Image via WikipediaKindergarten is not so much about academia. Students learn at different levels of their letters, sight words, numbers and math. Kindergarten is more learning how to get along with others. It's like social etiquette for kids before they lose themselves in online worlds and develop no techniques for when things don't always go our way.
This proves that All I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum is still true today:
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.
I volunteered for 2 weeks so far in my child's class. After homeschooling her prior to kindergarten, she learns now that she doesn't always come first. She's reminded to make good choices while playing with others and uses "I" messages. Instead of saying, "You cut in front of me," she says, "I feel sad that you cut in front of me." The other child then says, "I'm sorry."
Wouldn't it be awesome if adults did that too? Especially during rush hour?
I used to have a zillion dreams about going back to elementary school. And now I know why. Sitting in on the class and helping children learn teaches me also. In fact I think I'm learning more than teaching.
One such thing I found is to never give up on a kid who might be a troublemaker. They have gifts that haven't revealed themselves yet. One child I taught told me everything I needed to know about Leonardo da Vinci though his behavior skills need improvement. Another girl doesn't get along with the other kids but she's a gifted artist.
Social skills are learned. We aren't born with them. And change doesn't happen over night. Like any skill, it's a process that improves slowly with a little (or should I say a lot) of divine help.