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Child Development US News and World Report Discusses Kindergarten Tests and the Importance of Play

Posted Apr 09 2009 5:44pm
By Colleen Hurley, RD, Certified Kids Nutrition Specialist After kids finish preschool, it is time to take the big step into kindergarten. For a young child, it is a serious milestone in those first few years of life. Kindergarten provides more learning time in an attempt to prep for first grade, but has kindergarten gotten too serious for kids? A new story in US News and World Report discusses. Standardized testing is a normal part of grammar school years except lately they have been showing up in kindergartens across America. Not the actual tests themselves, but principals and superintendents have been pushing reading and math curriculum in earlier grades in hopes that children will perform better on those standardized tests in years to come. Learning a little math and reading couldnt hurt, right? The answer is actually yes, it can. In fact, an advocacy group called Alliance for Childhood issued a new report called Crises in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School that states testing in kindergarten is actually counterproductive. The report explains that forcing kids to perform beyond their years increases failure rates as well as behavioral problems. Five year old kids need to be kids and play; playtime is how children learn self-control and social skills and may even learn to like to go to school. The Alliance's report also states standardized testing before a child is 8 years old is not a predictive indicator of future scholastic performance. If you feel your child needs a little more playtime at school, you dont have to just sit back as parents can influence the school system too. Express your concerns to your childs teacher or the principal of the school; you might be surprised by their receptiveness. You can also ask that your child not be tested, but if that is not an option be sure to talk with your little one about the testing to eliminate any anxiety he might have and let him know tests dont measure what a good person he is. Most importantly, make sure the whole family gets in some playtime everyday.
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