Kindergarten – The First Steps in a Child’s Life

Kindergarten is a big milestone in a child’s life. He or she may be nervous or excited to start school and develop early academic skills.

Kindergartens are found in virtually every culture and can range from half day to full day learning. Some kids with special needs or English Language Learners may benefit from a shorter day.

Language and Literacy

Language and literacy skills are a central part of kindergarten. Children learn to use their growing vocabularies and develop understandings of the sounds and structure of language as they participate in class conversations and engage in shared book reading with teachers.

Kindergarten students will also begin to recognize and write upper- and lowercase letters and use them in sentences. They’ll understand sentence structure, such as the role of subject and verb in a question, and will practice writing questions and answers themselves.

For families, this is a good time to continue the home literacy practices that matter most, such as nightly family shared reading and library visits. Preschools and home-based providers should also create structures for sharing student records with district kindergarten teachers, as this is often most students’ first interaction with the public school system.


Kids develop math skills in a variety of ways. When they sort their stuffed animals by color or group their toys into piles of similar types, they’re practicing basic math concepts like grouping, sorting, and classifying. They also learn about pattern recognition, which is important not only for math but for music, reading (rhyming, predicting text) and life in general.

Kindergarten students start to understand addition and subtraction, perceiving minus as pulling apart and adding as bringing together. They also begin to recognize 2-D and 3-D shapes, a foundation for geometry.

It’s vital for children to learn about abstract concepts like numbers, shapes and measurements at a concrete level. This helps them make early connections and build a math foundation that will last a lifetime.


Young children explore their natural curiosity through hands-on activities and experiences. They discover concepts and ideas, build knowledge of science through repetition and re-engagement over time, and develop analytical thinking skills.

They learn how to make observations and use the senses, such as sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell, to gather information. They identify the similarities and differences between objects, and they understand that seeking answers to questions they pose is a core aspect of scientific inquiry.

While they won’t conduct complex scientific experiments in kindergarten, kids will learn how to predict and measure things, such as the time it takes for water to freeze or how much snow falls from a tree. They’ll also learn about plants and animals, exploring their identifying characteristics.

Social Studies

Social studies encompasses a broad array of subjects, including history, geography and economics. Educators use social studies to help students build an understanding of the foundations of United States history, while also learning more about the world through other cultures, such as those found in different regions of the globe.

Kindergarten offers students their first sense of community outside of the home as they become a part of the classroom community. They learn about other children, how to follow classroom rules and work together as a team on class projects.

The social studies curriculum also introduces young children to geographic concepts such as weather and seasons, while educating them about the various cultural traditions celebrated by people throughout the world. In addition, kindergarten students begin to learn about civics — the responsibilities and rights of being an active citizen within a democratic society.

Creative Arts

When you think of the creative arts, you may envision musicians like Mozart and Michael Jackson, painters such as Picasso and Jackson Pollock, dancers such as Misty Copeland, or authors such as J.K. Rowling. Creative arts are activities that foster children’s imagination and cultivate their abilities across virtually all domains.

For example, a simple art activity like painting tulips with bubble wrap can be a great way to teach color-blending skills, while also teaching about the life cycle of a flower. Or, making leaf people can be a wonderful way for kindergarteners to use their creativity and fine motor skills.

Musical experimentation can also promote children’s creativity. Encourage children to imitate beats, sounds and words by providing a variety of rhythms, patterns, pitches and tempos.

Kindergarten – The First Steps in a Child’s Life
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