Stand back, Hats on: Kindergarten at work

Every year there are new hats on the shelf in the kindergarten. Every year there are so many opportunities for kindergartners to try on new roles and responsibilities.

Kindergarten is known as the age of industry for a reason: Make a suggestion and these children are ready to take it on and try it on.

Whether it’s the post office, the doctor’s office or the local farm., these children are ready to run the world with efficiency and complete dedication.

And just why does this matter? Well – it’s fun for them of course. And fun and learning should go hand in hand.

But it is actually way more than that. In taking on these make-believe roles these children are stepping up into a cognitive zone well beyond their present capability. When they “play” at being the manager of the post office they assume roles of responsibility beyond their ability. They try it on for size in make believe and that experience leads them forward into a new cognitive zone of capability. They are literally learning above age and grade level.

There’s some very good educational theory behind all of this.(Stay tuned.)

And the good news is: this kind of learning doesn’t have to stop at kindergarten.

Throughout our lives we can advance our learning, and that of our students, by creating the spaces where everyone can step up and stand tall and be the person who knows what to do and who understands at the next level.

3 Comments

  1. Robbie Puglisi:

    This should be required reading for all kindergarten parents! What a wonderful way to open up discussion about developmentally appropriate practice.
    Many thanks,
    Robbie Puglisi
    Kindergarten teacher

  2. Lekyta:

    This is great! I hope more people will begin to appreciate the significance of imaginative and play-based/active learning at & around this age. ((thumbs up))

  3. admin:

    Thanks for the encouraging comments Robbie and Lekyta. “The Race to Nowhere” starts earlier and earlier. There was a story in the Chicago Tribune this weekend about Kindergarten as the new first grade – http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/family/sc-fam-0905-kindergarten-20100904,0,5315308.story . Everything we know from research, practice and theory shows that this kind of academic pressure short circuits cognitive growth. It even shows up in a reading test score lag for ten year olds.

    By the way – make sure to come and see the screening of the movie “The Race to Nowhere”. It’s October 4th at PDS.Promises to be a strong challenge to school as a high stakes pressure cooker. – Josie

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