What should be learned in kindergarten?


The Kindergarten Curriculum

The developmental characteristics of children of kindergarten age call for a curriculum that involves a variety and balance of activities that can be provided in the context of project work (Katz and Chard, 1989). For example, kindergarten children can undertake projects in which they investigate a real event or object. In the course of such projects, the children will strengthen emerging literacy and numeracy skills and their speaking and listening skills and acquire new words as they share their findings with others.

A good curriculum provides activities that include:

  • Integrated topic studies, rather than whole-group instruction in isolated skills;
  • Opportunities for children to learn by observing and experimenting with real objects;
  • A balance of child- and teacher-initiated activities;
  • Opportunities for spontaneous play and teacher-facilitated activities;
  • Group projects in which cooperation can occur naturally;
  • A range of activities requiring the use of large and small muscles;
  • Exposure to good literature and music of the children's own cultures and of other cultures represented in the class;
  • Authentic assessment of each child's developmental progress;
  • Opportunities for children with diverse backgrounds and developmental levels to participate in whole-group activities; and
  • Time for individuals or small groups of children to meet with the teacher for specific help in acquiring basic reading, writing, mathematical, and other skills as needed.

A major challenge for schools concerned with the best use of children's time in kindergarten is the provision of meaningful teaching and learning activities. The wide range of physical, social, and intellectual characteristics represented in a group of contemporary beginning kindergartners makes an informal, flexible approach to the kindergarten curriculum necessary.

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