Monday, November 01, 2004

Full-time kindergartens see less play, more work

[31 October 2004 - Detroit News] The school's curriculum - called "integrated" because it allows children to explore knowledge in various subjects in connection to their environments - stresses early reading and math skills to prepare them for the rigors of first grade. A key goal is for as many children as possible to leave kindergarten with basic reading skills. "It's no longer playing and just socialization," Benezra said. "Everything has an academic bent. The tooth chart isn't really to track lost teeth - it's to help them count." Kindergarten, which is German for "children's garden," is serious stuff these days. With half-day programs giving way to full days in state after state, the curriculum once saved for first grade has been pushed down to 5- and 6-year-olds. Nearly 98 percent of youngsters in the United States attend kindergarten, 60 percent of them in full-day programs, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More

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