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What are the rigors of kindergarten?

Clayton Burch, executive director of the Office of Early Learning at the state Department of Education, and other early childhood educators are discussing ways to ensure that pre-kindergarten students are well prepared for the "rigors of kindergarten."

They are focusing on the "domains" students need to "master" in pre-K - even what is expected of those students later in kindergarten and first grades. They are preparing to pilot a pre-K through 3rd grade assessment.

"It's not just about an individual child getting a skill set", Burch emphasizes, "but about a child growing in our system."

The rigors of kindergarten? Mastering domains? Pre-K through 3rd grade standardized tests? Growing in "our system." Are they serious?

Four- and five-year-olds are supposed to play, nap, laugh, explore their surroundings, tinker, fingerpaint and experiment with  musical instruments like drums and cymbals.

More and more, kids are expected to master more advanced skills than in years past. Who made that rule?

When are we going to stop this kind of forced education and allow kids to be who they are supposed to be developmentally? When are we going to stop causing stress and anxiety to young children and their families for no good reason?

Defending the Early Years supports policies that affect the education of young children. The principal goals are:

  • To track the effects of new preschool standards, especially those linked to the Common Core State Standards, on early childhood education policy and practice;
  • To promote appropriate guidelines for early childhood educators;
  • To mobilize the early childhood community to speak out against inappropriate standards, assessments and classroom practices.
  • Please review the project's Platform for Early Child Education at and help bring back best practices to the education of young children.

    Stop this madness. Make your voice heard.

    Tim McClung



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