Back to School: The NEW Kindergarten Means “More Testing, Less Play”
Anyone remember half day Kindergarten? Anyone remember naps once it became full day? Both of these are traditions from the past.
But there are new traditions. One is to “red shirt” your child increasing the average starting age to 6 years. You can find studies on the benefit of starting a child later.
Another tradition, is that of having a child repeat Kindergarten to improve academics. However, these are not today’s conversations. Well, except to ask, why are these new traditions increasing?
Which leads me to…
Today’s conversation which revolves around the new and current expectations put before each child arriving on the first day of Kindergarten.
Let’s start with less recess, less center-time (non-directed play opportunities), more seat work, more tests, more grades on report cards, more stress, more anxiety, more behavioral challenges, leading to less time to enjoy the joys of childhood which were once associated with Kindergarten.
Did I mention the rise in challenges children seem to be experiencing with sustained attention and social communication interaction?
As a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist, I see more and more of my friends struggling with success with the pre-requisites for learning: Sustained attention, the ability to regulate their behaviors, take turns, follow auditory directions, express themselves and more…
At the same time, parents report less recess, decreased physical education, long days sitting, challenges to schedule after school activities, no time for unstructured play, difficulty with peer interactions and more…
From National Public Radio (NPR), read more here about “More Testing, Less Play: Study Finds Higher Expectations for Kindergartners”.
Watch for more on this topic from our Center!
ADDENDUM: September 28, 2016
More on the Kindergarten: “How Are Kindergarten Teachers Balancing More Rigorous Standards?” by Katrina Schwartz on Mind/Shift