A Garden for Children
“New seeds must be planted to germinate and grow, if we will have the tree of humanity blossom…. In the children lies the seed-corn of the future!” ~Friedrich Froebel
Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852) was a German educator who started the first Kindergarten – “garden for children” – more than a hundred years ago. Froebel gave his school that name because it was a place that helped children to grow.
Kindergarten is intended for children between the ages of four and six. Froebel actually started out as a teacher of older children, but whenever he had trouble with a child, he felt that it was because the child had learned the wrong things when he was younger. Froebel decided that it was important to teach little children the fundamentals they need to prepare them for further training later.
Kindergarten focuses on growing young minds through self-expression and creativity. Froebel found that the best way to teach little children is simply by letting them do what they like best – playing games, building with blocks, assembling puzzles, making crafts, going on nature walks, listening to stories and poems, singing, drawing and painting. The kindergarten environment is filled with hands-on experiences designed to stimulate curiosity and a love of learning.
Language Arts - The kindergarten language arts program encourages children to become successful readers, writers, and communicators. Children are introduced to a wide variety of authors and illustrators, and literature is used throughout the curriculum, both nonfiction and fiction in all its forms. Kindergartners hear stories and learn how printed words communicate knowledge and ideas.
Reading – Read-aloud time is for reading text that the children are unable to read on their own. This develops their ear for phonics and the rhythm of the language, while developing their listening, sequencing, and comprehension skills. Independent reading may begin with learning to read from left to right, one-to-one word correspondence, phonics, word patterns, and comprehension strategies.
Writing - Children are introduced to the conventions of handwriting in using proper pencil grip and correct letter formation, starting with their own name. The expression of written ideas in kindergarten begins with the teacher writing the child’s words (dictation). Shared and interactive writing include group letter writing and list making. Children also engage in independent writing through the creation of little books and personal journals.
Mathematics – Kindergarten children construct the foundations of mathematical knowledge through interaction with tactile materials or “manipulatives.” Friedrich Froebel invented his own “Froebel blocks” to teach mathematical concepts such as geometry, shape, color, structure, and pattern. Today there are many types of manipulative materials available including colored tiles, pattern blocks, attribute shapes, counting bears, and snap cubes. Kindergartners are exposed to the concepts of patterning, sorting, classifying, number recognition, counting, estimation, problem solving, graphing, geometry, and measurement.
Science – In kindergarten, science is discovery-based and inquiry-driven using objects and organisms in the classroom and outdoors. Children make observations, ask questions, make predictions, and search for scientific explanations. Themed units can include such topics as seasons and weather, the five senses, colors, the human skeleton, nutrition, shadows, magnets, nature, animal habitats, seeds and plants, ocean life, mammals, and insects.
Social Studies – Kindergarten children learn beginning concepts in geography, history, and civics. Thematic units commonly include “Ourselves and Our Families,” “Houses and Homes,” and “My Neighborhood and My World” as they explore how people and places are alike and different. Throughout the year, children learn about and participate in holiday traditions and special celebrations.
Art - Students look at and talk about works of art by well-known artists. Children gain experience in a variety of art processes including drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, and sculpture. Projects are often tied to seasonal themes.
Music - Kindergartners sing songs, listen to classical music, and study musical concepts such as loud and soft, fast and slow, high and low sounds, etc. The children also work on maintaining a steady beat while playing percussion instruments that are developmentally appropriate like the hand drum, rhythm sticks, wood blocks, and tambourines.
Physical Education - Kindergarten P.E. focuses on spatial awareness, cooperation, and following rules. These concepts are taught through a variety of fun games and activities.
Did You Know…? Friedrich Froebel viewed education as a means to awaken religious feeling in children and provide an understanding of the eternal truths of Christianity.
Kindergarten Teaching Tips
Kindergarten Reading Tips
Choose a comfortable spot and a convenient time for reading. Pick a picture book, or a longer book of which you will read only a short part. Discuss the cover before reading the book. Ask your child what he or she thinks the story will be about. Continue to ask questions as you read, and let the child guess what will happen next. This will help your child's understanding of the story. Suggestions for questions are: What happened? Why? Is it something that could happen in real life? Has this ever happened to you? How would you feel or what would you do if you were the character? How did you like the ending? What was your favorite part of the story? Read to your child often, even if it means reading the same book over and over again.
Kindergarten Reading List
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst. (Alexander has one of those days when everything goes wrong.)
Alphabet Adventure, by Audrey Wood (Join 26 lowercase letters as they help a child learn his ABC's.)
Anno's Counting Book, by Anno. (The seasons change and the numbers get higher in this clever counting book.)
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman. (A baby bird falls from his nest and searches for his mother.)
Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell Hoban. (Frances, an endearing raccoon, loves to compose her own songs but hates to try new kinds of food.)
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin (Brown Bear sees a different animal on each page from a blue horse to a purple cat.)
Can I Keep Him? by Steven Kellogg. (Arnold tries to convince his mother to let him keep a wide variety of creatures.)
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin, Jr. (When the whole alphabet tries to climb to the top of the coconut tree, it leads to disaster in this rhyme/chant.)
Clifford The Big Red Dog, by Norman Bridwell. (What is it like to have a REALLY big dog?)
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, by Judi Barrett. (Life is delicious in the town of Chewandswallow where it rains soup and juice, snows mashed potatoes, and blows storms of hamburgers until the weather takes a turn for the worse.)
Curious George, by H.A. Rey. (Curiosity gets George the monkey into trouble until he learns to put it to good use.)
Deep In The Forest, by Brinton Turkle. (In this wordless story, a little bear does all kinds of mischief in a log cabin while the people are not home.)
Everybody Cooks Rice, by Norah Dooley. (A child is sent to find a younger brother at dinner time and is introduced to a variety of cultures through encountering the many different ways rice is prepared at the different households visited.)
Five Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed, by Eileen Christelow. (Here is a rollicking counting rhyme to be read again and again.)
Frog and Toad series, by Arnold Lobel. (Lobel's charming easy readers tell of two friends with very different personalities.)
George and Martha series, by James Marshall. (These two friends make for a series of fun stories, good for reading aloud or for beginning readers.)
Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown. (A little rabbit wishes good night to each thing in his moonlit room.)
Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBradney. (Little Nutbrown Hare and his father keep trying to top each other as they express their love.)
Harold And The Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson. (Harold goes for a walk with the help of his purple crayon.)
Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuri. (A duckling is missing, and the mother duck needs your help to find him.)
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen. (Mother and child ponder the different ways a dinosaur can say goodnight.)
I Took My Frog To The Library, by Eric A. Kimmel. (A girl brings her pets to the library with disastrous results.)
If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, by Laura Numeroff. (If you give a mouse a cookie, you will be surprised at the other requests he makes.)
In The Tall, Tall Grass, by Denise Fleming. (A caterpillar crawling through the grass sees and hears many other creatures from moles to fireflies.)
Is It Red? Is It Yellow? Is It Blue? by Tana Hoban. (You will be intrigued by this look at colors, sizes, and shapes.)
Is Your Mama A Llama? by Deborah Guarino. (Lloyd the Llama asks all of his friends the same question and finds out, in rhyme, about other types of animals.)
Jamberry, by Bruce Degen. (A little boy walking in the forest meets a big lovable bear that takes him on a delicious berry-picking adventure in the magical world of Berryland.)
Little Red Hen, by Paul Galdone.
Make Way For Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey. (A family of ducks looks for a permanent home in Boston.)
May I Bring a Friend? By Beatrice Schenk de Regniers. (Zany tale of a bevy of beasts. Caldecott Medal winner.)
Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag. (Wacky illustrations and a funny story yield an all-time classic that entertains while it illustrates numerical concepts.)
One Is A Snail, Ten Is A Crab, by April Pulley Sayre. (How many feet do different animals have?)
Planting A Rainbow, by Lois Ehlert. (A mother and child plant a rainbow of flowers in the family garden.)
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, by Lois Ehlert. (Follow the growth of a sugar maple tree through the eyes of a child.)
Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon. (A young bat who gets lost is raised by birds. He thinks he is a bird until he gets lost again.)
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Steig. (A young donkey unwisely wishes himself into a rock in this charming picture book.)
Ten Black Dots, by Donald Crews. (What can you do with ten black dots?)
Ten, Nine, Eight, by Molly Bang. (At bedtime a little girl counts down from 10 to 1 with her father's help.)
The Carrot Seed, by Ruth Krauss. (Classic story of a seed sprouting is a great choice for warm-weather reading.)
The Cat In The Hat, by Dr. Seuss. (On a rainy day a wacky cat comes for a visit while the mother is out.)
The Gingerbread Baby, by Jan Brett. (Does Matti have an idea to catch the Gingerbread Baby and will it work?)
The Grouchy Ladybug, by Eric Carle. (A grouchy ladybug, looking for a fight, challenges everyone she meets regardless of their size or strength.)
The Little Engine That Could, by Piper Watty. (Little Engine saves the day.)
The Napping House, by Audrey Wood. (A troublesome flea disturbs a number of sleeping creatures.)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle.
Three By The Sea, by Edward Marshall. (After their picnic lunch, Spider, Lolly, and Sam tell their best stories.
Tuesday, by David Wiesner. (On Tuesday night the lily pads in the pond suddenly take flight with the frogs sitting on them.)
When The Wind Stops, by Charlotte Zolotow. (A young boy has a number of questions for his mother.)
Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. (A naughty little boy, sent to bed without his supper, sails to the land of the wild things where he becomes king.)
Zin! Zin! Zin! The Violin, by Lloyd Moss. (Ten musical instruments demonstrate their unique sounds.)
Jumpstart Kindergarten, Fisher Price Ready for School, Reader Rabbit, and I Spy.
www.knowledgehouse.info/spy.html (Scholastic’s I Spy series of books and software provide lots of fun practice for beginning learners in many skills such as recognizing letters, numbers, shapes, and objects. Although the suggested age range is 4-7 years, even younger children will enjoy looking at the pictures and identifying items.)
www.knowledgehouse.info/phonics.html (“Phonics Tutor” Product Review. I highly recommend PhonicsTutor if you have children who are learning how to read. We have a set of Bob Books at home, and my 5-year-old son Jonathan was able to read the first two Bob Books by himself after just finishing his second lesson in PhonicsTutor!)
Related Articles & Resources
www.knowledgehouse.info/articles_preschool.html (“Homeschooling Preschoolers” article includes early learning games and activities which may also be useful in kindergarten.)
www.knowledgehouse.info/supplies.html (Wish list of items to have on hand for homeschooling.)
Get Ready to Learn, by Nancy Champion Chupp. (This is a step-by-step learning program for pre-kindergarten children. The practical, easy-to-implement activities in this book will help you teach your child a solid base of skills. The book contains 11 weeks of activities, with several mental and physical activities for each day of the week.)
Learning at Home: Preschool and Kindergarten, by Ann Ward. (A Christian parents’ guide with day-by-day lesson plans using the library as a resource. Includes complete lessons for 36 weeks, 4 days per week.)
What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know, by E.D. Hirsch, Jr. (Designed for use by parents and teachers, this first volume in The Core Knowledge Series includes poems, fairy tales, fables, stories, history, geography, visual arts, music, math and science, along with age-appropriate questions that stimulate thinking, and activities that can help a child take the first steps in learning to read and write.)
Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills: Kindergarten, by American Education Publishing Company. (A complete basic skills workbook, sequentially organized so the student can master each skill in the order of importance.)
Teaching Your Child Concentration: a Playskool Guide, by Lee Hausner and Jeremy Schlosberg. (Teach your child the essential skills of concentration with simple, enjoyable games and activities. Even though this book is sponsored by Playskool, the activities in this book use common household objects. Playskool toys are not required.)
Teach Your Children Well: A First Grade Teacher’s Guide for Parents, by Jay Davidson. (The author encourages parents to take an active role in their children’s education to help them become lifelong learners and responsible citizens. You will see how easy it is to include learning experiences as part of your everyday family life, build a strong foundation early in your child’s education, connect your child’s learning to all areas of school curriculum, and mold your child’s attitude to become a lifelong learner.)
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum. (The best part of the book is the first three pages of kindergarten principles; you can see the highlights at www.peace.ca/kindergarten.htm)
www.worldbook.com/wc/browse?id=pa/tcs (Typical Course of Study for Kindergarten, from World Book Encyclopedia.)
www.edselect.com/kinderga.htm (Kindergarten parent brochures, blackline masters, alphabet sites, music links, online activities and lesson plans.)
www.kidsource.com/kidsource/content/READINESS_for_K.HTML (Kindergarten Readiness and Curriculum.)
http://homeschooling.about.com/od/kindergarten (Kindergarten resources from About.com)
www.arlington.k12.ma.us/kindergarten/curr4teachers.htm (Kindergarten curriculum links.)
www.newton.mec.edu/franklin/%20k_curriculum_links.html (Kindergarten curriculum links.)
www.sasked.gov.sk.ca/docs/kindergarten/ (Children First: A Curriculum Guide for
Kindergarten from Saskatchewan, Canada. Includes history, philosophy, learning objectives, and practical teaching suggestions.)
www.mfwbooks.com/1_k.htm (My Father’s World Kindergarten Curriculum for Homeschool and Christian Schools.)
http://oblockbooks1.home.att.net/ (A preschool curriculum and/or kindergarten curriculum based on the alphabet. Includes everything a teacher/parent needs in one convenient resource.)
www.faithfirst.com/html/catechist/scopeSequence/kindergarten.asp (Faith First Kindergarten Scope and Sequence.)
www.montessoritraining.net/curriculum_materials/preschool_kindergarten_program.htm (Montessori Kindergarten Curriculum Materials Available for Purchase for Your Classroom or Home Schooling Environment.)
www.kinderhive.net/techgames.html (Online games that reinforce kindergarten skills.)
www.learningplanet.com/parents1.htm (Preschool-Kindergarten online activities from Learning Planet.)
www.learningplanet.com/parents2.htm (Elementary online activities from Learning Planet.)
www.howard.k12.md.us/math/elem.math/smart/kindergarten/ (Kindergarten Student Mathematics Activity Resource Tools.)
www.ed.gov/pubs/CompactforReading/tablek.html (100 printable home-school activities for kindergarten. The activities are organized by reading and literacy skills appropriate to this grade.)
www.kidzone.ws/math/kindergarten.htm (Free printable kindergarten math worksheets.)
www.tlsbooks.com/preschoolworksheets.htm (Free printable preschool and kindergarten worksheets.)
www.mrsjones.org/teachers/worksheets.html (Lots of free kindergarten worksheets and other printables.)
www.first-school.ws/theme/handwriting.htm (Handwriting worksheets and printables for preschool and kindergarten.)
www.kinderthemes.com/monthbymonthcurriculumplan.html (List of monthly curriculum themes for kindergarten.)
www.earlychildhoodlinks.com/teachers/themeunitskindergarten.htm (Kindergarten Theme Units)
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