As I visit schools in Red Clay, I noticed that the play stations in the kindergarten classrooms are gone. When I talk with teachers, they have shared that kindergarten is no longer a place where five year olds can explore, pretend, or play. It is about worksheets, learning their A,B,C’s at record speeds, and no down time with students only having one recess.
A five year old in kindergarten puts in a 10 hour day, if you include their nightly work; thinking about it makes me sad for these kids. When my kids entered kindergarten, it was a half day. It was a wonderful experience; it was a place for them to learn and to grow; it was just enough. Starting 1st grade was a little overwhelming at first, getting use to being at school all day and the additional homework.
Here is a link to a CDC milestone page showing what children should know at certain ages. You can see where a five year old child should be.
- Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
- Counts 10 or more things
- Can draw a person with at least 6 body parts
- Can print some letters or numbers
- Copies a triangle and other geometric shapes
- Knows about things used every day, like money and food
Below is a link to a story that Diane Ravitch posted. It is about kindergarten and how it has changed. Read it and see if you agree.
Due to the Common Core and testing pressures, children in kindergarten are now expected to learn to read. Kindergarten, writes Erika Christakis in The Atlantic, has changed, and not for the better.
“One study, titled “Is Kindergarten the New First Grade?,” compared kindergarten teachers’ attitudes nationwide in 1998 and 2010 and found that the percentage of teachers expecting children to know how to read by the end of the year had risen from 30 to 80 percent. The researchers also reported more time spent with workbooks and worksheets, and less time devoted to music and art.
30 minutes of recess to be exact….
Our family had good experiences with kindergarten. Our children were fortunate to have had educated parents and high-quality day care. Day care was all day since both parents were working, and when kindergarten started there was aftercare. Both started reading before or during their kindergarten year.
We did all the usual things, like reading to our children, surrounding them with books, pointing out words on signs in public, etc. Even so, I watched my daughter essentially teach herself to read during her kindergarten year on starfall.com, which features age-appropriate reading games.
We never saw any substantial homework from kindergarten. I guess with aftercare their days were 9 or 10 hours, but usually they were absorbed in some activity and often it was hard to get them to go home. For our family, that worked, so don’t be sad for our children.
Especially for children who don’t have all the advantages my children did, I would hope that high-quality day care and full-day kindergarten would always be an option. I don’t know how parents are expected to work AND to pick up their children mid-afternoon.
When I was a child I stayed home with my mother. But then, so did all the other neighborhood kids, so we all played together at home. When we started school, we all got on the same bus and went to the same school. Now the subdivisions are desolate during the day, and the schoolchildren are scattered in schools all over the county.