Playful kindergarten child in classroom

Reclaiming kindergarten: part 1 (excerpt)

Questions about theory and practice

[ By Dominic Gullo and Kim Hughes ]

Recently, Matthew's former prekindergarten teacher received an email from Matt's parents letting her know how he was adjusting to kindergarten in his new school. Matt's parents remarked that he thought school was boring and that he didn't want to go, even though he thrived in prekindergarten. Matt told his parents that the teacher is just "teaching, teaching and teaching, there are no toys and we can't play and have fun."

"Kindergarten has changed radically in the last two decades in ways that few Americans are aware of. Children now spend far more time being taught and tested on literacy and math skills than they do learning through play and exploration, exercising their bodies, and using their imaginations. Many kindergartens use highly prescriptive curricula geared to new state standardized tests. In an increasing number of kindergartens, teachers must follow scripts from which they must not deviate. These practices, which are not grounded in research, violate long-established principles of child development and good teaching."

This, according to the Alliance for Childhood, describes the landscape of today's kindergarten.

Read the rest of this article at the Springer Science + Business website (PDF) (next)