This is my first year teaching kindergarten for our homeschool co-op. The previous two years, I taught the four-year-old class. We did alphabet activities with the four-year-olds. It was fun, and I was comfortable with the age group. Still, moving up has worked out quite well.
The kindergarten class is supposed to cover four distinct units throughout the course of the year: Children Around the World, Families and Communities, Animals, and Plants. As my co-teachers and I looked over this list to divvy up the planning, one thing jumped out at me--those first two units were in entirely the wrong order.
First of all, children need to start with the familiar. Talk about their own family, community, culture, etc. before you move on to the unfamiliar lifestyles of other children. It makes no sense to start with the unfamiliar then jump back.
My other motivation though was the realization that if we swapped the order, Children Around the World would coincide with the holiday season. How much fun would it be to learn about other cultures' holiday traditions? I could easily envision planning activities for Israel involving Hanukkah or reenacting Las Posadas when studying Mexico.
The biggest problem is picking which countries on which to focus. There are so many fascinating things we could do and so many interesting cultures to explore, but we're limited to one class a week for a seven-week period. It's been so hard to choose! I will definitely have to do some of the things we couldn't get to with my own children.