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INQUIRY PAPER ASSIGNMENT TWO 1

INQUIRY PAPER ASSIGNMENT TWO:

Quality Early Childhood Programs for Kindergarten Primary

Lauren Burgess

University of South Carolina

Introduction

During service learning two, there were many different concepts and aspect I observed at

my teacher-selected school. During my seven hours, I observed five year olds as well as their

teachers, environment, curriculum, relationships with each other, staff support, administration,

parental involvement, health and safety, and nutrition and food services. This specific classroom

is very well maintained with teachers and supplies that fit the needs of kindergarten children,

ages five to six.

Interaction Between Teachers and Children

There is almost constant interaction between teacher and student in this kindergarten

class. This constant exchange between student and teacher is due to their age because being

between the ages five and six, children need attention and guidance. Even after an assignment

was given, the teacher, assistant, and student teacher were constantly walking around helping

students with questions and checking their work before they could proceed to the next activity or

assignment. When a student had a question, the teacher recognized the zone of proximal

development, and she would then scaffold the student into reaching the answer. For example, the

students were working on a writing piece using words they had been working on and sentence

structure. One child came to the teacher assuming her work was done and asked for it to be

checked. So of course the teacher looks over the students sentences, and she recognized that

some punctuation was missing. Instead of telling the student she needed to use a period before
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continuing her next sentence, she asked her Well what do you think is missing? The student

looked over her work confused as to what she was missing. The teacher read over the work

quickly emphasizing that there were no breaks between sentences and soon the child understood

what she was missing. After correcting her work, the child did not receive a check, for checks

mean they got the answer with no assistance, but she did get to move onto the next activity while

the class continued to finish up their work as well. Each student received equal attention and

interaction when it came to lessons and personal needs in the classroom.

Curriculum

Developmentally appropriate practice is very prominent in this classroom. The four

developmentally appropriate practices for kindergarten are: make learning meaningful to

children and relate to what they know, individualize your curriculum as much as possible, make

learning physically and mentally active, and provide for hands-on activities with concrete objects

and manipulatives (Morrison, 2014, p.283). To start off, the teacher made curriculum meaningful

by relating it to students. During their writing assignments they were asked to write about

something they liked to do. It was an easy way to get children excited to write about something

important to them, as well as allowing the teacher to assess their writing skills. This activity also

made curriculum individualized because each child was writing about themselves. All children

do not learn the same way, and therefore are not interested in learning what everyone else is

interested in (Morrison, 2014, p. 283). In the childrens technology class, they were physically

and mentally active when the teacher played a song about the letter they were learning, E. When

the song played, the children sang along learning the different sounds E makes as well as doing

movements to help remember when and how to use E when its placed with other letters. After

learning as a group about E, they were then sent to the own computer where they had the hands
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on ability to manipulate the letter E, and play games that help them use it properly. Phonics were

very important in this classs curriculum. A lot of classroom time was spent on literacy and

reading because early childhood professionals are placing a high priority on childrens literacy

and reading success (Morrison, 2014, p. 283). Though literacy is believed to be a natural process,

curriculum is very important when shaping students literacy abilities (Morrison, 2014, p.284).

Relationships Among Teachers and Families

While observing one day, I noticed another adult was present in the room. She sat quietly

off to the side not interacting with the children at all. As time progressed, one student came up to

the woman showing him her work and she kissed him on the forehead. I gathered that the woman

was related to the child, and when she left my teacher referred to her as the childs grandmother.

She then proceeded to tell me she has an open door policy with the childrens families, and that

she allows them to come observe, visit, and listen in on their day as long as she is contacted

before. We continued to talk and she then told me that the child had previously been misbehaving

so grandma came to watch, which my teacher said was completely fine. It is evident to me that

the teacher and families have a very open and communicative relationship between each other.

The teacher is very open with parents when problems or progress are happening in her

classroom. She also sends home homework that requires parent participation so that she can

actively keep parents up to date on the childs work.

Staff Qualifications

According to the school website, all the primary teachers graduated from college with a

Bachelors degree or more specifying in childhood education. In the classroom I observed, my

teacher graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelors degree in Early
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Childhood education. She is in her seventh year of teaching, six of which have been spent

teaching kindergarten. Her history completely qualifies her to be a kindergarten teacher.

Administration and Staffing

The staff worked very well together from the experiences I had with them. The front

office staff are very friendly and helpful every time I walked into the building. They were also

very secure, making sure I had the proper qualifications to be there i.e. TB test, my Carolina

Card, and a background check. As I walked around with the students, other teachers were very

open to me being there, and they were very helpful as well. The staff are very familiar with each

other, and they openly came into each others rooms offering help or answering questions. The

assistants were very willing to help and provide for the main teacher by running to the office or

taking care of a child who needed extra assistance. Other staff members, like custodians, are

always about in the hallways cleaning as they go and cleaning the bathrooms. The staff seemed

to always be on task and very diligent.

Physical Environment

The room is filled with numbers, letters, words, and artwork. It had phonemes posted all

over the room so that children could refer back to them. The classroom also was displayed with

guidelines to behavior arranging physical settings to a supportive classroom (Morrison, 2014, p.

377). The teacher provided conditions to which the children should abide by, and she posted a

behavioral chart on the wall with childrens names. Every time a child displayed good behavior,

their name would move upward on the chart, and when the child misbehaved, their name would

move downward. The environment also promoted multicultural awareness with multicultural

literature, themes of the week (that particular week it was military families), and personal

accomplishments of the culture or people they were studying (Morrison, 2014, p. 358).
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Health and Safety

Health and safety should be emphasized in all schools, and this particular school did a

very good job. Custodial staff were often present, cleaning the hallways, bathrooms, and

classrooms. My particular teacher had a bathroom in her classroom, and on the walls around the

bathroom there were signs posted like STOP. Did you wash your hands? She was also very

diligent in asking children if they washed their hands whenever they left the bathroom. Safety is

also ensured throughout the building. When I first visited, I entered through the main doors

where a sign was posted saying All visitor must come through the front office. As I went

through the office, the staff were very thorough in asking me questions like Where are you

coming from, Who is your teacher, and Where is your Carolina ID? They took all

precautions to make sure I belonged there, as well as having a sign in book to keep track of

guests. The staff also did a great job providing supervision at all times to students (Morrison,

2014, p. 116).

Nutrition and Food

Though I was not present during lunch time, I did observe snack. According to Morrison

on page ninety-six and ninety-seven, children need life essentials: food, air, and water. Snack

time aloud for children to have access to these essentials because when they are not fed, they

preform poorly in the classroom (Morrison, 2014, p. 97). The teachers prepared snack in paper

cups filled with trail-mix. They also take the precaution to make sure a particular food is not

served if a child has an allergy. Along with the trail-mix, the teachers gave each child a cup of

water and a napkin. Depending on the amount of food that was left over, sometimes children

were aloud seconds. The trail-mix is a very healthy and sweet alternative to fatty snacks like

packaged brownies or chips.


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Conclusion

Overall this school seems very successful. They have happy students, parents, and staff

that all work to excel together. The students are learning and growing day by day slowly

preparing for first grade. Students are involved, and they are excited to learn every day while

their teacher is enthused to be there. For a public school, this school seems to be among the best

in the Lexington School District.


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Works Cited

Morrison, G. (2014). Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River,

New Jersey: Pearson Education.