What to Expect in Kindergarten

Kindergarten is the year kids learn everything from basics about the world around them to the foundations of literacy and math. They also develop important cognitive skills like learning to pay attention and lengthen their attention span.

Children also start to understand two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes in kindergarten. They may even begin to compare things like size, and understand basic addition and subtraction.


A major focus in kindergarten is helping children develop language skills, including learning how letters make sounds and how words work together. It’s a time when they begin to recognize higher-frequency words on street signs and billboards, for example, and search for those same words in books.

Reading aloud to them – especially their favorite books – is also important. This helps them link the spoken word to the written, which will aid their literacy development as they progress through school. Talk about what you’re reading with your kids and encourage their questions.


Children explore a range of mathematical concepts in kindergarten. This includes counting, number sense, basic addition and subtraction, and learning about measurement (length, weight, height). Children will also start to understand money.

Integrating significant mathemati- cal ideas in all activities and classroom routines is critical for early childhood learners. However, the curriculum should not become, in the name of integration, a grab bag of any mathemati- cal experience that seems related to a topic area.

Instead, a framework of high-quality standards, curriculum, and assessment should be developed. This framework should offer teachers a common language and meaningful, coherent e

Social Studies

Social studies is a broad subject, encompassing many disciplines such as history, geography, economics and civics. Young children need to develop understanding and positive values that build a foundation for democratic citizenship.

Kindergarten students should begin by learning about their family, school, city and state. They should also explore world cultures and understand the importance of American symbols, traditions and values.

IXL offers a wide range of engaging kindergarten social studies worksheets that encourage kids to build important life skills. With activities like transportation matching, spatial concepts and community helper insights, these lessons enable young learners to practice their fine motor skills, improve vocabulary and learn about their surroundings.


Science is a critical subject for kindergarten, and it supports children’s natural curiosity about the world around them. However, the increased focus on literacy and the removal of play materials from classrooms have limited opportunities for hands-on science.

High-quality science programs nurture children’s interest in science by exploring the similarities and differences between animals and plants; identifying the defining characteristics of objects, such as size, shape, and color; and investigating the changing weather patterns from day to night and across seasons. These basic skills can help a child become an informed scientist in later life.


Art promotes creativity and self-expression, allowing children to communicate their ideas and emotions visually. It also encourages critical thinking and analytical skills. Children learn the seven elements of art — line, shape, form, space, value, color, and texture — and use them to create and appreciate visual compositions.

Art and crafts improve fine motor skills by requiring kids to manipulate different materials, such as paint brushes, crayons, paper, tape, and clay. It also helps them develop the muscles in their hands and wrists, which will ultimately help with other tasks like writing and buttoning a coat.


At this stage in life, music helps kids develop cognitive and emotional growth. It also supports literacy skills as well as social and physical development.

Lullabies and songs help children learn to recognize their own names, as well as the names of family members and friends. Musical elements like repetition, rhyme and rhythm help children identify the sounds of letters. They also encourage vocabulary development, which is a major predictor of future reading success.

Music and movement activities increase children’s gross motor skills, promoting their balance (proprioception), flexibility and spatial awareness. They also promote cooperation, as they learn to follow a teacher’s lead and perform group dances.

Physical Education

Although not considered a core academic subject, physical education (or “phys ed”) is an important part of students’ overall school experience. It is the only opportunity for most children to receive instruction from trained physical education teachers in activities that are designed to promote health-related student learning.

Research shows that high-quality PE programs can help children achieve skill development and knowledge growth through participation in vigorous- or moderate-intensity physical activity. The link between PE performance and the health-related student learning outcomes of character, competence, confidence and connection is strong.

What to Expect in Kindergarten
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