They are learning routines, how to walk in a line, how to behave in an assembly of 200 kids, listening to bells go off every 40 minutes. These are the Key Experiences that kids should learn in JK/AK, not reading and writing.
|Kindergarten teachers think this is a creative craft.|
They all look the same., pre-cut butterflies.
and stages. Playing with hands-on activities, running, touching, playing with water, sand, cooking, listening to music, singing, making rhymes, cutting and pasting, role play. Even their art work all looks the same in JK/SK classrooms. It isn't open-ended, personal expressions. Teacher precut materials in order for the kids to all have a piece of art work that looks acceptable.
It's not so much that kids are 'mastering' gr. 1/2 curriculum. The likely problem is the JK and SK teachers are using gr. 1/2 curriculum in the JK/SK settings. I saw this with my own daughter, now 35 years old, who entered Kindergarten knowing how to read. She did endless worksheets where she circled all the things that were red.
Learning to read involves much pre-reading prep, and identification of letters and numbers. We didn't teach them to write their names until later in SK. These kids come to school, from families who work at this, already printing their names, doing art work, using scissors, and coloured pencils, rather than crayons.
My other issue with FDK is the size of the classes. My granddaughter is 4 and she is going into a class of 30 JK/AK students. Granted there is one teacher and two ECEs (to provide before and after-school care, as well) but what a zoo this will be. They don't know how they will cope. How do you do crowd control for a group of 30 kids? ECEs are used to having a Day Care ratio of 1:8.
Some of these kids aren't fully toilet trained. Some are still 3 years old, in a class with kids as old as 5. How does one encourage activty-based learning, free play, when they are going to have to monitor the numbers of kids in the activity centre, block centre, art centre, dress-up centre, book centre?
This massive experiment, in lieu of good day care, is having an impact on our wee ones. I fear for their generation.