Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Kindergarten

Kindergarten is nothing like what it used to be. For a while, I thought that preschool was the new Kindergarten but I have to tell you that is no longer true. Kindergarteners are now expected to be reading (at least by the end of the year). When I taught first grade a few years ago, my expectation was that my first graders were reading by the end of the year. How quickly things change!
In order for Kindergarteners to be reading by the end of their Kindergarten year, preschools (at least state mandated ones like Head Start) are focusing more on academics. It's a shame. When are kids supposed to have fun? When are they allowed to explore?
My Kindergarten class is deemed as a developmentally appropriate K class. Though I have to tell you that I do feel the stress of needing to whip out readers by the end of the school year. How can one not let this expectation bother you?? I feel as though I am doing a dis-service to my students if I am not teaching them to learn how to read. But you know what? About half of them aren't developmentally ready to learn how to read so why push? That's how I look at it. I have to remind myself on a daily basis that it isn't my fault if so and so just doesn't quite get it yet. He's just not there yet and it's okay.

2 comments:

  1. This is so important. I really struggle with the standards. With four kids, I have a wide spectrum, from my daughter who was an avid reader and learned "naturally" before she went to K, to my youngest son, who couldn't figure out the sight word "the". You wouldn't believe what I had to go through to get him to learn that word. I researched "holding back" and chose not to do so. It's so sad that we push them. Children should be learning through play and discovery. In fact, there was an article recently about the "Montessori Mafia" - a group of highly creative types who are successful (P Diddy, creator of Amazon, Google, or similar companies) - they all went to Mont! I'm not advocating that, but I do believe that there should be a lot of time to explore. I also believe those early grades are about learning to read, but it can be a challenge. I sympathize with you - it must be very hard and frustrating, too. My soon still struggles a bit, but is doing pretty well in 6th grade. We work with him a lot. But some kids in his class are almost 2 years older than him!

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  2. Kindergarten here is for play!! If they pushed academics like you are talking about, kids would start to hate school too early on! (I think). I don't know how it will be with Mack or Quentin, but Sean's eager on his own to learn to read and loves it. Good luck with your class! Will they fail if they can't read by the end of the year?

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Hey everyone,
Just wanted to thank you for taking the time out to leave me a comment. Happy reading!