As Pre-Kindergarten students, the four and five-year-old children I teach are often coming into a formal childcare setting for the first time. My classroom is within a rural Pre-K-5th grade, public elementary school. Ours is a Title I school so many of the students come from very diverse backgrounds. Being located in a high-poverty, rural community, more than half of my students come from low-income households, some are even affected by being homeless and qualify for placement into the pre-K program based on this need. In addition, many of my young students come from disadvantaged situations, so at school, they seek a safe environment where they feel valued, respected, and loved.
Not only do my students have diverse backgrounds, they also come into my class with various developmental needs, some of them being well below age expectations in one or more areas.
The activities I plan and the resources made available to the children are thoughtfully incorporated into the daily routine of the classroom to facilitate their growth and development.
Pre-Kindergarten is an environment that is meant to be full of adventure, exploration and fun! Four and five-year-old children are active, adventurous and naturally curious beings; they learn best through investigation and exploration which can best be accomplished though project-based learning. I use this teaching approach within my classroom, where the children are in charge of their own learning, guided by their interests.
The key to a project-based learning environment in Pre-K is that the students are constantly learning in a hands-on way, which is key to their success.
Project-based learning introduces and reinforces the concepts of creativity, exploration, problem-solving, and early critical thinking while building on the natural curiosity of the children, enabling them to interact, question, connect, problem-solve, communicate, reflect, on their learning. Teachers to guide students through in-depth studies of real-world topics, such as the topic of animal science which will be taught through the materials of this project.
Animal science is a topic that is always of interest to young children. Bringing in realistic materials related to various types of animals will spark the interests of the children. Sparking the interest of the children with the realistic animal photos on the set of mother and baby animal puzzles and the three floor puzzle can lead to endless opportunities of learning throughout this school year. As we begin the school year in the next couple of weeks, the materials will first allow the children to relate and find commonalities among themselves and begin investing in their learning. I look forward to watching the project develop and grow throughout the school year.
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