The Importance of Kindergarten
Every child’s development follows a pre-determined continuum of growth.
Children learn to crawl and then walk, recognize what symbols mean, and then learn to read, learn about their place in their family, and then learn their place in society. Part of this important growth continuum is kindergarten enrollment. For many children, the kindergarten experience may be the child’s first exposure to formal schooling. Years ago, kindergarten was thought to be an unimportant year for children. However, with new CT Core Standards and the ability of children to understand more complex concepts, kindergarten sets the foundational year for all future education. Children’s brains are ready to learn the concepts being taught, making it a very important year.
National statistics show that many children did not attend preschool or had a more formal preschool experience due to COVID and missed out on early learning experiences. In school, they undergo social and academic development, now more critical than ever.
Kindergarten children develop a sense of the world around them and begin to see it from another child’s point of view. The kindergarten setting provides play-based opportunities to form friendships, hone essential problem-solving skills to work out issues, and develop social identity and self-esteem. This play helps develop skills that have long-lasting effects.
Kindergarten provides valuable foundational experiences for children learning a second language and learning to read. Hearing new phonetic sounds helps students develop their sound acuity, a vital skill in learning to read and speak.
Other academic skills learned during kindergarten include retelling stories with details, combining drawings and words to tell stories, sorting, patterning, learning what one-on-one correspondence is, and adding and subtracting. Children are quick learners in science concepts such as animal habitat, factors that influence force, identifying different weather patterns, and building models to create solutions to a given problem.
Further, kindergarten provides a combination of teacher-initiated and child-directed activities through small and larger group interactions. Through predictable schedules and consistent guidelines, children learn to put their trust in other adults and develop a sense of safety and security. As children begin to think out loud and develop a worldly perspective, their teachers are there to guide their development.
Kindergarten helps to close the achievement gap by providing experiences and opportunities for all children to learn foundational skills necessary for the next 12 years of school. Learning through real-world experiences and active exploration of materials in kindergarten helps children develop the necessary skills for first grade. It is also a year for families and their child’s school to co-create partnerships that support their child’s learning and growth. Please take kindergarten seriously as it is a vitally important year for your child and family. Kindergarten registration begins on January 16, 2024, at www.danbury.k12.ct.us.
Anne E. Mead, Ed. D. is the Director of Family, School, and Community Partnerships for Danbury Public Schools. She can be reached at 203-830-6508 or by email at email@example.com.