I teach kindergarten. School starts next week and as of right now, I do not have an assistant. One of my collegues in kindergarten is only getting a part time assistant for the year. Is there a law that requires full time assistants in kindergarten or is it up to the county that you work in?
In Arizona, at my daughter’s school, a kindergarten teacher only gets an assistant if he/she has any Special Ed students that qualify for a teaching assistant. Teachers rely heavily on parent helpers. The teacher assigned one mom to be in charge of scheduling parent volunteers. My daughter's teacher told the parent organizer what days and times she needed help and the parent found someone to help. Basically, the teacher always needed a parent in the room during reading time, computer time and for special projects. Sometimes the teacher would have 3 parents in the room at a time. One would be playing an educational game with a group of students, while the other parent was assessing a student's ability to count and another would be hanging up student artwork. There never seemed to be a shortage of volunteers. I used to come in once a week and alternate between the computer lab and reading centers.
Here is a discussion board titled, A great tool for delegating to class moms, which provides a useful tool for organizing parent volunteers.
Hopefully, you will get your teacher assistant, but if not, best of luck organizing parents to help you so you don't feel so overwhelmed. When I taught first grade, I had parent volunteers almost every day and they were so helpful.
Just curious, in what state do you live? Let us know how it goes.
Kentucky is phasing out Kindergarten aides. I think in three years they will all be gone (or they may have already lifted the requirement for them...not sure). But I know what you mean. Those little ones need the extra monitoring. We have so many that come in unprepared to leave mommy and very immature. Most of our parents don't have time to volunteer on a consistent basis.
In the district where I live, the structure of the school system is very unique. One school is completely composed of Kindergarten classes, and from there, the Kindergartners move on to one of three elementary schools which offer grades 1-5. There are no aides in the Kindergarten classes here, but thankfully, there is no shortage of parent volunteers who happily help wherever they are needed in the classroom. Parents even help out in classrooms other than the ones where their own children are. The setting is rather blissful, and I am speaking not only as a parent of children who have attended that school, but also as a former student teacher in one of the Kinder classrooms. My suggestion is to put your parents to work. Let them know that you don't have an aide and could use assistance in the classroom during the day. Also let them know that you have "take home" projects (cutting out, putting together, collating, etc.) that parents who cannot be in the classroom (due to work, smaller children at home...) can help with. Remember that many hands make light work, and I wish you well (and a plethora of volunteers) in the coming school year!
In my district in California I have taught Kindergarten for ten years and have never had an aide. My school is near a public university and I will sometimes have students complete volunteer hours in the classroom. Now that our class size has increased to thirty students and we have extended our day, it is difficult to manage at the beginning of the year. We do have a staggered day to have some small group time and every Friday we have a minimum day to allow for planning and prep.
We have no kindergarten "assistants" in our district which is quite large. Also, our class size has increased to 30. We really need help and rely on VIPs and parent involvement. Our principal has also asked that involved parents help out in other classrooms other than the one their child is in.
Congratulations to you and your state for recognizing the need for and the importance of having an assistant in a k classroom. I would like to know how the decision to keep a second adult was reached...on what information are you/your school/your district/your state basing your decisions?
I have taught k for many years and have been fortunate enough to have a full time assistant (she's amazing & has been in the position for 25 years). We are in the process of cutting our k assistant position from the budget (for budgetary reasons) and I feel like I need some solid data to present to our principal/superintendant/school board to make the case to keep the position. I don't think they are willing to look at empirical data- despite the fact that every board member has had at least one child benefit from the current configuration.
Our new principal has said that she is committed to keeping class size small -which I appreciate- but I have two problems with that: 1. there is no guarantee when you're using an unknown variable (children move into and out of our district regularly- so that our projections for class size are usually close, but not always accurate.) 2. even with a small class, 5 & 6 year old children still demand a lot of time and attention. Couple that with the composition of the class where 1 or 2 children have high needs, and you have a recipe for lessening the strength of your kindergarten program.
I've read through some of the responses that suggest using parent helpers, but that just isn't the same as having a trusted #2 working with you and for the children.
Would love to hear back from you. Thanks. Maureen
As far as I know, there is no law to require public kindergarten to have an assistant. I think this is very curious when you look at the regulations that preschool programs have to follow- and we are only a small step up ( age-wise) from them. It seems that young children will definitely benefit from the added attention that can be given if there is another adult in the classroom.