Not Your Mother's Kindergarten
I can still dimly recall when I attended kindergarten. About 20 of us kids would sit on the carpet and listen to the teacher, Mrs. Westlake, read stories to us from huge books that had lots of pictures. We sang songs, built kites, and fingerpainted. Liberal use was made of modeling clay.
We learned how to write our ABCs. We learned how to follow directions, and we learned how to share.
For some of us, it was the first time that we had ever been part of a large group of children.
The Sacramento Bee is informing us that kindergarten has changed:
In an effort to retain traditional kindergarten activities as well as increase academics, many districts are now moving toward full-day kindergarten programs.
The classroom of today is vastly different. Kindergartners are adding, subtracting, reasoning. They're writing simple sentences. Many come in already knowing the alphabet, or at least are expected to.
Pressure to have students ready for standardized tests at second grade essentially has shifted curriculum standards up a year. Where kindergarten once accustomed children to socializing with others and preparing them to read and do math, it now has them learning complex concepts, teachers say. The days of "graham crackers and naps" are gone.
Singing, dancing, finger painting - many of the activities most parents remember about kindergarten are threatened, with teachers finding it hard to cram everything into the three-hour day. The fun stuff often suffers.
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