Kindergarten is a very special year in the lives of children. Building on their early childhood experiences, kindergartners continue to learn through meaningful, hands-on projects, as they are introduced to a more structured day with regularly scheduled learning activities. Keeping in mind each child’s developmental timetable, students develop a love for reading, writing, and communicating. They become authors and illustrators. They develop the skills to become confident mathematical thinkers and scientific investigators. They learn more about themselves and others and become passionate about their opinions and respectful of other points of view. They love coming to school each day and having a myriad of opportunities to paint, read, write, speak another language, run, count, dance, sing, explore and experiment.

Learning Looks Like This

Within the Kindergarten Social Studies unit on Strong People, the students have learned about various people, many who are not famous but who have exhibited qualities that make them “strong” in some sense. On this particular day, the children are gathered at the meeting circle ready to begin the morning meeting. The teacher asks the students to think about what they have learned about the people they have studied so far, about what makes them strong. He shows the children the large piece of chart paper where he will record all of their ideas, saying, “Let’s see if we can fill this up with all of the things that might make someone “strong.”  

Children begin to raise their hands to share ideas. One boy says, “You are strong if you do something hard, like read a long book all by yourself.” Another little girl says, “Somebody who does a big job.” “Can you tell me more about that?” the teacher asks. “Hmmm…like if you are in charge of the whole world, like the president.” The ideas are written on the chart paper. Another child adds, “Strong means you did something that other people didn’t like.” “Do you mean like if you grabbed a toy from someone who was playing with it, then you are strong?” asks the teacher. “No! I mean like if you wanted to sit on the bus and they said you couldn’t.” “You are talking about Rosa Parks!” calls out a girl on the other side of the circle. The conversation develops as the teacher helps the students tease out why Rosa Parks was strong. The chart paper fills up with words, including “brave,” “muscley,” “smart,” and “alone.”

As the discussion wraps up, the teacher sends the children to the tables with blank paper and crayons and the task of drawing a picture of someone they know who is strong. Later the students will share their drawings, evaluate the strengths of each individual, and sort and display the drawings on the bulletin board.