Developmentally appropriate kindergarten classrooms encourage the growth of children’s self-esteem, their identities, their independence and their individual strengths.
Kindergarten marks an important transition from preschool to the primary grades, it is important that children still get to be children—getting kindergartners ready for primary school does not mean substituting academics for play time, forcing children to master first grade “skills,” on relying on tests to assess children’s success.
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 Lego, 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
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
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.