Compared to just twenty years ago, kindergarten classrooms have become far more intense and far more strictly regimented. This can actually hurt academic performance down the line by dampening children’s natural sense of curiosity and wonder. Educators across multiple states have expressed concern that the more rigorous kindergarten lesson plans are destroying young children’s enjoyment of school. They would rather see more engagement with children’s curiosity, inquisitiveness and sense of wonder, with more playtime and social interaction, and less testing.

Key Takeaways:

  • Today’s kindergarten students spend more time on teacher-led academics and less time on play than their counterparts from 20 years ago.
  • The schools need new standards that emphasize the development of the whole child rather than focusing on test scores.
  • Kindergarten should give children experiences that will enhance their social and emotional development, and not just their academic development.

“We found that almost everyone we talked to is worried about what kindergarten has become. A principal in Texas told us: “We’re killing their joy for school in kindergarten. We have to ask ourselves, ‘What are we setting children up for later?”

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