What Kids Learn in Kindergarten

Kindergarten is a major step for kids and parents alike. It’s important to know what your children will be learning so you can prepare them at home.

Learning to recognize the alphabet’s letters is a major focus in kindergarten, as is learning each letter’s sound. Kids will also begin to put letters together to form words.


Oral language development is a key focus in kindergarten. This includes listening comprehension and vocabulary building, as well as phonological awareness and phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify and distinguish initial sounds in words, and it helps students decode word beginnings and ends. It also enables children to recognize and generate words that rhyme and share spelling patterns (e.g., hat, mat).

Kids in kindergarten will begin to identify sight words. These are high-frequency words that appear frequently in texts but do not follow standard phonics patterns, so they can be difficult for young readers to decode. Teachers may display these words on flashcards or create a classroom word wall to help students learn them quickly and easily.

In addition to learning their sight words, kindergarteners will be introduced to basic number concepts. They will learn to recognize, order, and count objects up to 30. They will also practice adding and subtracting small numbers.


Math is one of the core subjects in kindergarten that lays the foundation for children to build upon as they progress through elementary school. Early math skills help kids develop critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

The focus in kindergarten is on developing an initial understanding of numbers, basic addition and subtraction, identifying shapes, and creating patterns. Kids also learn about time and calendars.

Counting is taught through the use of concrete props, such as counting objects arranged in lines or arrays. Kindergartners will learn to recognize numbers that come before and after a given number to understand number sequences, which is an important skill they will carry forward into their academic careers.

Kids will also get their first introduction to measurement, learning to compare and classify objects by size, color and other attributes. They will also learn about 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes by drawing, building, constructing and sorting them. And they will start to get the hang of place value, understanding that position makes some numbers bigger than others, such as that 21 is bigger than 12. They’ll even begin to use skip-counting.

Social Studies

The goal of social studies is to help young children understand the world and its systems, such as those governing their families, neighborhoods and schools. The subject also helps students identify and address real world problems to participate in a caring democratic society. Research on early childhood social studies shows that students learn best when the curriculum is engaging and relevant to their lives.

Kindergarten kids are naturally curious about the people and places that surround them. This curiosity can be used to teach them about the culture of other nations and their traditions. For example, kids can learn about different holidays celebrated around the world with pictures and stories. They can also develop spatial thinking by drawing maps of their school and neighborhood.

Many teacher resource guides, activity books and children’s books provide ideas for teaching young children about civics, economics, history and geography. You can also find activities that incorporate the arts and fine motor development skills.


Although science curriculum can vary by state, most kindergarteners learn some of the same basic science concepts. Check your child’s school website or talk with her teacher to find out what the classroom is teaching.

Children’s natural curiosity is a perfect vehicle to introduce them to scientific exploration. Science K nurtures that curiosity by providing daily opportunities to explore the world around them and develop organized, analytical thinking skills.

The McRuffy Science series teaches life science, earth science and physical science, building the foundations of these scientific disciplines that kindergarten students need to understand. Students work with hands-on materials and engage in activities that teach them to observe, record observations, and think and act like scientists.

To help your child build these scientific skills, try doing experiments together at home. For example, fill small containers with different smells to test your child’s sense of smell. Or plant some bean sprouts and watch them grow to learn about the process of life.

What Kids Learn in Kindergarten
Scroll to top