My grandson Michael started kindergarten this year. Besides being a milestone for him, it became an eye opener for me. At Back To School night, we came to tour his classroom and to meet officially with his teacher for the very first time. I was amazed at the enrollment in the classroom. Due to financial cutbacks at the district level, there were 33 children in one class and it was obvious that this teacher was going to need some serious help. Although the district was paying for a full time aide, I quickly realized that any child that was going to need a little extra help was in no way going to get it.
Now I believe in our children and I know that they are our future. The district did finally decide that our school needed two kindergarten classes but that still left 16 children to be taught. In the area where, I live most families are low incomes; a lot of these children did not have the advantage of preschool. When most of us went to kindergarten if you can still remember that (written with a laugh), it was mostly about learning our numbers and colors and shapes, nap time and snack time were the highlight of our day but now kindergarten is much more. Children are expected to already know the basics and are learning to add and subtract and write stories in kindergarten. I taught seven children the basics before they left for school but a lot of our parents here also have the disadvantage of English as a second language. Even if you live where kids are less disadvantaged, you can still help to educate our future. So this is where you come in.
About The Author: Debra Frick is a mother of 5 and a grandmother to 8 grandsons and one granddaughter. She is a published author and poetress. Recycling and saving money are her passions. She also loves crocheting and cooking. She is also a pet rescue volunteer and has many pets of her own.
As a teacher I can tell you that not only Kindergarten needs helpers. There are always those kids who need extra help for one thing or another. Sometimes just sitting beside an easily distracted child wil help them stay on task. Listening to a struggling reader who won't read aloud to other students is a great help. I've seen more kids than I should have come to school after getting themselves out alone, no breakfast, often nobody at home but the other kids and those kids just need somebody to talk to and to give the feeling that SOMEBODY cares. If you've made it to grandmother stage you know quite a lot about listening, loving, and caring. I agree. Step in a let some little kid have needed extra help.
I taught for years & eventually evaluated other teachers. When I moved back to Massachusetts I thought I would offer to help out in a local school, subsitute, read, work with small groups, anything. The school said they have an extremely tough policy about people helping out in their school. They had problems one year. Anyway they expected me to bring in a lot of recommendations from other people, submit to a crime check (which I have already done in order to teach at all), fill out a million forms, etc. I would have gladly done all that, as I miss the kids, but they really seemed disinterested. I thought they would really appreciate a retired teacher. Apparently not.
I help out at the primary school where my grandson went. Everything from listening to children read through art to museum trips. It's marvelous. Go for it!
When my older kids (now 20 and 21) were in Elementary school, I wasn't working and was able to volunteer every week. In fact, the year that they were in 1st and 2nd grades, on Thursdays I volunteered 1/2 day in one class, ate lunch w/ one child or the other (alternated weeks) and the second 1/2 of the day and then on Friday, I volunteered 1/2 day in a kindergarden class, because the teacher didn't have enough volunteers. All these years later, some of the kids (now grown, some w/kids of their own) still remember and appreciate the times that I spent with them, and the books we read together.
Please, anyone that has the time, volunteer at an Elementary School near you. You never know how you might effect the life of a child.
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