Kids need space to expand
Part of the upcoming referendum vote includes funds to renovate and increase the size of the Kindergarten classrooms.
As a current Kindergarten teacher in the Minneota Public School, I would like to share with you some thoughts on the importance of this additional space and how it could positively impact our students’ learning. Kindergarten students (five-six-years-old)s need space to do independent, partner, and small group work.
Many times throughout the day, all these groupings are happening at the same time. While I work with three-four students at a table working on skills such as counting, reading, analyzing and revising, the rest of the students work independently, or in small groups, dispersed around the classroom.
In order for the students at my table to have a successful learning session, the rest of the students need to have enough space to spread out enough so as not to distract other classmates.
Kindergarten students succeed better through active learning. This requires adequate space to move and explore. If you Google “exercise and brain development”, many links/articles will be displayed on how important it is for the body to move while learning as it increases the blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
The average attention span of a child is the same as his or her age. This means that a Kindergarten student needs to wiggle and move about every five-six minutes! We also meet frequently as an entire class during the day for whole-group instruction. Ideally, this space needs room for each child to sit comfortably while also providing enough room to stand up and move in his or her own spot for songs, active games, and exercise without running into each other. There is a large amount of equipment that Kindergarten students use when learning.
They need space to explore with blocks, puzzles, dramatic play equipment, art supplies, science kits, and technology. Our classroom currently is lacking in enough space to include all these areas of sensory play needed for age appropriate play and learning. With the expansion of the Kindergarten rooms, there are plans to include a single bathroom, with sink, within the rooms. The benefits to having a bathroom located in the classroom cannot be measured. Kindergarten students are currently allowed to use the bathroom individually.
It’s imperative that I continue to track how long a student has been out of the room to determine if he/she is wasting time and needs to be re-directed back to the classroom. There is a large amount of instructional time lost due to the bathrooms being too far from the kindergarten classrooms. I believe the improved space for the new Kindergarten classrooms will add a huge value to improve the learning experience for our beginning learners in our community.
To get more information, please consider attending an information meeting and tour at 7 p.m., either July 13 or August 14 in the choir room at the school.