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Old 02-13-2014, 04:20 AM   #1
Terra
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Public School Kindergarten in modern times...what do you think?

I don't have much time to comment because I'm headed out, but will comment on my break times.

I'm a teacher. Went from Kindergarten to Pre-K [LOVE this age].

In your opinion do you think the Kindergarten of today is too stringent and demanding of a child?

I will add more later on what I think and why I do, and why I moved to Pre-K!

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Old 02-13-2014, 04:33 AM   #2
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Re: Public School Kindergarten in modern times...what do you think?

Yes, I am not sure why kids have to read and write at ages before 7 (or rather, the year in which they turn 7). Then when they do not keep up (perhaps due to maturity problems) they are send on the "special needs" track (not truly special needs in the sense that the child is syndromic, but in the sens that they get special help). I think we'll have far fewer kids with "problems" if we waited until the year they turned 7 to start teaching formally.

That does not mean they do not get exposed to learning. Just that it isn't regulated, homeworky or assessed until that year.

I think my daughter's preschool is a good example of the kind of learning I like to see up to the age of kindergarten. The children are in one class 3 - 5 years old. The VPK (voluntary pre-k) group gets siphoned off for sections to do the work they'd get assessed on (which irks me but it is what has to happen in the school system now). But for the rest of the day, they count by skipping rope or do math by playing games and they have lots and lots of free play with toys that aid learning and toys that are just toys. The focus is a lot on life skills not just academic. It is so wonderful to go there at pick-up time and see how much they play.

ETA: My daughter's preschool teacher tested her on VPK. Yes, they get tested at that level too lately! She is not VPK yet, but it happened because the teacher and I was discussing whether I should try to get her in grade one a year earlier (since she misses the cutoff date by simply a few days). Then we went over the test together and I cannot believe how narrow it is. Many times I can see students answering with more imaginative and more accurate answers than are accepted but the answer isn't valid. Or the wording the tester has to use is so long and drawn out that by the time the instruction is finished, even I was at times confused at what the question actually was.

I hate standardized tests in genernal, but I also believe they do have some place in education. If a child is mature and they understand that the tests are expecting only narrow answers, they can give them in that fashion. For young kids (idk, up to age 10 or so?) I think they are just stupid.
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:40 AM   #3
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Drinks her not-just-a-smoothie pina coladas in ALL CAPS in front of her preschoolers before she takes her CDs and goes home.
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Re: Public School Kindergarten in modern times...what do you think?

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Originally Posted by vatblack View Post
Yes, I am not sure why kids have to read and write at ages before 7 (or rather, the year in which they turn 7). Then when they do not keep up (perhaps due to maturity problems) they are send on the "special needs" track (not truly special needs in the sense that the child is syndromic, but in the sens that they get special help). I think we'll have far fewer kids with "problems" if we waited until the year they turned 7 to start teaching formally.

That does not mean they do not get exposed to learning. Just that it isn't regulated, homeworky or assessed until that year.

I think my daughter's preschool is a good example of the kind of learning I like to see up to the age of kindergarten. The children are in one class 3 - 5 years old. The VPK (voluntary pre-k) group gets siphoned off for sections to do the work they'd get assessed on (which irks me but it is what has to happen in the school system now). But for the rest of the day, they count by skipping rope or do math by playing games and they have lots and lots of free play with toys that aid learning and toys that are just toys. The focus is a lot on life skills not just academic. It is so wonderful to go there at pick-up time and see how much they play.

ETA: My daughter's preschool teacher tested her on VPK. Yes, they get tested at that level too lately! She is not VPK yet, but it happened because the teacher and I was discussing whether I should try to get her in grade one a year earlier (since she misses the cutoff date by simply a few days). Then we went over the test together and I cannot believe how narrow it is. Many times I can see students answering with more imaginative and more accurate answers than are accepted but the answer isn't valid. Or the wording the tester has to use is so long and drawn out that by the time the instruction is finished, even I was at times confused at what the question actually was.

I hate standardized tests in genernal, but I also believe they do have some place in education. If a child is mature and they understand that the tests are expecting only narrow answers, they can give them in that fashion. For young kids (idk, up to age 10 or so?) I think they are just stupid.
I'm going to save myself time in writing how I feel and agree with you 100%

I teach Pre-K/VPK and yup, we do have the tests, which are basically the FAIR tests for VPK. They have to be submitted,recorded, etc.

BUT our Pre-K is what Kindergarten should be and was when I was little [although back in the 70s it was 1/2 day]. We do learn our alphabet/phonics/shapes/numbers, BUT there is Play!!! Learning by play!!

I hate that my son's kindergarten year is AWFUL because they want them to sit quietly for 40 minutes while they do math. Sit for 45 minutes in specials quietly.

I do realize there has to be order. I mean I KNOW this being a teacher!! But goodness, they can't even talk at lunch time. There is no socialization anymore, no recess. It's been a horrible year plus finding out he has special needs as well has made it doubly hard

It has become overwhelming. Kindergarten for my oldest son [who is ASD was much better but he was in and is in an ESE class where she does do play and has a balance.]

But for Aaron, I hate it for him.
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:44 AM   #4
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Re: Public School Kindergarten in modern times...what do you think?

Ha! In my part of the country pre-k is considered babysitting. They wont recognize any learning taking place until next year when they go to "real school". Its insulting considering that I sent myself to college and continue to pay my loans from the 4 years of what was obviously very expensive babysitting training where they didnt teach me any of the same courses that your "real school" teacher went through...tongue in cheek.

It never ceases to amaze me how little child psychology is taken into account in early elementary school. I completely agree with the pp and wish that there was more like minded parents in my area! Some days I feel like I am drowning as a teacher in this world where parents think these kids should learn more, more, more. Never actually doing any research into whether or not our childrens brains are developed enough to handle this kind of knowledge and/or structure. Sigh...this is my soapbox
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Old 02-13-2014, 05:49 AM   #5
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Re: Public School Kindergarten in modern times...what do you think?

I think every school is different and has different rules about things. My oldest attends a public school.

I have been very happy with my oldest classes so far. He is a 1st grader this year. I didnt' get to visit his class in K as much as I have for 1st grade. They did lots of hands on/play learning. Math was simple match. They have lots of play based centers that do daily--kitchen, reading, puzzles/games, building, ect. My DS thrived. They continued to learn letters, learn to write, worked on site words. They were not expect to be quite for 45 minutes at a time.

Lunch time is controlled choas. As I like to say. The kids can talk freely to their friends as long as they stay in their seats. I try to go once a moth and eat lunch with him

Even in 1st grade the move around a lot. (I have volunteered a few times so got to be a "fly on the wall") His teacher has lots of interactive reading things where they get to get up and dance around to music/words on the computer to practice site words. The have one special a day where they leave the room-- media, health/wellness (twice week), art, I can't think of the others.

They get 2 recess a day--unless the temp is below 15F-- They do lots of hands on learning. His teacher also posts lots of pictures of what the kids do daily on the private FB page. Pumpkin carving day was awesome. It was their math lesson for the day also. they had to count, measure, weigh, guess, ect. I got to help with it.
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Old 02-13-2014, 06:01 AM   #6
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Re: Public School Kindergarten in modern times...what do you think?

This is my second child with this teacher in kindergarten and we love her. She does her best by her kids and loves them all, you can see that. But her hands are tied. In our district, there's a lot of very poor kids who haven't had the benefit of a stay at home parent or quality care while parents are at work or even the "luxury" of knowing where their next meal is coming from. A lot of them aren't native english speakers. So there's a big push for independence and accountability and education because they AREN'T getting it at home. We are a title 1 school and nearly all of the students get services. I wish there was more play but it's extremely limited because some of the students need SO much help to bring them up to the state standards that there's no time for it. Nevertheless, my kids have all done well and enjoyed this school. There's quite a bit of community here and if you give these kids even a little encouragement, they flourish. I volunteer a bit in the school with some of their various programs and I'm thrilled that when i go in there, I get treated like a total rockstar. My kids' cousins are there. They have teachers who love them. It's great place despite the pressures placed on them with testing.
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Old 02-13-2014, 06:06 AM   #7
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Re: Public School Kindergarten in modern times...what do you think?

I agree with the pps, it's all too much too soon. DD is in kindy this year, she loved school when she did a half day of pre-k the last two years. It was fun and she learned. This year it is overwhelming and she is frustrated and already hating school. It really makes me sad for her to be this unhappy about school already. Then we have to fight every night to get the hour+ of homework she has done.

I have considered finishing up all but the student teaching part of an elementary ed degree so we can home school the rest of the kids until they are a little older. Luckily, I was an indecisive student and it would only that me about a year to finish up those classes.
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Old 02-13-2014, 06:19 AM   #8
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I have considered finishing up all but the student teaching part of an elementary ed degree so we can home school the rest of the kids until they are a little older. Luckily, I was an indecisive student and it would only that me about a year to finish up those classes.
I don't homeschool but I'm wondering why you would feel you have to finish your degree before you homeschool? I'm sure you're more than qualified to teach your children!

OP-- I wish sometimes I was homeschooling my child. My son is in kindergarten this year. He has ASD and receives some assistance in a regular classroom as well as pullout time. Academically he can learn what is expected but has a hard time with the overwhelming expectations of the classroom. I wish they spent more time reinforcing the expectations while doing things that 5yos like to do to -- learning through play instead of worksheets. And allowing more movement and social time. He does get recess each day. I overall love his school but agree with PPs that the teachers don't have much choice when they are expected to meet certain standards. I know the teachers at our school seem just as frustrated as I am.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:12 AM   #9
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Re: Public School Kindergarten in modern times...what do you think?

I've tried typing out my response 5 times now but can't accomplish it without it being 12 paragraphs long. I'll save you the lecture and say that absolutely kids are being pushed too fast, too young and that it hinders education at older ages.
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:21 AM   #10
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I get the feeling that Canadian kindergarten is vastly different.

DS will start K this September. He has a late birthday, so he'll still be 4 when he starts. Looking at the school board website, they only expect the students to know the very basics of counting, colours, letters. They need to be comfortable holding a crayon, and exposed to reading books with a parent. They are not expected to read, write, do math, etc.

That being said, there is a preschool in the neighbourhood that many of the kids go to that does teach the kids reading and writing, but the school district assumes most kids in K haven't had any prior education.

I'm not sure if K kids get homework, but an hour each night seems excessive. I never even had that much in high school!
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