10 Signs of a Good Kindergarten Classroom
Kindergarten is a time for children to expand their love of learning,
their general knowledge, their ability to get along with others, and
their interest in reaching out to the world. While kindergarten marks
an important transition from preschool to the primary grades, it is
important that children still get to be children -- getting kindergarten
children ready for elementary school does not mean substituting
academics for play time, forcing children to master first grade
"skills," or relying on standardized tests to assess children's success.
Kindergarten "curriculum" actually includes such events as snack
time, recess, and individual and group activities in addition to those
activities we think of as traditionally educational. Developmentally
appropriate kindergarten classrooms encourage the growth of
children’s self-esteem, their cultural identities, their independence and
their individual strengths. Kindergarten children will continue to
develop control of their own behavior through the guidance and
support of warm, caring adults. At this stage, children are already
eager to learn and possess an innate curiosity. Teachers with a strong
background in early childhood education and child development can
best provide for children what they need to grow physically,
emotionally, and intellectually.
Here are 10 signs of a good kindergarten classroom:
1. Children are playing and working with materials or other
children. They are not aimlessly wandering or forced to sit quietly for
long periods of time.
2. Children have access to various activities throughout the day,
such as block building, pretend play, picture books, paints and other
art materials, and table toys such as Legos, pegboards, and puzzles.
Children are not all doing the same things at the same time.
3. Teachers work with individual children, small groups, and the
whole group at different times during the day. They do not spend time
only with the entire group.
4. The classroom is decorated with children’s original artwork, their
own writing with invented spelling, and dictated stories.
5. Children learn numbers and the alphabet in the context of their
everyday experiences. Exploring the natural world of plants and
animals, cooking, taking attendance, and serving snack are all
meaningful activities to children.
6. Children work on projects and have long periods of time (at least
one hour) to play and explore. Filling out worksheets should not be
their primary activity.
7. Children have an opportunity to play outside every day that
weather permits. This play is never sacrificed for more instructional
8. Teachers read books to children throughout the day, not just at
group story time.
9. Curriculum is adapted for those who are ahead as well as those
who need additional help. Because children differ in experiences and
background, they do not learn the same things at the same time in the
10. Children and their parents look forward to school. Parents feel
safe sending their child to kindergarten. Children are happy; they are
not crying or regularly sick.
Individual kindergarten classrooms will vary, and curriculum will
vary according to the interests and backgrounds of the children. But
all developmentally appropriate kindergarten classrooms will have
one thing in common: the focus will be on the development of the child
as a whole. (NAEYC)