As a Pre-K Headstart teacher in West Philadelphia, all of my students come from low income families. Some have more support at home than others. Some students are read to every night and their parents hold conversations with them often. However, many of our students do not experience a story before bed each night or a shelf filled with books at home. Many do not have the opportunities to express their thoughts and ideas on a regular basis. Our program strives to provide students with many opportunities every day to express themselves, their creativity, and a love for learning.
About half of our students are English Language Learners.
We work with these students to help improve communication skills through large and small group activities, read-alouds, and center activities, including dramatic play. The goal is for all students to feel comfortable being themselves. We want everyone to feel a sense of pride in who they are and where they come from.
Every year a group of students often develops a “class personality,” shared interests that help foster a desire to learn and have fun with friends. This year my class loves puzzles! They are really good at putting together puzzles too! It’s amazing to see them try the same puzzle over and over again as they increase attention span and become more persistent. Completing puzzles is also encouraging students to help each other. On a daily basis, I observe students who see a classmate struggling with a puzzle and offering to help. So many positives are developing in the classroom as a result of this groups passion for puzzles. I am creating this project to expand our puzzle collection to further develop cooperation, persistence, and patience in our PreK classroom. I also hope to use puzzles to help reinforce letter recognition, number recognition, and sight word knowledge since they enjoy them so much.
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