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Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Focus on Kindergartners Carol Copple, Sue Bredekamp, Derry Koralek, and Kathy Charner, editors

National Association for the Education of Young Children Washington, DC


National Association for the Education of Young Children 1313 L Street NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20005-4101 202-232-8777 • 800-424-2460 www.naeyc.org NAEYC Books Chief Publishing Officer Derry Koralek Editor-in-Chief Kathy Charner Director of Creative Services Edwin C. Malstrom Managing Editor Mary Jaffe Senior Editor Holly Bohart Senior Graphic Designer Malini Dominey Associate Editor Elizabeth Wegner Editorial Assistant Ryan Smith Through its publications program, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) provides a forum for discussion of major issues and ideas in the early childhood field, with the hope of provoking thought and promoting professional growth. The views expressed or implied in this book are not necessarily those of the Association or its members.

Photo Credits Copyright © Ellen B. Senisi: Cover (first, second, and third on left), interior cover (top right and bottom), 3, 27, 37, 40, 43, 44, 49, 128, 147, 152, 154, 157, 159; Peggy Ashbrook: 115, 119; Marilyn Nolt: 23; Martin Cathrae/Wikimedia Commons: 161 Copyright © NAEYC: Cover (right and bottom left), interior cover (top left and third down), 9, 13, 31, 53, 149, 150, 151 Courtesy of the Young Children article authors: 115, 122, 125, 132, 135, 137, 139, 141, 142 Contributing editor: Steve Olle Cover design: Edwin C. Malstrom

Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Focus on Kindergartners Copyright © 2014 by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Library of Congress Control Number: 2013951466 ISBN: 978-1-938113-03-1 NAEYC Item #170


Contents About the Editors............................................................................................................................vi Acknowledgments..........................................................................................................................vii Editors’ Preface...............................................................................................................................ix Foreword........................................................................................................................................xiii

1. What Is Developmentally Appropriate Practice?..............................................1 Eva C. Phillips and Amy Scrinzi Meeting Children Where They Are......................................................................................1 Helping Children Reach Challenging and Achievable Goals............................................2

2. Teaching in the Kindergarten Year....................................................................5 Cate Heroman and Carol Copple Implementing Curriculum in the Kindergarten Year........................................................6 Knowing the Children............................................................................................................7 Building a Classroom Community.......................................................................................8 Establishing a Structure for the Classroom.......................................................................8 Elements of an Effective Physical Environment.......................................................9 Setting Up Learning Centers........................................................................................9 How a Child Practices and Uses Skills and Concepts in Play..................................10 Organizing the Day.....................................................................................................11 Centers and the Materials They Might Include..........................................................12 Guiding Children’s Learning...............................................................................................13 Teacher–Child Interactions.......................................................................................13 Scaffolding in Action....................................................................................................14 Using a Variety of Instructional Strategies..............................................................15 Using a Variety of Learning Contexts......................................................................16 Individualizing and Differentiating for All Learners..............................................17 Approaches to Content Teaching and Learning....................................................17 Assessing Children’s Learning.....................................................................................................19 Building a Partnership With Families..........................................................................................19

3. An Overview of Development in the Kindergarten Year................................21 Heather Biggar Tomlinson Physical Development.........................................................................................................23 Gross Motor Development........................................................................................24 Fine Motor Development...........................................................................................24 Promoting Physical Development in Kindergarten...............................................25


Social and Emotional Development........................................................................ 26 Social Development......................................................................................... 27 Emotional Development................................................................................. 30 Promoting Social and Emotional Development in Kindergarten.............. 33 Cognitive Development............................................................................................ 36 Brain Development and a Key Shift in Thinking Abilities.......................... 36 Reasoning and Representational Thinking.................................................. 39 Self-Regulation and Attention........................................................................ 40 Memory............................................................................................................. 41 Promoting Cognitive Development in Kindergarten.................................. 41 Language and Literacy Development..................................................................... 43 Dual Language Learners................................................................................. 46 Promoting Language and Literacy Development in Kindergarten........... 47 Easing the Transition Into and Out of Kindergarten............................................ 50 Transitioning Into Kindergarten.................................................................... 50 Transitioning Out of Kindergarten................................................................ 52 Examples of K–1 Transition Practices............................................................ 55

4. Developmentally Appropriate Examples to Consider............................ 57 Creating a Caring Community of Learners............................................................ 58 Fostering Positive Relationships................................................................... 58 Building Classroom Community.................................................................... 59 Teaching to Enhance Development and Learning............................................... 61 Environment and Schedule............................................................................ 61 Teaching Methods........................................................................................... 62 Communication and Language Use............................................................... 64 Motivation and Positive Approaches to Learning...................................... 66 Guidance........................................................................................................... 67 Planning Curriculum to Achieve Important Goals............................................... 69 Curriculum Essentials..................................................................................... 69 Physical Development..................................................................................... 72 Language and Literacy.................................................................................... 74 Mathematics..................................................................................................... 79 Science............................................................................................................... 81 Technology....................................................................................................... 82 Social Competence; Social Studies................................................................ 83 Creative Arts..................................................................................................... 84 Assessing Children’s Development and Learning................................................ 87 Strategic and Purposeful................................................................................. 87 Systematic and Ongoing................................................................................. 88 Integrated With Teaching and Curriculum.................................................. 89 Valid and Reliable............................................................................................ 90 Communicated and Shared............................................................................ 91 Establishing Reciprocal Relationships With Families.......................................... 92


5. The Common Core State Standards and Developmentally Appropriate Practices: Creating a Relationship..........................................95 Susan Carey Biggam and Marilou Carey Hyson What the Common Core Is, and What It Is Not...................................................... 96 What the Common Core Is: The Intended Benefits..................................... 96 What the Common Core Is Not: The Standards’ Limitations..................... 96 Criteria Used in Developing the Standards..................................................... 96 A Closer Look—The Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten............. 97 The CCSS for Kindergarten in English Language Arts and Literacy.......... 98 Areas/Domains, Clusters, and Sample Kindergarten Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy........................................................... 98 The CCSS for Kindergarten in Mathematics................................................. 99 Areas/Domains, Clusters, and Sample Kindergarten Standards for Mathematics................................................................................................ 101 From What to How: Implementing the Common Core....................................... 102 Returning to Anna and the Common Core— How Can Developmentally Appropriate Practice Help?........................... 104 Anna, English Language Arts/Literacy, and Developmentally Appropriate Practice...................................................................................... 104 Anna, Mathematics, and Developmentally Appropriate Practice........... 106 Tips for Teachers............................................................................................. 107 Multiplying the Benefits by Connecting Language/ Literacy and Mathematics............................................................................. 109 Taking Action—For Yourself, Young Children, and Others............................... 110 Online Resources for the Common Core State Standards................................. 111

6. Young Children Articles..........................................................................113 Integrating Science Inquiry With Reading and Writing in Kindergarten.......... 113 Helen Patrick, Panayota Mantzicopoulos, and Ala Samarapungavan Young Authors: Writing Workshop in Kindergarten........................................... 122 Kathryn M. Brown Humpty Dumpty and Rosa Parks: Making Space for Critical Dialogue With 5- and 6-Year-Olds........................................................................................... 128 Candace R. Kuby The Inside-Out Project: Illustrating the Complexity of Relationships in Kindergarten and First Grade................................................................................. 137 Eva L. Essa, Jennifer M. Kirn, Julia M. Pratt, and Shari A. Roberts Joyful Learning and Assessment in Kindergarten............................................... 145 Kim Hughes and Dominic Gullo Learn to Say Yes! When You Want to Say No! to Create Cooperation Instead of Resistance: Positive Behavior Strategies in Teaching..................... 149 Katharine C. Kersey and Marie L. Masterson Family Involvement: Challenges to Consider, Strengths to Build On............... 154 Mariana Souto-Manning Classroom Bird Feeding: Giving Flight to the Imaginations of 4- and 5-Year-Olds!............................................................................................... 161 Deanna Pecaski McLennan

References.....................................................................................................165


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An Overview of Development in the Kindergarten Year

Heather Biggar Tomlinson

Experienced kindergarten teachers often

reflect that kindergartners, despite wide individual variation, have common attributes such as enthusiasm for learning, an increased ability to integrate information and inhibit impulses, and a captivating interest in interacting with others, all of which makes them ready for a new phase in their education. As originally conceived, kindergarten was a preparatory year of schooling, designed primarily to support children’s social and emotional adjustment to group learning. However, the increased number of children attending preschool and child care programs at younger ages combined with the increased academic demands of the early years of school have greatly transformed the role of kindergarten. More than a preparatory year—about 95 percent of kindergartenage children in America are enrolled in some type of kindergarten program (NCES 2008)—kindergarten is now generally considered the first year of school. The age at which children are eligible (or required) to begin kindergarten varies from state to state. Kindergarten primarily serves 5-year-olds, but the age range can span from 4¾ to 7¼ years (Berk 2006a). Sometimes families feel compelled or are encouraged to hold their children out of kindergarten until they are older and can cope with the academic, emotional, and physical demands required of kindergartners, a practice known as “redshirting.” About 10 percent of families defer kindergarten entry (NCES 1997), so there are many In writing this chapter, the author drew extensively from four chapters authored by Stephen Sanders (physical education), Martha Bronson (social and emotional competence), Susan Golbeck (cognitive skills), and Laura Berk (learning and development of the kindergarten child) from the NAEYC book K Today: Teaching and Learning in the Kindergarten Year (Gullo 2006b). The full citation for each of those chapters appears in the references.

An Overview of Development in the Kindergarten Year

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This chapter was first published in Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children From Birth Through Age 8 (Copple & Bredekamp 2009). Heather Biggar Tomlinson, PhD, is an early childhood development consultant for The World Bank.

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6-year-olds in kindergarten classrooms (despite the fact that age of entry into kindergarten has not been shown to be a major factor in school performance [NICHD-NCCRN 2007]). There is a major and well-documented shift in cognition that occurs between ages 5 and 7 (Piaget 1952; Sameroff & McDonough 1994; White 1965, 1970). Before this shift occurs, children are developmentally more like preschoolers than like school-age children; throughout and after the shift, children show increased levels of personal responsibility, self-direction, and logical thinking. The change that occurs has been marked throughout time and across cultures as “achieving the age of reason” (Whiting & Edwards 1988). The changes associated with this “5 to 7 shift” affect development across physical, social and emotional, cognitive, and language domains. They also affect children’s “approaches to learning,” another important domain of development that includes children’s enthusiasm for learning (their interest, joy, and motivation to learn) and their engagement in learning (their focused attention, persistence, flexibility, and self-regulation) (Hyson 2008). Experiences at home and in early childhood programs can either support or undermine children’s enthusiasm for and engagement in learning. In this respect, kindergarten is a critical year. At their best, kindergarten experiences nurture positive approaches to learning and prepare children for the more rigorous academic expectations of the primary grades. In these circumstances, teachers can nurture kindergartners’ positive approaches to learning by implementing an engaging curriculum and teaching methods that draw children in and challenge them to reflect, try out their ideas, and tackle meaningful problems. Pressured by expectations for children’s performance on a narrow range of skills, teachers may inadvertently discourage kindergartners’ interest in learning and fail to provide time to develop qualities such as persistence and flexibility. By carefully reviewing the curriculum and teaching methods with children’s approaches to learning in mind, teachers can help ensure that children are neither overwhelmed by nor bored with the curriculum and teaching practices. By stoking children’s enthusiasm and engagement, teachers support children to enter the primary grades not only academically prepared but also with positive learning attitudes and effective learning behaviors. Because of the great individual variation among kindergartners and the wide age range that often exists in a kindergarten classroom, teaching practices must be responsive to developmental, individual, and cultural variation (as is true for every other grade, as well). Although most 5-year-olds are developmentally more like preschoolers than like older children, kindergartens are usually housed institutionally with elementary schools. Teachers have to strike a fine balance in meeting the needs of children’s varied capacities and vertically aligning curricula with both preschool and first grade. In spite of the challenges, and because of the many opportunities for teaching and learning, it’s a very exciting period for children and their teachers.

Focus on Kindergartners

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