The Benefits of Kindergarten


Kindergarten provides children with the foundation of learning reading, writing and elementary math. They develop their ability to follow instructions, lengthen their attention span and learn through play.

Kindergartners also work on counting, recognizing and describing common shapes (circle, square, triangle) and organizing objects by color or size. Their fine motor skills grow and soon their scribbles will form legible letters!

Social Skills

Children are social beings from the start, and kindergarten is when they begin to learn how to interact with others. They watch how adults react and take cues from their peers in a variety of settings. They learn how to interpret facial expressions, tone of voice and body language in their interactions with each other and others.

They develop empathy by role-playing situations that help them understand what another person might be feeling and how to respond to them. Children can also learn and practice a wide range of social skills through play and games, including how to share toys or resolve conflicts, as well as the ability to identify their own feelings and recognize those of others.

A 20-year study found that children who enter kindergarten with strong social skills are more likely to succeed in school and have better employment opportunities than those without these skills. Penn GSE has developed a toolkit that includes scientifically valid measures of 14 social emotional learning skills and shows teachers how to report these in their kindergarten report cards.


Kindergarten students learn to count and recognize numbers. They may also start learning basic addition and subtraction, and will begin to understand the concept of base 10 (each number has a specific place value). Students might be introduced to addition strategies such as “doubles” (6+6 or 4+4) and turnarounds (2+1 = 3, so 1+2 is 3). They’ll begin inventing simple word problems that illustrate Addition and Subtraction.

They might explore patterns and classification. Children enjoy sorting and classifying objects, often based on one characteristic such as color or shape.

They’ll also begin to use a number line to help them find the value of numbers between 11 and 19. And they may learn greater than/less than, by counting the sides of a specific shape. They might create a picture graph or pictograph to collect information, like their classmates’ favorite season. They’ll also begin to tell time, both days and weeks.


Kindergartners aren’t likely to conduct sophisticated scientific experiments, but they can be captivated by hands-on lessons and activities that allow them to see, hear, touch and taste scientific concepts. These subjects nurture curiosity and foster a love of learning that can extend into other academic and real-life experiences.

In life sciences, kindergartners explore the similarities and differences between plants and animals, including their identifying characteristics (birds have feathers, flowers grow seeds). They’ll learn about weather and seasons as they observe changes from day to day and across the year.

Physical science helps kindergartners discover properties of objects such as shape, size, color, temperature, odor and flexibility. They’ll use tools to sort piles of items and experiment with materials, such as dropping an Alka-Seltzer tablet into water and watching the bubbles cling to popcorn kernels. They’ll also measure and compare objects using their weight. These basic skills are important building blocks of future science instruction.


By this age, a child has developed a wide range of oral language skills. They can follow a few simple directions and speak clearly enough that most people understand them. They may also be able to retell a story they’ve heard or talk about things that happened to them recently.

A child’s written language skills are also developing. They are aware that letters make up words and may begin to write their own name. They may also start to read simple books with tier 1 vocabulary and simple temporal sequences, such as ‘The Very Busy Spider’ or ‘Dear Zoo.’

In some countries, kindergarten may be part of a formal education system while in others it may refer to daycare or preschool. For example, in Macedonia kindergarten is called detska gradinka or zabavishte, and in the Netherlands it is known as kleuterschool or Frobel school (named after Friedrich Frobel). In Korea it is yuciweon or yuchi won and children attend between the ages of three and five.

The Benefits of Kindergarten
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