The Changing Kindergarten

Getting Ready to Read is a wonderful website that is designed for parents and early children learning like transitioning to kindergarten. My parents have stated that the "Getting Ready of Kindergarten Handouts" have helped them be better prepared for kindergarten. 

Kindergarten as it was known five years ago is not the same as kindergarten today. Kindergarten twenty years from now will be vastly different than it is today. Kindergarten has moved from a program that focuses primarily on social and emotional development to one that emphasizes academics, especially early literacy, math and science, and activities that prepare children to think and problem solve. These changes represent a lasting impact on kindergarten curriculum and teaching into the future. Regardless of the grade or age group they teach, all early childhood teachers have to make decisions regarding what curriculum and activities they will provide for their children.

Kindergarten education is literally changing before our eyes! Here are some of the ways it is changing and the reasons why.
Longer school days and transition from half-day to full-day programs. Reasons for longer school days and full-day programs include:
             •Changes in society,
              •An increase in the number of working parents,
             •Recognition that earlier is the best option, and
             •Research which shows that a longer school day helps children academically.

Emphasis on academics including math, literacy and science. Reasons for the emphasis on academics include:
             •Standards that specify what children should know and be able to do,
             •State standards that now include the kindergarten years, and
             •Political and public support for early education and skill learning because they reduce grade
                failure and school dropout.

More testing. Reasons for the increased testing include:
               •The accountability movement and
               •Recognition that district testing that begins in third grade and earlier puts more emphasis  
                 on what kindergarten children should learn.

Enriched curriculum with emphasis on literacy designed to have children read by entry into first grade. Reasons for literacy in the kindergarten include:
                •Recognition that literacy and reading are pathways to success in school and life, and
                •Recognition that learning to read is a basic right for all children.

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