for both your child AND you.  So if you are a parent of a Kindergartner or of a preschooler soon to be a Kindergartner and you have any questions about how we do things in Kindergarten, or why we don’t do things in Kindergarten, here is your chance to ask me.  Please leave me a comment with any question that has been on your mind and I will try my best to answer it in a future blog.  (If you would also please mention where you are in the world that would be wonderful.)  Looking forward to answering many unanswered questions!

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9 Comments

Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents

9 responses to “Questions For A Kindergarten Teacher

  1. Lynn

    Hello! I was wondering what the purpose of the “Red light, yellow light, green light” approach to discipline in the Kindy classroom? Both of my boys have had different Kindy teachers and both have used this technique. Can you tell me more about this technique?
    Thank you so much…I read every day in Michigan 🙂
    Lynn

  2. kindergartenteacherclaire

    Hello Lynn
    Thanks for writing and asking the question about the behavior system using the red light, yellow light, green light. The system begins with all children beginning the day with a GREEN behavior card. When there is a behavior problem with your child, the teacher tells him/her to turn his card to YELLOW. Being on a yellow card is supposed to act as a visual reminder that things are not well with their behavior and they should work to fix it. If there is another behavioral issue your child turns his/her card to RED and there is either a note or phone call home and or a trip to the principal. I DO NOT like or approve of this system and here is why. The good kids, never get off of Green (this is good!) the kids who struggle with their behavior get to yellow pretty early in the day, and the kids who have lots of behavior issues get to red within 5 minutes of being in school !! Really! Now what does the teacher do the next time this child acts out? The children who frequently misbehave know that once they are at red, they can keep misbehaving and what else can happen? There are no more colors left. I prefer dealing with a misbehaving child immediately, discussing the consequences of their choices (i.e., going to the time out table) and then moving on. I have much success with misbehaving children in my class and usually by mid October I very rarely have to use the time out table any more. We have lots of fun but the children figure out early on, that they don’t like the time out table (which is located about 3 feet from where the rest of the children are). Hope this helps. I just wish more teachers would get rid of the green, yellow and red lights.
    Claire

  3. My kids kindergarten class has yellow and green and they use what they call refoucsing. They get a warning, then change card to yellow then refocus. Which consists of taking a form to another room and discussing the inappropriate behavior with another teacher then coming back to the classroom once it is filled out. I am not sure i am happy with this as it means my child is discussing what happen with someone who was not in the room when the problem occured.

    The school says it way to make sure the teacher can continue to teach and not have to take away form the other children in the classoom who are doing what they should be doing.

    My son has issues with hitting yesterday he got 3 refoucuses before lunch time. two for hitting one for eating someone elses food. I like to know how to help him with the hitting issue as refocusing at school is not working nor is us talking about how he shouldn’t do it.

    As it stands this week if he hits any more they are going to send him straight home cause if they get more then two refocuses in a week they send the kid home if they act out any more.
    jan

  4. kindergartenteacherclaire

    Hello Jan
    Thanks for taking the time to write and I will try to answer your question. I would immediately request a conference with your son’s teacher and the teacher handling the refocusing to see if you all can come up with a better form of behavior management that works for your child. Something is frustrating your son causing the anger/frustration issues which bring on the hitting. You don’t want it to continue escalating so that he is removed from school. It sounds like your son is having difficulty conforming to the rules of school so everyone needs to get to the bottom of that issue. Does he really understand the rules and consequences? Can he tell you what the rules are? Can he tell you how he can make better choices? Can he tell you what the better choices would be? Children in Kindergarten don’t fully understand the possibility of being removed from school so this consequence becomes more of a consequence for parents. Schools are concerned about the safety of all of the children and this is understandable, but you need to request a conference tomorrow, find out what the rules are, find out specifically how he is breaking the rules and find out what is discussed when he ‘refocuses’. I have NEVER heard of a classroom teacher not handling a beahvior issue in his/her own classroom, NEVER! and sending the child away solves what?. This teaches the child that his classroom teacher doesn’t really care and this causes problems as well. Hmmm, I’d be curious as to what is said after you have your meeting, and if you aren’t happy with what is said, make an appointment with the principal so that you can get ahead of this problem before it gets worse.
    GOOD LUCK
    Claire

  5. Melissa

    This blog is fantastic. I have a preschooler who will be in kindergarten in the fall and I feel like I’m walking into a big fog. Here are a couple questions I have:

    1. Is it appropriate to ask your child’s teacher for specific names of other children your child plays with or doesn’t play with at all? And how would you ask it without seeming like a helicopter parent?

    2. If your child doesn’t appear to be having any issues (i.e. no bad notes or phonecalls home), and appears to be adjusting at an appropriate rate….is it ever appropriate to ask the kindergarten teacher if you child appears to be “average” or “above average” compared to her classmates in terms of emotional, social and book-smartness?

    I’m not sure if that is asking for too much detail from the teacher? But these are things I would want to know. How have you seen these asked of you appropriately and successfully?

  6. kindergartenteacherclaire

    Hello
    Sure it is appropriate to ask a teacher who your child plays with but usually in preschool and even for most of Kindergarten the children haven’t paired themselves up to play with the same friend/s every day. They are just not developmentally ready to do this. You could get a list of the children in your child’s class and then sit with your child and read him/her the list and ask if there is 1 friend he/she would like to have over for a playdate. Sometimes children can’t even remember friends’ names, but they do want to play.
    A good teacher would never answer the question about whether your child is average, or above average, because the teacher would be answering for that day only, as the children are developing so quickly that on any given day the mix of who knows what is always changing. I would ask your child about his/her day and see what you can gather for information, but if no notes are coming home, your child is happy, talks about school and all is well, then chances are ALL IS WELL! Are you comfortable in knowing that your child is receiving emotional and academic foundations that will be needed for Kindergarten? It sounds like your child is developing and progressing as expected. Are you worried about the Kindergarten that your child will be entering next year? Do you think your child will be well prepared? Is that what you are concerned about.
    Write back if you have more questions
    Claire

    • Melissa

      Claire,
      Your response was incredibly insightful to me. Thanks!

      It’s difficult not to get on the bandwagon of monitoring your child’s every move (not sure if I’m explaining it accurately…). As I think about kindergarten next year, I’m continually ‘distracted’ by other parents’ comments on school statistics, what neighborhood is your school in, private school programs v. public school, my child is reading this v. is your child reading yet, what do I need to do to get my child in GT?, etc…(get the picture?) And when it really comes down to it, all I really want to know is that my child is doing just fine!

      I know I’ll have more questions in the coming months. Thanks again!

      • kindergartenteacherclaire

        You are right, parents really can get into a frenzy about the right school, the right friends, what to teach your child BEFORE he gets to school, being able to tell a Kindergarten teacher how much their child knows and how well prepared he/she is…etc etc. Children will learn and will develop appropriately when all of the tools that they need are in place. I have said it before and I will say it again, I can’t make a child do anything, or learn anything, I can teach and expose them to knowledge and offer the right learning environment, but until that particular child is truly ready, none of it will matter. hope to hear from you again.
        Claire

  7. I have a question about the whole 100 days thing. When did people start celebrating that? And, why? It’s not the halfway point (at least not in our area-New Hampshire). Is it just because there are a lot of lesson plans you can make around the number 100? I’m not quite getting it. And, after hearing about it for weeks now, it came and went today with barely a whimper in my daughter’s class.

    Thanks!

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