Study: Kindergarten is too easy

Kindergarten may be the new first grade, but kids learn more when teachers expose them to advanced reading and math content, instead of sticking to letters and numbers, concludes a new study. Students don’t benefit from “basic content coverage,” researchers write. “Interestingly, this is true regardless of whether they attended preschool, began kindergarten with more advanced skills, or are from families with low income.”

Mrs. Lipstick, a first-grade teacher, has mixed thoughts on Organized Chaos.

When we “teach up” kids do tend to learn more, often because we are giving more meaning behind the basic, rote concepts we want them to learn. This is why I saw so much progress in my intellectual disabilities class last year. Not knowing another way to teach I simply taught the class the way I would run a general education classroom- and the kids responded by soaking it all in.

I still had to provide small group work and individual, direct instruction that worked on basics like what is a word vs a letter, or even what is a picture vs a letter.

Cramming academics only isn’t the answer, writes Mrs. Lipstick. Children can learn through play. 

About Joanne


  1. A lot of the things that need to be taught in kindergarten aren’t easy to check on a standardized test, nor do they translate directly into obvious academic differences in first grade, and are yet essential for the children: taking turns, standing in line, sharing, cooperative play, listening to others, understanding new ideas, distinguishing fact from fiction, etc. When we elbow those things aside in exchange for academic content, we do so at our peril.

  2. Mike in Texas says:

    I bet Pearson or McGraw-Hill are waiting in the wings with a new Kindergarten curriculum.

  3. And once again, education research demonstrates the obvious: “teaching kids something instead of letting them play randomly means they learn that particular something when you ask about it.”


    What would be interesting is if they could show that kids who were taught something had some lasting effects down the road … as compared to those kids who were allowed to play and be kids and were kept at home until they were 7 yo, a la. Finland.