The early childhood department of my school district has, in the last few years, worked hard to come up with end-of-the-year goals that are based on our state standards, and are supported by our assessments, , portfolios, report cards, and parent conference goal-setting forms. Everything all works together. They wrote up a list of goals on a single sheet, to share with parents, but I decided to enlarge them and share them with the kids.
The signs I made are posted above our meeting area board, and it’s at about this point in the year that I point them out to the children, read the goals aloud, and start referring to them daily as we work and play. I started doing this a few years ago, while training to be a teacher coach. I learned that accountability for students is just as important as accountability for adults, and wondered how that would translate to preschool.
I already listed the things we were learning about on our morning message, but decided to be more deliberate in telling the children what we were doing and why. When I do a repeated interactive read-aloud, or reader’s workshop, the children learn that there is a purpose: to love books and become great readers. The list of goals tells the children what they should know to get ready for kindergarten. “This is our job,” I say, and the children nod, serious and proud.
We’re still fingerpainting, playing house, and messing with shaving cream. But we all have a shared purpose, and I think it brings us closer and takes us farther.