I really love working at OLOM. My Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are very stressful, as most of my classes fall on those days. Therefore, the hour and a half I spend tutoring is the most relaxing part of my day, not to mention a lot of fun! My classroom is rather unruly, as all kindergarten classrooms are, but the enormous potential that every one of my students has is indisputable, and I really enjoy watching them learn more about the world around them every day. I am accustomed to tutoring kids who had already learned to read and write, so I did not know what to expect from working with very young students just beginning their formal education. The experience of working in a kindergarten classroom is still very new, but very exciting as well. My class spends much of their time playing at different centers, and my teacher gave us a packet of tips to integrate literacy in each center. This ranges from reading out loud to them, asking the kids leading questions about their family, friends, interests, etc to letting them reiterate or act out the book from storytime. I love hearing the kids put their own spin on classic stories such as the Three Little Pigs and the Three Billy Goats Gruff.
My biggest challenge is learning to find a balance between helping kids with literacy and simply playing with them. My teacher usually has activities planned for each station, such as beading or measuring objects with a tape measure. The kids, however, most often prefer to take out other toys and simply play; I sometimes don’t want to object because, well, it’s fun! It is difficult for me to separate learning and play, especially when working with an age group where much of learning comes from play. I suppose this skill will come with more experience, knowledge, and communication with my and other teachers about how a kindergartener learns best.