As parents it’s hard to keep up with our kids’ learning schedules. When are they supposed to start learning addition? By what age should they be able to read? Are they on track with their grade-level learning or do we need to help them catch up?
These are all questions we thought we’d cover in our next series on what kids learn in each grade. Today, we’ll start with kindergarten.
Kindergartners are very curious about how things work and teachers often use this enthusiasm by setting up projects on topics that interest them. The kindergarten year is one in which kids learn more about the formal classroom setting – learning to focus for segments of time on basic literacy and math, and learning simple science and social studies. This is the foundation year for getting used to the routine of school, the process of focusing and learning, and the social skills involved in making new friends. It’s a crucial year for building the foundation of learning.
Letter-sound correspondence, phonemic awareness, sight words, rhyming, words families and concepts about print are the areas in which your child will expand his knowledge this year. Kindergarten students learn how to identify letters in the alphabet and their sounds, and about letters and sounds that go together to form words. Most kindergarten children are expected to read words by the end of the school year.
They also learn to print letters. They will work on developing fine motor skills as they learn to write the alphabet in both capital and lowercase letter. They will also attempt to write stories, journal entries or poems. These will often be a disjointed jumble of letters and words, but it’s a first step towards expressing themselves in writing.
This will be the year in which school encourages parents to play an active role in helping their kids to learn to read. Many schools provide the students with book bags to take home and read with their parents.
Teachers spend time reading to the kids and playing rhyming and word association games to build on their vocabulary and help them in their reading skills.
Math in kindergarten is all about the basics. They will learn how to count, recognize numbers up to 10 and sort objects. Using concrete props, they will learn the concepts of more and less, ordinal numbers, basic addition and subtraction, creating patterns. They’ll start to learn about time and calendars and cover these regularly in class. Teachers often start the day by having a student come up to the board to pin the calendar day, the day in the week and the weather on that day.
By the end of kindergarten, students should know the components of a calendar and how to build on them – days, weeks, months, and some basic time – on the hour, half hour segments - – recognize numbers up to 100 and count to 100, and some basic single-digit addition and subtraction.
Science is all about starting to make sense of the world around them. Kids learn about plants, animals, good health habits, the weather and keeping track of the weather, and about the five senses and basics about their bodies. Teachers will conduct simple science experiments in class. Kindergartners can remember more information and can now use that to make connections between things and group things together.
In social studies the year start with the focus on “me”. They learn about their immediate and extended families, learn their address and phone numbers and share information about themselves and their interests.
By the end of the year, they will have broadened their field to look at different families, cultures, the neighborhood and the community.