Koonlaba: What do you think about the kindergarten controversy?

11164757_10206497932583916_3464456028614437679_nIn “The Kindergarten Dilemma,” Judy Smizik reflects on her thirty-five years as a Kindergarten teacher. She asserts,

“Kindergarten exposed children to the world around them through creative experiences that incorporated the arts, rich literature, and meaningful learning. It addressed the needs of the “whole” child.  Kindergarten programs were developed to allow for the differences that naturally occur in kindergarten-age children. The curriculum and program were flexible enough to accommodate the educational learning needs of all children.  Play was a vital component of all kindergarten classrooms.”

She goes on to compare what Kindergarten once was to what it is today claiming,

“Today,  children are sitting for long periods of time, learning curricula that were once considered first grade skills. Instruction is focused on teaching kindergarten children to read, write, and perform mathematical skills involving adding, subtracting, and advanced problem solving.  While some children may be developmentally ready to read and perform advanced mathematical thinking skills,  many are not.

The most interesting part of this post is her presentation of a district-mandated writing assessment prompt. She asked retired (career) teachers what grade level they thought the prompt was for. They replied “second grade.”

She ends her post with a question,

“Is this what we want for our children?”

As I was reading this post, I became curious to know what other educators think about the controversy surrounding today’s Kindergarten classrooms.

Do you feel the level of work is appropriate? If you are unfamiliar with Kindergarten, do you feel what Smizik has described is appropriate? Do you find what Smizik has described to be accurate?

I’d love to know your thoughts. Please leave a comment to share.

Amanda Koonlaba is an elementary art teacher in Tupelo, MS. She is a contributor to MSEdBlog. Her views are her own and do not represent the views of any other entity.

2 thoughts on “Koonlaba: What do you think about the kindergarten controversy?

  1. Hi Amanda
    I am very interested to learn the responses you received from your blog. Thank you for reading my article and including it in your blog.

  2. Children learn through play and discovery. It saddens me that they are not given the opportunities my children were given to learn through play. I agree with Mrs. Smizik, and having had a child she taught, I know the benefits she is referring too. Also having another child that was younger and did not have the same learning curriculum, I found my younger daughter was consistently more stressed by the demands placed on her and the lack of unstructured time to learn and express herself.

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