KSEE24 News, First 5 Fresno County and Carina Corral continue their Family Focus series with a look at how advanced kindergarteners are these days.
Gone are the kindergarten days of learning colors, reading time and milk and cookies. Kinders here at Washington School in Kingsburg are pushing the limits.
"When I first started teaching kindergarten we were excited if they could come in, sit down and listen to a story and left knowing all their letters and sounds a few words," said kindergarten teacher Leigh Ann Spitzer.
That was 26 years ago. Since then, the bar has been raised and a lot more is expected of kindergarten.
By the time they leave this classroom, they need to know 50-75 sight words, such as 'the,' 'on,' 'it,' read and write, addition and subtraction and even some science. On this day, they made a crystallized snowflake. "Borax and water, hot water," Kindergartener Quinn described how they made the snowflake.
Subjects such as algebraic math and science is stressing the importance of students coming into kindergarten already knowing the basics.
"What is nice for them to know when they come to kindergarten is how to sit and how to listen. They don't have to know the letters and sounds when they come in, but it does give them a step up," said Spitzer.
They can learn classroom structure, letters and sounds in preschool, but if preschool is not an option you can still work with kids at home.
"It's very important. Just taking them to the library and encouraging them to read," said Linda Palm who volunteers once a week in her grand-daughter's kindergarten classroom so she knows how to help outside the classroom.
It's all about giving these kids the best chance for success in kindergarten and beyond.
"Hopefully kindergarten will be a great, exciting experience so they'll feel successful when they start first grade," said Spitzer.
Parents who don't have access to preschool should consider FIRM Literacy program in Fresno that offers a free, 12-week program for kids aged 0-5.
Our next Family Focus story will take a look at first grade and then third grade where students are already being prepared for the 'real world.'
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