After two rewarding years of teaching pre-K, I felt ready for the new challenge of teaching kindergarten. I knew there would be some substantial changes as I moved from the world of pre-K to the more traditional K-12 school model. After all, DC kindergartners are expected to master the more rigorous Common Core standards which include the requirement for students to “read emergent-reader texts with purpose and understanding.” Nap time was gone and lesson planning would soon consume a large portion of my weekends.
These were all changes I had anticipated and even welcomed. The major change I did not anticipate was the dramatic shift away from play-based learning in favor of direct teacher instruction. The play kitchen was gone, along with the vast stretches of time dedicated to center-based learning in which students were able to choose their preferred activity. I spent a lot of my time as a kindergarten teacher trying to find the right balance between allowing opportunities for play and ensuring that all of my students experienced significant academic growth throughout the school year.
Available at: http://www.edcentral.org/kinderplay/