What Ever Happened to Kindergarten?
One of the best things about kindergarten used to be the playful approach toward learning. Kindergarten used to be an ease-way to prepare children for 16 years of mandated, academic-achievement focused elementary school-through-college. But it has since turned into a legitimate grade, with classroom tests, assignments, and homework given to students (and their parents) in compliance with regimented content standards.
Kindergartners are faced with a mandated barrage of academic worksheets, half an hour of reading every night, classroom testing, and report-card grades handed out to 5-year-olds. I believe academia can still be presented in a fun manner, and it’s up to us to prepare fun curriculum for our kindergartners. I promise it is more fun for us to teach them that way.
Fun “Career Day” Curriculum
Complimentary lesson plans can be taught right along with weekly or monthly kindergarten “career day”. To your students this means dress-up days, and play-acting in different career fields. You can request students come dressed in “career day” costumes, or provide a supply of hats, overcoats, and props, in a converted toy box or trunk as I did.
Allow your students to dress-the-part, and then have them spend their usual day acting-out within their chosen careers, to begin imprinting positive and purposeful goals for their lives. What you can help your kids believe for life-goals, you can help them achieve through play.
Future Career Selections
Easy-to-read picture books with career-preparation themes can be checked out from the local library, and provide regular field trips there for story-time. Children’s books can explain specialties within career leanings, and some even provide the educational paths toward specific careers presented in colorful illustrations.
Some of your students will choose to follow in their parent’s footsteps, and may learn even more about what their parents actually do at work. This can also help children appreciate their parents’ educational-career goals and accomplishments that much more.
Making Career Booklets
Photograph students in their career attire, and paste it on the cover of a career booklet. These are easily constructed by you or your staff, consisting of work sheets, side-by-side on standard 8 ½” x 11″ paper. Folding these sheets in half make several 4″ x 5 ½” pages, bound by laces or staples.
Work sheets can list specific careers with hats, incorporate vocabulary words, stories to read, simple arithmetic symbols and problems, to create a professional student resume. For even more fun, add multiple career booklets throughout the year. Create monthly changing student-career dossiers, to give young students a purpose for achieving an education, and graduating with their degrees.
My hope is that learning continues to be as fun as kindergarten used to be, at every grade level. Remember that it takes an exceptional person to enthusiastically teach even the most boring academic-subject requirements. Facilitate your students with the desire to retain knowledge, as it is playfully imparted it to them.