Kindergarten, COVID, and Cocktails

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Here Goes Nothing...

Posted by Josie on September 21, 2020 at 10:30 AM

Welcome to Kingergarten, COVID, and Cocktails! I created this site for me and my daughter to keep track of assignments and to create a virtual space where she could practice skills in technology while also learning traditional subject matter. My daughter, Madison, is a chatty, imaginative, and fiery five-year-old. She was briefly enrolled in fully remote kindergarten, but we quickly learned that it wasn't the right setting for her. She followed along and all that just fine, but she didn't enjoy it. She would try to speak to her teacher, but with 20+ five-year-olds it's incredbily difficult for a teacher to really truly give one student his or her attention. Our days were governed entirely by when we had to be on Zoom and when we were supposed to be doing independent assignments off of Zoom. There was little to no sense of community. There was no real connection. Her teacher was absolutely wonderful, especially given the difficult position she was put in to teach kindergarten remotely, but nonetheless I knew it wasn't right for us. With a background in secondary education, I discussed the option with my daughter and ultimately we made the executive decision to forge a path of our own.

I graduated from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in 2006 with a Bachelor’s in English Literature and Criticism, and I began teaching straight out of college. By 2012, I had also earned a Masters in Secondary Education and Teaching from UMass Dartmouth. I taught high school English for almost ten years, but after having my first child I took a two-year maternity leave and ultimately decided I wasn’t going to return to teaching.


For nearly ten years, I taught some of the most wonderful students who weren’t always given the most wonderful opportunities to grow. Whether it be due to circumstances at home, learning disabilities, or enablers both in and out of the classroom, many of my students had learned they needn’t be an active part of their education.


The majority of the students with whom I worked during my teaching career entered my classroom as static learners, happily stuck in their ways. They were used to collecting information, putting it in a pile, and then routinely adding to that pile. They had stacks and stacks of facts. They struggled, however, to apply what they had learned and to make connections to create new pathways for discovery. Through their willingness to accept the challenges I presented in the classroom, the majority of my students left my classroom as dynamic learners. They took risks and made themselves vulnerable by putting newly acquired skills to practice. Every student came with different strengths and weaknesses, and it was my responsibility to recognize these strengths and weaknesses and prepare lessons accordingly. Likewise, I am just starting this initial stage of discovery with my own five-year-old as we navigate the home-school experience for the first time.


So, why am I telling you all of this? It’s simple. I need you to understand the method to my madness. The lessons, worksheets, and activities on this site are designed with cooperative learning in mind. Learning doesn’t take place on a white board or in a workbook, rather it takes place through shared experiences and guided exploration. I will provide resources, but the resources do not teach themselves. I will also demonstrate how to incorporate critical thinking skills in learning-specific environments as well as in day-to-day happenings. You will have the ability to modify lessons as you see fit to best reach your child because -and I cannot stress this enough- every child is different. Different learning styles. Different interests. Different social skills. Different. Different. Different. And that’s what makes them all so wonderful in their own right.


If at any point in time you’re struggling with how to reach your child or with how to make ideas “stick,” please send me a message and I’d be happy to chat with you about alternative techniques and strategies to promote individual success for your child. I hope you will find resources here that benefit you and your child, and I hope you will share your experiences with us, too!


Categories: September 2020