Teaching kindergarten is a special job. Children in kindergarten learn so much at that young age about the world around them, and a kindergarten teacher who loves their students will make a big impact on the students. Some people plan to be teachers from the beginning of their career, while others switch careers to become a teacher. Educators who did not initially train to be teachers can find alternate routes to licensure and can still make a difference in the lives of young children. Teachers who are new to teaching kindergarten will need several items in their classroom, and five essential items are listed here.
A large area rug where children gather close to the teacher is a must. Children love to sit near a teacher on a rug away from their desks as the teacher reads or teaches various concepts. Often a kindergarten class will have a daily “circle time” or “calendar time” with a familiar routine each day on this area rug.
Another essential item is a large calendar – either a pocket calendar or a whiteboard calendar. This calendar is often in the same space as the area rug. Children learn many things using a calendar about numbers, days of the week, holidays, seasons of the year, the weather, and even capital and lowercase letters. Children will learn number sequence and can work with the teacher on what number comes next or what number comes before. They learn patterns of counting as they write numbers on a calendar or place numbers in a pocket calendar each day.
Children in kindergarten should be exposed to a lot of story books and informational books, so a good bookshelf or display rack is a must. Teachers will want something low to the ground and sturdy that allows easy access for the children. A display rack that stands vertically is a great option since it takes up little space and allows the children to see the front of the books before choosing which book they want to read.
An alphabet display on the wall is also an essential part of the kindergarten classroom. Having colorful upper and lowercase letters in sequence, along with a picture that starts with that letter’s sound, is so helpful when teaching children how to recognize and write letters on their own. Having a reference on the wall will reinforce their long-term memory of letter recognition as they learn day by day.
Whiteboards and markers are also wonderful tools not only for the teacher, but also for the students. The teacher should have a large white board at the front or back of the room where it is visible to all. A kindergarten teacher should also have plenty of different colors of dry erase markers available to use as they teach, since markers tend to be misplaced or worn out. The children can each have individual white boards at their desks or seating area. These little white boards are helpful to give each student practice writing what the teacher gives as an example in the front of the class. Students can also bring their whiteboard and markers to the area rug for writing activities.