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Signs of a Good Kindergarten Classroom

Susan Notes: I know there are still a few kindergartens that look like this. Sadly, I know a whole lot don't. Educators should develop 10-point lists of what other grade classrooms should like.

We need to testify to what is right.

We should blanket the media with such lists--so that when they visit an Open Court or Success for All classroom, they can see what is wrong.

Here are 10 signs of a good kindergarten classroom, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children:

1. Children are playing and working with materials or other children. They aren't aimlessly wandering or forced to sit quietly for long periods of time.

2. Children have access to various materials and activities throughout the day, such as block building, pretend play, picture books, paints and other art materials, and table toys such as Legos, pegboards and puzzles. Children aren't all doing the same things at the same time.

3. Teachers work with individual children, small groups and the whole group at different times during the day.

4. The classroom is decorated with children' s original artwork, their own writing with invented spelling and dictated stories.

5. Children learn numbers and the alphabet in the context of their everyday experiences.

6. Children work on projects and have long periods of time (at least an hour) to play and explore.

7. Children have an opportunity to play outside every day that weather permits. This play is never sacrificed for more instructional time.

8. Teachers read books to children throughout the day, not just during group story time.

9. The curriculum is adapted for those who are ahead as well as those who need additional help.

10. Children and their parents look forward to school. Parents feel safe sending their children to kindergarten. Children are happy; they aren't crying or regularly sick.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children offers an array of information for parents. Visit its Web site at
www. naeyc.org

Write to 1509 16th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036-1426, or call (800) 424-2460.

— The National Association for the Education of Young Children



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