I'm really having an excellent start to the school year. I feel very confident in the grades I'm teaching, and I love being in my same school again, as I'm already known and familiar to the families. That being said, this year is definitely a learning curve. This Senior Kindergarten/Grade One split is very new, last year was the first year our school had one and it was very different. This year, with the full-day kindergarten program, it just can't be like last year at all. I'm forging a new way with this program, and have completed my long-range plans, so I'm feeling good about teaching the two curriculums together, it's just a new experience for all.
It's also new to be working with a designated early childhood educator (DECE). Two teachers and only twenty students is fantastic, and I feel very fortunate for my situation. My DECE is knowledgeable, and engaging, and she has been planning plenty of activities for the classroom. It's still interesting sharing the program, however, and having to check in before making final decisions for my class. I'm still in a leadership position, but I'm trying to balance it and ensure my DECE feels supported and like a leader, too. She's also new to the school environment after being in a childcare setting, so there is some learning there, too. It's going well, but it's new and every now and then we have a bump to get over. Fortunately, through open communication and honesty it seems to be working well.
Our parent night is coming up at the beginning of October, sometimes we collaborate as grade teams to share our curriculum with families and present a unified program. This year, I'm going to be presenting to parents by myself because my program is unique. I'm hoping my DECE will be able to stay that evening too so we can present our classroom together. I'm a little concerned with parent perception about the split class, and how the grade one parents will feel about everything, but I hope when they hear how much small group and one-on-one instruction is able to happen in our classroom that they feel comfortable about their child being in the combined grade classroom. Parent pressure is so challenging in this job, even at grade one level it can be very stressful just how much the expect the grade ones to be doing. Play-based learning is a huge push right now though, so they will have to get comfortable with the idea that play is happening... something new to teach the parent community!
All in all, a very successful school year so far, I'm so happy with how it is going... I'm just trying to keep a positive, collaborate relationship going with the DECE, and I'm looking forward to getting through parent night in a couple of weeks!