Teacher Talk: Leading a pre-K classroom is not child’s play

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Lindsey Hudman’s job teaching pre-K at Thelma Elizabeth Page Richardson Elementary School is anything but child’s play.

She stays up every night going over the next day’s curriculum and thinking about what worked—and didn’t—in the classroom that day. Hudman often talks with her assigned pre-K specialist about best teaching practices, and she always attends the six-week training available to all Dallas ISD pre-K teachers.

Given her dedication to her job, Hudman tries not to get frustrated when she hears from someone who thinks pre-K is basically just daycare where young children goof around all day.

“Since 90 percent of a child’s brain develops by the time they turn 5 years old, it’s critical that we set a strong foundation for learning inside the pre-K classroom,” Hudman said. “Every school day is rigorously structured to make sure we are giving students the skills they need for a bright future.”

That’s not to say Hudman’s pre-K students don’t have fun in the classroom. Students spend part of their day at centers where they do things such as play with blocks and spaceships. However, learning is interwoven into the centers. This means, for example, that students will count how many spaceships are on the table or identify the different shapes that Hudman has put on each block.

“The students learn every day without even realizing they are learning,” Hudman said.

In addition to centers, Dallas ISD pre-K teachers such as Hudman lead daily lessons in math and reading. The skills taught in Dallas ISD pre-K classes include:

  • Number names and counting
  • Shapes
  • Simple addition and subtraction
  • Patterns
  • ABC recognition and sounds
  • Rhyming words
  • Sounds in words
  • Science and social studies basic skills
  • Writing skills such as name writing, and beginning sentences

Hudman said the socialization that happens with the pre-K students is just as important as the academics. She said she is always amazed to see the social and academic progress that students make in just a few months.

Hudman credits the support Dallas ISD provides to all pre-K teachers as the reason she is able to succeed in the classroom. The pre-K specialist for Richardson Elementary consistently attends trainings and shares what she learned with the school’s pre-K teachers. The six-week professional development workshops provide pre-K teachers with details on the curriculum and activities for the upcoming theme, which lessons are then based around, to ensure all Dallas ISD pre-K teachers are on the same page.

“Dallas ISD is making its pre-K program the program that it needs to be,” Hudman said. “We have as much support and assistance as we need, which is greatly appreciated.”

Given the high-quality pre-K offered by the district, Hudman encourages all qualifying parents to register their child during Dallas ISD Pre-K Registration Week happening April 4–8. Click here for information on how to register.

“Pre-K in Dallas ISD gives a child a valuable first step in the learning process,” Hudman said. “Pre-K teachers in Dallas ISD are getting the skills we need to prepare children for their academic careers. It’s not something we take lightly.”

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