As the parent of a child who is headed to Kindergarten this fall, I wanted to be sure that my son’s education and classroom experience will meet my expectations. Because of my concerns, I contacted the principal of our local elementary school and requested the opportunity to observe a Kindergarten classroom and also to ask questions of the teacher. I found this experience to be extremely helpful in giving me a clear picture of what to expect for my son in the fall. Here are some questions parents should consider asking their child’s prospective teacher.
1. What is the anticipated class size? The teacher I spoke with informed me that the optimal class size for a Kindergarten class is eighteen students to 1 teacher. She also told me that her class size is likely to be twenty three students or more. Also inquire as to whether or not teacher’s aides or volunteers will be present in the classroom and for which portions of the day.
2. How does the teacher handle discipline? Does she take away recess? Does she put children in time-out or require extra work? Knowing the answers to these questions will reveal possible philosophical differences between you and the teacher or school district and also prepare you to be supportive of the teacher should your child need discipline during school.
3. What is the daily classroom routine? How much free play time will there be during the day? How much instruction time? Will there be snacks provided by the school or do you need to send something along? Gain insight into what your child will be doing each day and see if the schedule is suitable to your child’s development.
4. What does the teacher consider the primary purpose of Kindergarten? The answer to this question will tell you what your child will learn over the course of the year. Some teachers believe the primary purpose of Kindergarten is socialization, others may emphasize problem solving, teaching acceptable behaviors, or learning to read. A good teacher will strike a balance between developing interpersonal social skills and laying an academic foundation for future learning.
5. What safety measures are taken at the school? Depending on your community, you may be concerned about your child’s safety at school. How are children supervised during recess? Who will make sure your child makes it from the bus to the classroom? Are children ever left in a classroom unsupervised? Knowing your school’s policies will put your mind at ease.
6. What can you do to prepare your child for success in Kindergarten? For more insight into this topic, consider reading these helpful articles: How to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten, and Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten: A Readiness Checklist.
Most teachers appreciate parents that are involved in their child’s education and want to be able to address their concerns. Taking the opportunity to ask questions and get to know your child’s teacher before the school starts will ensure you and the teacher work together to further the academic development of your child.