Kindergarten – Now and Then

Not the Same Kindergarten Many of Us Remember

As the start of the school year approaches, many parents are preparing to send their new students off to school for the first time – as kindergartners! If this is the first time you have stepped into a kindergarten classroom since you were in school, things might look and feel different. Children today are no longer learning the simple skills that many of us remember, such as how to share and keep our hands in our laps. Today, kindergartners are learning skills that were once considered first grade curriculum. Unstructured time is often replaced with subjects like reading, math, social studies and science, and many kindergartners will likely bring home some form of homework.

At Show Me KC Schools, we want to make sure parents know what to expect as our youngest students transition to elementary school. Below are a few of the biggest changes we have noticed in the shifting kindergarten landscape:

Kindergarten is a full day. 

Many of us many remember being a morning or afternoon kindergarten goer, but kindergarten in Missouri is now a full day as expectations of our schools and students are higher than ever. There has been a lot of debate and research surrounding the impact of the full day on children, and the results are mixed. A study from Duke University discovered the benefits gained by students attending full-day kindergarten disappeared by 3rd grade. Other studies, such as this one from the University of Virginia, shows learning advantages for students who attend full-day kindergarten.

There is no rest or nap time. 

Most of us hated taking naps as a child – especially in a classroom, but what we wouldn’t give now to have a nap time built in the middle of our day! Parents likely won’t find their kindergartners taking naps or having a rest time in the classroom, even with a full day of school. Kindergartners will use their break time to play outside and re-energize from the fresh air and exercise.

ABC … easy as 123.

As generation ago, many of us were just starting to learn our ABC’s in kindergarten. In kindergarten today, children will learn all 26 letters in both capital and lowercase. They are also expected to learn up to 25 high-frequency sight words. Kindergartners are taught to count to 100. By the second quarter, kindergartners are even graded on math operations and algebraic thinking.

The age of technology. 

This might not come as much of a shock, but the level of technology that kindergartners are able to use has drastically altered what the classroom looks like. When you visit a classroom, you’ll notice that many students are using laptops, iPads and smartboards on a daily basis.

Arriving with basic skills. 

While it is not expected, it is hoped that kindergartners possess a few skills before they attend school, such as the ability to identify letters of the alphabet, count and know numbers, hold pencils and use scissors. Check out this attachment “Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten“?

The kindergarten classroom today still has a place for fun and play, but more and more teachers are focusing more on incorporating basic academic skills to prepare children for success to jump start their education.