What Kids Learn in Kindergarten

Kindergarten is a child’s first experience with structured learning. Teachers help kids develop cognitive skills through playing and creative activities.

They also learn to follow classroom rules and procedures. They’ll build large motor skills through running and jumping, as well as small motor skills through clay and tracing activities.

Kindergartners will also learn about the world around them through science lessons, such as identifying animals and weather. They’ll also start learning about numbers and shapes.

Social and Emotional Development

While academic skills often take center stage when parents think about their children’s school experiences, social-emotional development is also key to children’s success in kindergarten and beyond. According to Great Start, this involves behaviors that reflect a child’s emotional growth and his or her growing abilities to regulate attention, emotions and behavior; establish positive relationships with familiar adults and peers; develop self-confidence; and engage in pro-social behaviors (e.g., sharing and taking turns).

For example, children learn to play with other kids fairly and respectfully. They also learn to express their own feelings, soothe themselves when upset and explore new environments.

A high-quality kindergarten classroom is full of energy and activity, where children engage with both learning materials and each other to facilitate all aspects of development. And, of course, play is a major part of this. As children grow, their spontaneous play becomes more focused, and they use materials to construct and build ideas.

Physical Development

The physical development of children is a key element in kindergarten. It is a transition from the child’s home environment, often with only their parents, to the classroom environment where they must interact with other students and adults on a regular basis.

Children must also develop a positive knowledge of their body, health and nutrition practices and motor skills. This is especially important for the poorer regions of the world as they must work to overcome the environmental deprivations they face on a daily basis.

It is also a time to help children learn how to follow a routine and learn as part of a group. The etymology of the word “kindergarten” means “children’s garden,” and it is indeed a place for children to blossom in their early years.

Language Development

In kindergarten, children learn how to use language at a higher level. They have a more extensive vocabulary and can retell stories or imaginary events. They can understand basic grammatical concepts such as the use of plurals and the past tense verb ‘to be.’

They can also identify and match uppercase and lowercase letters to their sounds, say the first sound of words like ‘cat’ and ‘hat’, and compare things by size. They are also able to follow a simple schedule, read simple books and write their names.

It’s important to remember that each child’s language development varies and is unique. It’s influenced by their genetic makeup and the culture in which they live. It is important to respect a child’s language or dialect as it reflects their identities and experiences in the community. It’s also important to encourage interaction among children, including those who are not yet talking, as this contributes to their oral language development.

Math and Reading

In kindergarten, children learn about counting and comparing. They understand that a pile of 7 toy cars is made up of 3 plus 4 plus one, for instance, and they start learning about addition and subtraction without using pencils and paper.

Kindergartners also practice writing, and their skills improve over the year as they get accustomed to making marks on a page and putting words together. Encourage your child by keeping a special box filled with crayons, markers and other writing materials. Set aside time to allow your child to write, and be sure to read what they’ve written to help reinforce their emerging skills.

Some education policy thought leaders have suggested that the recent declines in reading and math achievement seen among incoming kindergarteners may be due to lingering effects of the Great Recession. However, more research is needed to clarify within- and cross-domain associations between children’s literacy and numeracy development, their parents’ level of education and home learning environment, and their social and emotional development.

What Kids Learn in Kindergarten
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