At some point in every young student’s life, someone taught him or her the ABCs, how to count, how to sound out words, how to stand in line and how to act as students. More often than not, that person was a kindergarten teacher.
“Our biggest goal is to get them started, whether its reading or counting to 100,” says Katie Sevald, now in her second year of teaching kindergarten at Olmsted Elementary School in Urbandale. “I’m always proud of them, and they’re fun to be around because they’re excited about everything. They want to learn. You don’t have to build up their enthusiasm.”
Sevald, a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, says her biggest goal for her students is for them to read.
“Some of them come in with a knowledge of how to read, others don’t,” she says. “We encourage them to pick up a book and read it for themselves. We talk about letters and words to get them ready for first grade, and we have them draw pictures and retell stories that they have read to one another.”
Sevald also teaches them the nuts and bolts of math and science.
“We’re working with a new math program that is going really well. We’ll work on everything from counting to 100, to 3D shapes, to graphing. In science, we’re working on experiments by combining colors and learning about germs and the importance of health and dental health,” she says.
For Sevald, the biggest asset that kindergartners possess is a will to learn.
“Their excitement and their enthusiasm is great,” she says. “They’re funny in the things they do and say and are fun to be around. They’re only 5, but they seem wiser.”
The students and the staff at Olmsted, Sevald says, make teaching kindergarten a joy.
“I love Olmsted. They’ve been very welcoming and I feel like part of a family,” she says.