Kindergarten: What to Expect October - December (page 2)

Kindergarten: What to Expect October - December

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Updated on Feb 27, 2009


In kindergarten, kids are starting to make a fundamental leap in their thinking, as they move from concrete reality—five gummy bears, say—to abstract numbers—in this case, 5—that represent them. Teachers refer to this concept as 1:1 correspondence, and because it is so very important to all subsequent math, you can expect to see lots of practice activities in the room. Kids will count blocks, days, leaves, chairs…you name it, again and again and again. They’ll also compare numbers—which is bigger? Smaller? And finally, they’ll often use blocks or beads or other small items to explore patterns. These activities will turn up in first and second grade as well, but with higher numbers. At this point in kindergarten, most teachers will focus just on the numbers from 1-10. If all this seems, well, elementary to you, it is! Parents often worry that these activities are too simple; but the constant repetition is intentional. These early math concepts need to be more than familiar to kids; they need to be automatic.

And what if your child seems to be stumbling? “If there’s a child who can’t count past five in November,” says Wing, “who confuses numbers with letters, and doesn’t have one to one correspondence, that’s definitely a red flag.” Now is a good time to work side by side with the teacher to identify exactly what your child can and can’t manage. Extra practice at home may be very helpful, but do make sure you’ve checked with your teacher so that the materials you’re using will support what’s happening at school.

Science and Social Studies

While states do list standards for these subjects in kindergarten, the most central focus will be literacy and math.  Look for science and social studies topics integrated with core lessons.  In October, for example, many classrooms study apples and how they grow.  They'll read books about trees, fruit, and farms (expanding social studies concept); and then eat apples and compare their color, size, and taste (using graphs that address both math and science).  Check your school's curriculum to see exactly what units will be covered, and when.  In general, however, core science skills emphasize kid-friendly versions of the scientific process, such as sorting and categorizing, making guesses and observing what really happens.  In social studies, the holidays will be an important focus, as kids start to place themselves in the context of their community over a yearlong calendar.  A final social studies concept that is always covered in kindergarten--and will be repeated for years to come--is learning the concept of rules, and why we need to follow them in our world.

Want to help?  Spend time with your child in the beautiful fall weather.  Sort the leaves she jumps into; make predictions about the weather; and talk about what the holidays mean to you.  In kindergarten, science and social studies are right here and now in a child's back yard, and the opportunites for fun are virtually endless. 

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