My little kindergarten students are often my "window to the world". My conversations with them highlight how much the world has changed since my own children were in school. I notice the changes in behavior, language, and especially in "concept knowledge". Yesterday was a great example. We read a sweet little book titled "Kelly in the Mirror" about a little girl who looks in the mirror and is sad because she doesn't look like anyone else in her family. She retreats to the attic (her special place) to think about it, and discovers some old photos of her mom, which of course look just like her. Happy ending. However, during the reading we had to have some conversations about a few things. First, my children don't know what an attic is or why it had so much stuff in it. Not surprising in our area of the country.
The surprise came when Kelly looked at her grandmother's old sewing machine stored in the attic and recalled her mother's stories about grandmother making her clothes on it. She even explains that it has a treadle, not electric power like her mom's machine. My children had no idea what I was reading! They hadn't seen a sewing machine, didn't know what it did. Certainly had no concept of treadle vs. electric. And try explaining "sew" to a generation who buys their clothes at Old Navy.
This is what people don't understand about kindergarten. Children don't have the same knowledge and understanding that adults have because they don't have the same language and concepts. We've spent a lifetime, our lifetime, accumulating information. Children are not only trying to make sense of their own world, but ours as well. Each day- each hour- I say or read something that I have to explain. I forget sometimes that I am using words that have no meaning to a child.
Luckily children aren't bashful about letting me know when I'm speaking Greek! LOL If I say something they don't understand, at least one of them will pop up and say "what's that?" or "I don't get it." Then we can back up and try again.
Just a glimpse of my world today. I'd better get going to school.