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ERIC Number: EJ861360
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0036-6439
Reimagining Kindergarten: Restoring a Developmental Approach when Accountability Demands Are Pushing Formal Instruction on the Youngest Learners
Graue, Elizabeth
School Administrator, v66 n10 p10-15 Nov 2009
The traditional kindergarten program often reflected a rich but generic approach with creative contexts for typical kindergartners organized around materials (manipulatives or dramatic play) or a developmental area (fine motor or language). The purpose of kindergarten reflected beliefs about how children learn, specialized training for kindergarten teachers and the degree to which women worked outside the home. Noisy, messy, playful--kindergarten was all the things people associate with young children. The value of learning through play was emphasized in yesterday's kindergarten, but the value of what was learned became less clear as the rest of the elementary curriculum was clarified through standards and curriculum alignment. Today's kindergarten is more focused on literacy and numeracy. The public perception is that kindergarten is what 1st grade used to be. Today's kindergarten children are caught in a triple bind--they have more formal schooling but less time to explore, practice social skills or build relationships with peers and adults. The expectations they face in kindergarten are steep, pitched at what was once seen as 1st grade. Despite all this change around them, the author points out that kindergartners are young children whose needs are distinctly different from their older school peers. From her position with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, the author urges schools to restore a developmental approach for their youngest learners, resisting demands to turn playtime into structured formal instruction.
American Association of School Administrators. 801 North Quincy Street Suite 700, Arlington, VA 22203-1730. Tel: 703-528-0700; Fax: 703-841-1543; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education; Grade 1; Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A