Ms. Mattson’s academic goals for her young charges — learn the alphabet and count to 30 — may seem modest, but her social goals are lofty and critical to future success in school. As the transitional kindergarten (TK) teacher, Ms. Mattson helps children learn to navigate the structure of a school day, make good choices, follow directions and respect others. Just as importantly, she wants her students to love learning and enjoy what for some is their first formal school experience.
“Ms. Mattson is the best teacher ever. She is magical! She always has cool activities for us to do..” – Courtyard TK student
Each day in the TK classroom begins with song (often those songs reinforce concepts, such as the water cycle). Ms. Mattson is a classically trained musician who infuses a love and appreciation for music throughout the school day. Her students sing, dance, and listen to music to learn to learn about different composers, cultures, and styles.
In addition to a classroom filled with engaging activities that explore topics ranging from art and music, science and geography, TK scholars also venture out into the world. Fieldtrips include the B Street Theater, science and art museums, and field site visits, such as a trip to McKinley Park during their study of ponds.
Teaching art to her students is one of her favorite parts of the school day. She loves seeing her students explore different styles and periods of art, such as Impressionism and Abstract Expressionsim, as they produce their own creative pieces with a variety of mediums. Ms. Mattson also fosters a sense of pride in her students, so that they leave her class feeling confident in themselves as mathematicians, scientists, authors, and problem solvers. She also exposes children to a variety of cultures throughout their virtual field trip around the world, in which the class studies a different country every month, learning about its art, music, dance, monuments, and cuisine.
“I love having the freedom to be passionate about teaching. I can tailor my activities around student interests and incorporate things from my own life like music and travel. I love being able to be creative and craft my own curriculum.” – Ms. Mattson, TK teacher