"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Look at Kindergarten

To do something right, seeing it done correctly greatly helps. When what is shown seems extraordinary, an excuse can be a refuge. There are no resources. This is too expensive. This is way above what can be provided. In reality, these are really just excuses. Kindergarten can work with dedication, a true commitment to early childhood education. If every action comes with seriousness and purpose, objectives can be achieved. These do not require complicated educational policies. It only takes a teacher who places each student at the center of learning, mindful of every opportunity to teach.

Hawthorne Elementary School in Tulsa, Oklahoma has that kind of teacher in Rosemary Kungu.

Teacher Rosemary Kungu
Photo is from a screen capture of a video on the Teaching Channel
She is originally from Kenya. She taught for nine years in Nairobi, handling kindergarten and the early elementary grades. Before joining Hawthorne, Rosemary finished a masters degree in Early Childhood Education from Emporia State University in Kansas. She writes the following on her short bio sketch:
Teaching and learning are wonderful experiences that impact the lives of children, families and others. I do appreciate the uniqueness of each child, parents, families, colleagues, and community as a whole. I strive to understand and acknowledge strengths, needs, culture, and diversity of individuals by partnering to build a positive, safe, trusting, respectful, caring, loving and nurturing environment for all.
Seeing her inside a classroom actively engaging each student demonstrates that she lives by what she wrote. She encourages each student. Even in a mathematics lesson, she is quick to praise a student who answers in complete sentences. Kindergarten is indeed a huge transition for a child. Casual conversations outside school or even in some popular media take for granted the importance of communicating in complete sentences. Her style of managing the class (in this particular case, 18 young children) allows for various learning activities. A simple lesson on counting takes multiple dimensions in her classroom. Children are introduced to auditory, kinesthetic, spatial, collaboration, visual and musical skills. Hence, various learning styles are explored. Throughout the entire lesson, there is plenty of encouragement and yes, also discipline. Even the "silent clap" is innovative and the children do keep their spots on the rug with very little effort from the teacher. This is truly an engaging classroom. It is great that it is shared on the internet by the Teaching Channel.


Seeing the above video, it may be difficult to imagine that this school is in Oklahoma. But it is. And every school anywhere in the world can follow this example. All it takes is a true commitment to early childhood education. The Philippines can learn a lot from this classroom. The Philippines can learn a lot from this teacher. The Philippines simply must begin listening to the teachers:









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