By: Krystle Crossman
Common Core Standards have been a point of contention for students, teachers, and parents alike over the last few years. The standards are pushing students beyond what they are capable of doing or making them learn inn new ways that are confusing and over-the-top. Students in schools are learning only what is going to be on the standardized tests and don’t get the time to learn more than what is going to be on those tests. These standards reach all the way down to kindergarten students and some of them may be suffering academically because of it.
One of the biggest problems with the Common Core in kindergarten is that they are requiring that kindergarten students learn to read. While there is nothing wrong with children learning to read they are expecting too much from little brains that developmentally are not ready to handle what is being required of them. Children learn how to read through games, interactive play, and life-based experiences. They may have a harder time learning to read if they are forced to sit through lectures. Studies have shown that learning to read a little later in life as opposed to learning as early as preschool makes no difference in their ability to become a great reader. So why are we pushing these kids so hard?
Remember when you were in kindergarten? Maybe not specifics but you probably remember that it wasn’t about sitting down to lectures and workbooks. I remember my kindergarten experience as a fun place to hang out with other kids. It was a place where creativity and exploration was the number one goal. We got to play house, we played with a fake supermarket complete with a cash register that had a calculator in it, we played games, we got to explore music and art. I also remember my child’s kindergarten experience just a few years ago. He came home with homework on the first day. Every day was sitting at a desk and listening to the teacher, doing workbooks and endless amounts of math practice. He wasn’t happy and was not having fun. He learned to read before kindergarten but on his own time and with a little help from his parents. Once he got into kindergarten he was forced to jump up and be at the level that he was told he was supposed to be at.
Authors of a recent report from the Alliance for Childhood and Defending the Early Years stated that there was no evidence at all that supported this huge push to learn to read in kindergarten. The evidence showed that kids that were pushed too hard to go beyond what they were capable of doing were not performing as well as they could have if they were given lessons that their brains were ready for and it left them frustrated. Reading is a very important skill for a child to have but it should be taught as they are developmentally ready.