What Happens in Kindergarten?


Kindergarten is a time when children begin to learn the basics of school life. They have to develop a variety of skills, including physical, social and emotional and language and literacy.

Many children will already know how to take turns, be kind to others and follow teacher directions. They might also have the ability to read simple words and write.

Social and Emotional Development

The social-emotional development of children in kindergarten is a critical part of their school experience. Talking with kids about their emotions and facilitating opportunities to build relationships will help them prepare for the social interactions they will encounter in kindergarten.

Kindergarten, or kindy, is a term used around the world to describe children’s transition into formal classroom learning environments. Founded on the philosophy of German educator Friedrich Wilhelm August Frobel, kindergarten activities are designed to give young children a positive social experience before beginning their more structured classroom education.

This study uses participant observations and informal and semistructured interviews to examine how teachers support kindergarten children’s social and emotional development in everyday contexts. It shows that the synergy between environment, play and relationships contributes to an increased likelihood of guided participation in desirable social-emotional understandings and abilities.

Physical Development

In kindergarten children develop a wide range of physical skills that support their social, cognitive and emotional development. This is the area where most children experience a dramatic growth in their ability to control their bodies, and it includes improvements in their fine motor skills, which involve the coordination of small muscle movements such as threading, cutting, pressing and grasping.

This is a key time for establishing patterns of physical activity that will affect their whole lives. Encourage active play indoors and outdoors, create flexible physical development plans and provide plenty of spaces and materials that encourage movement and motor skill development.

Kindergarten is a term used in many countries worldwide for the first year of schooling for children aged three to six years. The system varies, but generally kindergarten provides an opportunity for children to experience being in a group with other children outside their family and home environment. In some countries kindergarten is known as pre-primary or reception.

Language Development

Children’s language development is strongly connected to and supports their cognitive advancement. They use language to make sense of the world around them, and to communicate their thoughts and feelings with other people.

By kindergarten, most children are able to produce the sounds that make up words and to join together simple sentences. They’ll also be able to recognize the different meanings of a large number of words. They may be able to use adjectives and adverbs to describe things, and they’ll know how to form plurals and possessives.

They’ll start to experiment with writing, and they’ll be able to recognize the letters of their own names and some other high-frequency words (or sight words). Their early attempts at writing might look like scribbles, but this is an important part of developing fine motor skills.

It’s very important that children enter kindergarten with a large vocabulary, because research shows that this correlates with their academic success. You can help them expand their vocabularies by intentionally introducing new words to them. For example, by using descriptive words instead of the generic ones such as happy and tired.

Cognitive Development

During kindergarten children begin to use logic and reason. They are able to understand facets of the adult world such as money and telling time, and they may develop special interests that provide a source of motivation. They are able to categorize, sort, and group objects and ideas, and they can recognize relationships such as number concepts and conservation of amounts of clay.

While studies show that cognitive development occurs in orderly sequences for relatively homogeneous populations of children, it is becoming clear that this does not mean that the underlying processes are identical across contexts. A growing consensus in the field seems to be that it is necessary to move beyond the structural approaches of Piaget and Chomsky and start building an approach that focuses on the collaboration of child and environment (Flavell, 1972). This new perspective raises many questions about the nature of developmental unevenness. It also suggests that it will be impossible to understand any behavior without giving a role to the specific collaborative system in which it is performed.

What Happens in Kindergarten?
Scroll to top