What Your Child Will Learn in Kindergarten
Though you may think of kindergarten as a year for play, the actuality is that kindergarten kids work hard and learn a lot in very short time. Not only is kindergarten a year to get used to the routine of school, the idea of being accountable to a new authority figure and to make new friends, but, as kindergarten teachers will tell you, it's a crucial year to build the foundation for learning.
Kindergarten is a year for the basics. While some children will be beyond ready for kindergarten and come to school knowing how to count, recognize numbers to 10 and sort objects, other will not. That's the type of math your child will learn this year. Using concrete, visual props like buttons, cubes and counting bears, your kindergartner will learn the concepts of more and less, ordinal numbers, basic addition and subtraction, creating and recognizing patterns and how to sort using a number of different characteristics.
By the end of the kindergarten year, your child should be able to name the components of a calendar, as well as know how they build upon one another (days make weeks, weeks make months, etc.), recognize numbers up to 100 when they are not in order and count to 100.
Kindergarten is a year of discovery in reading and literacy. In the first few months of school, your child will learn to recognize simple words in print, including his own name and those of his classmates. Letter-sound correspondence, phonemic awareness, sight word recognition, rhyming and words families and concepts about print are the areas in which your child will expand his knowledge this year. By the end of the year some kindergartners will even be reading a little bit.
Your child will learn to use writing for a variety of purposes in kindergarten, all of them practical. The first thing he's likely to master is how to print his own name correctly, using a capital letter at the beginning and lowercase letters for the rest. He'll learn to write numerals from 1 to 20 and a few core words. Most importantly, he'll be working on developing his fine motors skills as he learns how to write the alphabet in both capital and lowercase letters.
Kindergarten science explores topics that are meaningful to students and can be applied to everyday life. Your child will learn about good health habits, including nutrition and an introduction to dental hygiene. He will spend time learning the process of inquiry as he learns about the five senses.
This year he works on observation and data recording as the class collects weather information for the daily calendar and keeps track of how many days a certain type of weather occurs. He may also discover plant life with a hands-on unit about seeds and plant growth.
In kindergarten social studies mimics your child's developmental progress. At the beginning of the year, students focus on "me," exploring their extended families, learning their phone numbers and addresses and sharing information about themselves with the class.
As the year goes on, the focus moves away from the individual and broadens to look at different types of families and cultures and community workers. You can also expect your child to have a better understanding of the meaning behind federal holidays, instead of thinking they just mean a day off from school.