Home > School and Learning > By Grade > Kindergarten > What to Look for in a Kindergarten Class

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

What to Look for in a Kindergarten Class

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: What should I look for in a kindergarten class? I went to look at our Catholic school and was not impressed with the rigidness of the program. Am I wrong to expect my daughter's first school experience to be a fun one as well as academic?

A: You must look for a program that will fit your daughter. All children entering kindergarten are not developmentally at the same place. You know your daughter best so keep her needs in mind when you look at different kindergarten programs. Some children need a more structured program than others.

Currently, there are two different approaches to kindergarten education. Academic programs stress the development of intellectual skills through formal instruction while developmental programs are concerned with the development of the whole child. However, you are most likely to find programs that emphasize one approach and include elements of the other.

When you're observing different kindergarten programs, remember that most young children learn best from hands-on activities. You will want to avoid programs where your daughter would be required to do a substantial amount of seatwork. A five-year-old needs to be moving around a lot and enjoying a wide variety of individual and group activities.

Also, is your daughter ready for a full-day program or is a half-day one more appropriate? Studies show that children who participate in full-day programs do have a more relaxed school experience and also perform better on basic skills tests in the first three grades than those who attend half-day programs.

You're right to want your daughter to enjoy her first school experience. This is very important to her future success in school. Your daughter is very lucky to have a mother who is doing so much research to make sure that she is placed in the best possible kindergarten program for her.

More on: Expert Advice

Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


Special Books for the Kids You Love
Celebrate 20 years of sharing love to the moon and back with the anniversary edition of Guess How Much I Love You, one of the world’s best-loved picture books. Plus, search our Book Finder for more great book picks. Brought to you by Candlewick Press.

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Top 10 Math & Science Apps for Your Whiz Kid
Looking for the best math and science apps for kids? Check out these cool apps for all ages, which will grow your child's love of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks