What You Can Expect in: Kindergarten

You can expect to see reading, writing, and math in kindergarten today

Teacher with preschool students in classroom.
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For most children today, kindergarten is the new first grade. The kindergarten lesson plans that are currently used by teachers are a far cry from the kindergarten activities that were emphasized just a few decades ago. Kindergartners today are spending less time on play and more time on academic pursuits such as reading, writing, and math. Many kindergarten classes are now full-day rather than the previous norm of half-day.

And many kindergartners get homework, sometimes every day.

Your child's kindergarten curriculum may vary depending on what the standard is in your state and district. And children this age can enter kindergarten with widely different skill levels. Some kids may know the entire alphabet and many sight words while others may be struggling to go beyond a handful of letters.

Bearing that in mind, the following is a general idea of the developmental changes you can expect to see in your child as she becomes immersed in kindergarten lesson plans. Your kindergarten will be able to:

Kindergarten Social Skills:

  • Develop better self-control skills such as sitting still and listening quietly.
  • Learn how to follow directions.
  • Become more skilled at cooperating with others.
  • Discuss families, holidays, and other things about their worlds.

Kindergarten Reading and Writing:

  • Review letters of the alphabet and corresponding sounds.
  • Learn lowercase and uppercase letters.
  • Learn sight words, or frequently-used words such as "the," "and" and "is".
  • Write about themselves and write stories together as a class with the teacher's help.
  • Learn stories, songs, rhyming words.
  • Talk about stories after reading them (a demonstration of reading comprehension): predict what may happen next, try to guess what characters might be thinking or feeling; re-tell what happened in the stories.
  • Write words with spelling guessed by the child (invented spelling).
  • Write letters to mom and dad.
  • Label pictures they've illustrated.

Kindergarten Math:

  • Count things around the classroom, such as how many days they've been at school, how many blocks are in a bin, and the like.
  • Identify basic shapes such as circle, square, triangle, etc.
  • Recognize numerals up to 20 or beyond.
  • Count by 5s or 10s.
  • Tackle basic addition and subtraction.
  • Understand concepts such as "more than" or "equal to."
  • Create patterns with small objects and sort into groups by color and size.
  • Identify coins (be able to distinguish between pennies, dimes, etc.).

Kindergarten Science:

  • Explore their world through observation and experimentation. Many kindergarten teachers take advantage of young children's natural curiosity to help them learn about their world.
  • Discover what animals and plants need to live and grow.
  • Learn about the parts of the body and the senses.
  • Learn about changes in seasons and weather.
  • Become familiar with elements that make up our planet (earth, sand, rocks, water, etc.).

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