Saturday, January 21, 2012

Transitional Kindergarten

Last Thursday I went to observe a Transitional Kindergarten model about on hour from my school. This district was selected to pilot the program and has done a great job of promoting it. They received a grant from Packard to fund it. I arrived with several other teachers from a district near mine and we were led through a formal meeting and observation complete with handouts and a question - answer session. I was mainly interested in comparing the TK classroom with the regular Kindergarten next door. The TK I observed had 18 nicely behaved students. I noticed there were wayyyyy more boys than girls. The teacher had come out of retirement to head up this class. What an angel. No doubt she was excited about teaching Kindergarten in a way she was most familiar with - developmentally!

Here are some highlights of the room:

This simple reading corner did not see any action during my visit. They had some wireless headsets for listening. Jealous.

Here's the daily schedule. I like how she has used actual pictures of the class for each section of the day. Lots of visuals in this room.

Super simple word wall with just pictures of the kids holding their own names. Notice: no words! The teacher did do some shared writing while I was there and the focus was mainly on beginning sounds. She also did Dr. Jean's "Who Let the Letters Out?" and it reminded me to do it with my class the next day... they loved it.

Building Center with lots of blocks etc. I've got these in my room too (though not so nicely labeled) It seems this teacher had to post expectations and explanations next to everything. That must have been exhausting! And frustrating when you would have rather been doing other more creative things.

I played this game with a couple of the kids. They were so sweet and friendly. Several of them had chosen this activity for Centers which were very loose; I didn't see any formal kind of chart, they just knew what their choices were and wandered over to where they wanted to be in pairs. Computers were the most popular of course.

I liked this My Family project that was hanging over the Dramatic Play area. Under the faces there were actual pictures of each family, so cute and I'm sure made these little students feel at home.

Sand and water play! Out of this picture to the left were troughs for water and eye droppers, funnels etc. Enough to give my Big Boss a heart attack right here.

Elaborate hands - on Science table! I wish.

Books, all nicely organized by theme. Far out of reach of the children I noticed.

Well that wraps up the Open House. Tomorrow I'll show you a little of the regular Kindergarten room and do a little compare / contrast.

Does the Transitional Kindergarten look anything like your room? What do you see the same / different?


  1. Definitely more play oriented. I have Free Choice Time a few days a week (sometimes only 2 days sadly) We have a playhouse, art center, writing center and blocks, Legos etc...These are supplemental to the regular progarm, but definitely the students favorite! A lot of learning and social interaction will happen when the classroom is set-up for play. I am just jealous of the longer day. That is a very long time for Transitional Kindergartners! I only have 1/2 for my Regular Kindergarten!

  2. Kat, Thank you for sharing! This room is very different than mine because I have a K/1 that looks almost exactly like a first grade class because I have more first graders. I look forward to having a straight kinder or TK next year so that I can move toward the type of class you observed. I am stunned by the long day. They actually go longet than my first graders. However, if I am reading the schedule correctly, they spend about 80 minutes of the day at recess. That is a lot of time, but with these four year olds it would be needed! I look forward to hearing about the visit to the kinder class AND reading your thoughts on all of this! Thank you for sharing!
    An Open Door

  3. Kat,
    I will be going to observe the TK in Gilroy on Monday. I came back to reread this blog post to get me ready for the observation. Many thanks for posting!
    P.S. I think my asst. sup. was there with you on your visit. Small world!