If you’ve been watching your kindergartener master numbers and letters and found yourself thinking that school ain’t quite like you remember it … you might be right. Researchers at the University Of Virginia looked at the differences between kindergarten teachers in 1998 and 2010, and the way their expectations of kids has evolved is interesting (and a little aggressive).
For example, in 1998 only 31 percent of teachers thought kids should learn how to read in kindergarten; by 2010 it was up to 80 percent. In 1998, 29 percent thought kids should know the alphabet; by 2010 it was up to 62 percent. That might mean there’s been a 50-percent increase in kindergarten teachers who hate reading out loud, but it more likely reflects a pretty dramatic decrease in playtime for kids.
As academic expectations have increased, time allotted to things like music and art have decreased, and the classrooms reflect that. The number of teachers who give kids at least one hour a day of child-selected activities is down 16 percent. The space allotted to dramatic play? Down 29 percent. Art areas? Down 19 percent. Water or sand tables in the classroom? Down 25 percent. On the plus side, classroom sand eating incidents are way down, too.
All of this would be great if there was a commensurate increase in the academic ass-kicking. But while the U.S. continues to muddle around in the middle of international academic rankings, we’re getting our lunch handed to us by a country that averages 75 minutes of recess per day. If you feel like broaching the topic with your kid’s teacher, here are some numbers to back you up.
[H/T] Education Week