Does this seem normal for a kindergarten classroom? - FamilyEducation
Does this seem normal for a kindergarten classroom?
01/22/2008 at 14:36 PM

My daughter, who has a teaching certificate, recently took a job with a kindergarten, but it is not at all what she expected, and she is wondering if her expectations are off, or if the school is a little.. questionable.

She discovered the classroom has no visuals aides at all. The children receite the pledge to a blank wall, there are no alphabets or pictures on the wall.

She was told they do not teach a curriculm, per se, instead, they ask each child what choice they made today, write down whatever the child says, even if it is gibberish, and praise the child for telling them what their choice was.

They are forbidden to sit on the floor or the mats with the children, as they are told that appears lazy.  They are also forbidden to use time outs or "anything negative" in disciplining children.  Even when one child was biting another child, they were told, "do not put him in time out, just tell him that he needs to play here instead and redirect him to the other side of the room."

They do have some activity centers, which are play stations. They cannot, though, direct a child to any particular center, they are to let the children choose for themeslves, and if they choose a full station, then they are told to ask the student to choose something else. If the child has a fit, they are told to ask one of the other children to leave and make room for that child who is having the fit.

Is this type of thing "normal" teaching for 4 and 5 year olds now days?

In some ways it sounds like the Centre I work at which is for under 5's. The children direct their own play. This is Montessori based. Adults are just there to help the children access what they need. Our walls do have displays of work the children have made, but are all white and kept as clear as possible. Busy walls are a distraction to children. We do not use time outs or naughty chairs etc. As for the playstations, we would allow the child to choose this activity if they wished but not take a child away if another one had a fit to get it. They would be asked to find something else to do. This method works very well and our children are all very well adjusted and happy and we are a Centre of Excellence. 


I am sorry, but I don't think this fits Montessor at all.

Montessori encouraged providing a pleasant and attractive surrounding that would offer opportunities for children to learn at their own pace.  The method encourages schools to keep plants, pets, shelves of nature-items, gardens, and books in it. The idea behind the Montessori teaching method was that you provide an opportunity for a child to learn, at a natural pace, and to learn via exploration.

How does  a totally bare classroom do that?

The Montessori method also has a teacher demonstrate proper methods of use of the various activities, which is specifically designed to teach a certain skill or knowledge.  This is not happening in this classroom.

How does reinforcement of gibberish fit with Montessori, or benefit a child?

It also is supposedly a wonderful technique to help children develop social and learning skills.  How does lack of discipline in extreme cases, such as biting, or tantrums, assist a child in social skills?




No, you are right. It doesn't sound like a Montessori classroom, but you didn't describe it in so much detail the first time and I just picked out a few features.
This is Montessori [and Froebel and Steiner]


This is really weird. I read this post and was wondering what kind of school this kindergarten teacher is working in. I taught kindergarten myself for three years and then I became a Vice Principal for a very large and well-known private school system. I have never heard of a class without visual aids, alphabet letters, a flag to do the pledge of allegiance with, or not being able to have a seated circle time or "quiet time" with the kids. This is really strange. I commend your daughter for being able to work with what this school does have because it is not much. Is this a public school that is managed by a county-wide school system or a private school that is managed by a large educational group? It doesn't sound like it is. This teaching methodology is nothing that I ever subscribed to and certainly nothing that I have ever heard of. I also have a secondary degree in Child Development & Psychology and in my opinion, a child who is having a fit of any kind should never be given "carte blanche" to disrupt or derail other children who are behaving and playing nicely within centers or during classroom learning activities. It is not customary to punish a group of children over a few, or one, that cannot behave. It is also unfair to the child who needs the help because they have learned nothing to correct their behavior by allowing them to disrupt the happy play of others just because they are out of control. If your daughter is a degreed, and qualified educator, she needs to look elsewhere for work. This is not the place for her to utilize her skills and teaching practices as they are taught to us in college and thereafter. She will need to use curriculum building skills, phonics lessons, sight-see tactics, and also memorization skills to be able to allow the reading process to begin for kids this age. It requires visual aids.....beyond a doubt. Are you sure she isn't maybe responsible for bringing these into her classroom to make it her own? Sometimes the teachers will have a budget that allows for purchase of these materials that they choose. Your things then belong to you if you pay for them or the school if that is who foots the bill. Look into this further. This school sounds very peculiar to me but I am used to a pretty standard way of doing things and it's what I know. Good luck and I look forward to seeing your reponse.