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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation


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Does anyone out there see any hope that developmentally inappropriate kindergarten is on the way out? We are destroying children's creativity with this "kindergarten is the new first grade" garbage. If kindergarten is the new first grade, then maybe we should send first-grade-aged children to kindergarten.

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Mary Kate Land's picture
Mary Kate Land
Montessori 4-6th grade teacher

Even though most of the kids in our kindergarten come directly from our early childhood classrooms, there is something very unique about the kindergarten experience. For us, it marks a transition and is meant to be gentle and gradual. A good kindergarten year allows children to have a hopeful entry into elementary school. The focus has to be mainly on self-management, not just in preparation for first grade, but in preparation for life. K's have all the basic peices, they just need to put them together so they make sense. When they are confidently developing at their own pace, they are loads of fun to observe!

I was walking a group of lower el students down to our playground one misty morning. I stopped at the head of the outdoor staircase (made of metal) to call the children's attention to the notion that the stairs might be slippery due to the moisture. One of the K's present added a warning for the others:

"You could slip and break your neck."
His friend responded, "Yeah, then you wouldn't be able to swallow."

Kindergarten is special.

Mary Kate

Lauren D's picture

I am a current Kindergarten teacher, but I don't see a change in the near future. If anything I see it getting worse. Students are reading, writing, and doing math so much earlier then in the past. I am worried this year because my students are coming in much younger and below average (for Kindergartners coming in) and I am not sure they will be able to follow our curriculum. I am strong supporter of play in Kindergarten regardless of the standards I have to meet. I feel as though they are still so young, and I want them to enjoy being kids. I make it a point to hit all important points in my curriculum, but play is also just as important.

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