Kindergarten – Socializing Out, Academics In

Over the past ten years there has been a major shift in the way Kindergarten is taught. Instead of it being a time to develop social skills, work on manners, and learn how to work cooperatively in a group setting, Kindergarten has changed dramatically. It is now academically demanding, with 土瓜灣低班 little time allotted for creativity.

This trend began in the inner cities during the mid-nineties. It was a time when people were questioning why students were graduating from high school without being able to read or write beyond an elementary level. As this discussion gained steam, educators across the United States turned to Kindergarten for answers. It is now the norm to have a highly academic program in Kindergarten everywhere, including both public and private institutions.

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In Robert Fulghum’s bestseller All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, first published in 1986, he speaks about lesson learned in Kindergarten about sharing, playing well with others, and caring about other people’s feelings. An updated version would now need to include reading and writing complex sentences, elementary algebra, science and the scientific method, and social studies.

Students are formally tested every six weeks to track their progress and to show the schools how they should modify their lessons. Anyone who falls behind is given remediation and intervention so that the lessons can continue at the expected pace. Homework is no longer consists of drawing a picture. On a weeknight a Kindergartener can be expected to spend from twenty to forty minutes completing several pages of mathematics, language arts and social studies.

Does the “Kindergarten College” model really help children to succeed academically in later years? All indications would say that the students are indeed benefiting from this more formal and rigorous approach to teaching Kindergarten.

What about the social skills that were emphasized so stringently in years past? With little time allotted to learning how to get along with other children there are bound to be repercussions later on as the children get older and subjected to new social situations. With many families having both parents working all day, it falls to the school to pick up the slack and teach the skills typically taught by parents.

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