Sunday, September 28, 2008

The "new" Kindergarten

For any of you that know anything about Kindergarten, you are familiar with the "old school" and the "new school" approach. The old school approach says the Kindergarten day should focus on play, socialization, rules, and routines. The new school approach agrees with that, but adds in lots of phonics, whole language skills, and eventually reading strategies. This new school approach has also been referred to as "Kindergarten as the new first grade."

I subscribe to both. I believe in both. I would consider my classroom closer to the new school approach, but with some old school thrown in.

I'm slowly getting to the point of this post. Hang in there.

I was at a wedding this weekend in Boston and my cousin was telling me tales of his daughter's experience with Kindergarten. She will not be 5 until the end of October so they enrolled her in a private school. She came home one day and asked if their cat was nocturnal. He, being the funny guy he is, admitted to me that he wasn't even sure what that meant. She also asked about exoskeletons. She can now identify nocturnal animals and those with exoskeletons.

Now, the new school teacher in me responds with, "oh, they must be learning about ants and squirrels!" The old school teacher in me thought, "holy crap, who is this teacher who is teaching her 5 years olds about nocturnal animals and exoskeletons?!" I immediately felt inferior.

Tomorrow I am throwing out my plans to learn how many syllables are in our names and teaching cell mitosis and photosynthesis. I need to get my kids up to speed with this smarty-pants New England kids!



teach5 said...

Yeah, what curriculum ARE they using?

ChiTown Girl said...


Anonymous said...

I sometimes get complaints from parents that our curriculum is too academic. I alway suggest they walk down the hall and look inside a first grade room- no blocks, no sand, no home center, no paint easel. How do we transition from "total play" to reading and phonics? The answer is that we don't. We must teach some of it in kindergarten in order to have a solid academic foundation and a smooth transition to first grade.