When did kindergarten become so much work

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by tchr4evr, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    Mar 2, 2011

    I was just thinking of this after reading a thread in the general education forum. I talk to my son everyday about what he does in school, and I've volunteered in his class several times, and i want to know when kindergarten became so much work for these kids? I know that the learning is important, but my son tells me that they recently cut out naps (which is kind of good for me, he zonks at 7:00 p.m.) and that they don't have recess everyday. He likes school, but he has told me several times that "he just wants to play". He's gotten in trouble for not listening or sitting still, and when I ask him why, that's his answer. I teach high school, so I'm very far removed.
    When I was in kindergarten, I remember learning my alphabet, and my numbers, and basic stuff, some simple math, etc. But I remember recess, playing house, reading time, raising silkworms, art everyday, music of some sort everyday (even if it was just a record player and us dancing like crazy). I remember felt boards and puppet shows and nap time.

    It just seems so sad to me that we are expecting our little boys and girls to learn so much so fast, and then we complain in 6 or 7 years that they grow up too fast.
     
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  3. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I read a study that said 20 years ago 20% of kids went to 1st Grade reading, now it's the expectation that 100% be reading and here it's reading 40 words per minute :eek:.

    I completely agree with you and I definitely think we already see the detrimental effects of it. They are doing study after study now showing our kids are less and less creative as they go up the grades. Kids can't solve problems or collaborate together and I truly believe it's because we used to teach those social skills in early childhood and now we don't. There's just so much pressure on us to teach the academics we have to sneak in art and music and often justify the value to admin if we're "caught" doing it.

    It's really sad.
     
  4. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    That is an advantage of my class. We do a lot of "play" and we do a lot of silly type learning. This week we made pigs in the blanket and green eggs & ham...we celebrate silly holidays and learn about them. At least twice a month we have something different going on.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    When they started pushing 1st grade standards onto the K kiddos. Everything is a rush these days from getting your child to grow up and learn to getting to the grocery store. No time for the common courtesies and collaboration or even play!
     
  6. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    The policy wonks who crafted No Child Left Behind determined that junior year was too late to be taking Algebra II. Students needed to take Algebra II as sophomores so they could take trig as juniors and pre-calculus or calculus as seniors. Otherwise students could never realize their childhood dreams of being marine biologists because they would not be ready for full blown calculus in their freshman year of college.*

    So for that reason, the entire math curriculum needed to be moved forward one year, going all the way back to kindergarten.

    So basically, if it's something we did in first grade, they do it in kindergarten now, and if it was a second grade topic, it's part of first grade now. A brilliant idea. Make kids smarter simply by having them do everything earlier!

    Now, then, what about the kids who are not ready to learn these advanced topics a year earlier? That doesn't matter. What matters is that some kids are ready to learn these advanced topics, so the kids who mature a bit later will just have to work harder. If they don't, then we just make sure they don't graduate high school unless they can pass a high school exit examination before they are 18. It's very important that academic standards are based on the abilities of the smartest kid in the class.

    What's great now is that by high school, it's very clear which kids were not ready for two digit addition at the end of kindergarten because they are the ones scoring "below basic" on standardized tests.

    But since we named the law that caused all of this No Child Left Behind, they are not behind at all. They just are not as far ahead as some kids. But they still don't get a diploma.



    *Never mind that getting into a calculus class as a freshman at most universities these days almost as easy is finding a free parking spot for a motor-home in midtown Manhattan.
     
  7. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Mar 3, 2011

    It is very sad. We have full day kindergarten in which there is NO pretend play or anything of the sort. It's push, push, push. I don't like that and as a teacher and now parent, I'm going to be picky about which school my daughter goes to. It might be public, charter, or private depending on the Kindergarten curriculum.

    I do want my child to be successful (as do most parents) but at the same time it's vital that my daughter learns social skills and interactive play.
     
  8. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    It does make me sad. Like I said in the first post, I spent my kindergarten time playing, and I graduated from high school with a 4.3 average (solid AP from freshman year on) and got into every college I applied to. I went to college on an almost full ride. It's no wonder when I get them, in high school, they don't want to work anymore--they're just too tired. That's why my kids love my theatre class so much--it's work, but it's all based on play.
     
  9. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    This year I teach 90 minutes straight of Reading/Language Arts - no "breaks." We have literacy centers during this time and always have an art center and computer center with are other literacy activities b/c they love them and need them.

    I teach 75 minutes of math with no breaks. It is Everyday Math and it is A LOT. We have a math game day once a week.

    I also teach science, social studies and more language arts during the rest of the day. We try and have 15-20 minutes quiet time in the afternoon.

    Friday's I always try and give them free play in the afternoon.

    Our week is jammed packed w/ music, gym and computers twice a week. We have art, and library once a week and I teach Spanish as often as I can.
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I just had this debate with my AP and couldn't for the life of me make her understand why this just isn't true. Our second objective for the year in 1st Grade was place value-these kids were in no way ready for this concept. Her opinion was they should know it even better in 4th Grade if we start it earlier-so introduce it in Kindergarten, why not introduce the concept of multiplication too? :eek: Mine was, if you start it before they are ready, then you really confuse them and waste time on something abstract when you should be covering the basics.
     
  11. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    I am writing my thesis on the importance of play in the kindergarten classroom and the views parents, teachers and administration hold about it. It's a crazy topic and I hate the my students can't "play" more.
     
  12. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    I really like to think I have a balance in my room - the mornings are mostly academics and the afternoons are specials and play. It works for the most part. :)
     
  13. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    If the P walks into one of our K classrooms and sees the children "playing" instead of working at their seat, the teacher receives discipline.
     
  14. Kindergarten31

    Kindergarten31 Cohort

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    Mar 9, 2011

    Pretty much the same around here. Kindergarten has changed a lot since I began teaching. I recently threw out bunches of my old "unit' stuff (circus, dinosaurs, community helpers, etc) because there is just NO time to do the fun stuff and teach all of the standards that are required. We cooked every week and did lots of art projects. I still try to squeeze these activities in, but as a previous poster said, you have to justify how these fit the standards. We teaching skills that the children just do not 'get' yet, because there is no background. The first grade teachers are doing back flips because they have even tougher standards and the policy is just to plow forward-leaving MOST children behind. AArrggg.
     
  15. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Wow. That must be nice. Where I work they aren't even allowed to work in their seats. They have to be listening to the teacher lecture.
     
  16. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Or Calculus or Linear Algebra. Heck, while we're at it, lets just throw an Analysis text book at them. They'll LOVE it.
     
  17. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    I agree with what Sarge said, basically. It's that push that starts at the top and trickles down. To prepare kids for college, they need to be challenged more in high school. To prepare them for high school, middle school needs to be more challenging. To prepare them for middle school, we need to take things up a notch in elementary, including kindergarten.

    Most districts in WI have a 4-year-old kindergarten program (I'm not sure how common that is elsewhere). 4K is the new kindergarten
     
  18. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    My friend teaches DD preschool. She had the kids on the floor in a circle and they were singing Farmer in the Dell. The superintendent walked by and said, "you are going to stop singing and start teaching right?"
     
  19. starbucks

    starbucks Comrade

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    Many schools in PA (including my district) have 4K programs. Our PreK program is everyday from 9:00 - 2:00 (kindergarten is from 8:00 - 3:00). Therefore, the PreK day is actually longer than what our half day Kindergarten day was years ago!

    We were talking about possible retentions this past week and I am considering retaining one student. I feel bad because after a GREAT deal of work at school and at home (her mother has been wonderful!) she has finally mastered all of the letters and sounds. She can now count to 100, knows her numbers and other traditional k skills. Unfortunately, she can't read and decode yet. She can't write a sentence. She can't add/subtract, count money etc.. She has consistently been 6 months behind my other kids all year. When I started my career 15 years ago, we basically felt comfortable sending children to first grade as long as they knew their letters and sounds. In today's edcuation world, however, I know that she would really struggle if I sent her on to first grade ONLY knowing letters and sounds. Its sad, but its the way it is.
     
  20. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    Mar 10, 2011

    Kids just aren't allowed to be kids anymore! If they can't "share equally between 2 people" and read on level C or D, then they're considered behind!
     
  21. teacherhoosier

    teacherhoosier Companion

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    Mar 11, 2011

    halpey1, I would love to have a morning/afternoon setup similar to yours. Our specials are first thing in the morning, so I'm losing 45-50 minutes of my kids when they are the sharpest mentally..I wish we had the last special or two of the day..
     

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