Mandated kindergarten play?

Jan 19, 2018

BY: Citizens Count

Rep. Victoria Sullivan is sponsoring a 2018 bill that would require play-based learning and unstructured time in kindergarten.

Rep. Sullivan believes kindergarteners are overburdened by academic standards—particularly Common Core standards.

Click here to learn more about the debate over Common Core.

Rep. Sullivan’s bill states:

“Standards for kindergarten shall be play based and have the following components: movement, expression, exploration, socialization, and music. Literacy shall be developed through guided reading and there shall be unstructured time for the discovery of each child's individual talents, abilities, and needs.”

Play time teaches a love of learning

Rep. Sullivan argues that kindergarten was supposed to introduce children to the joy of learning and socializing with other children in the classroom – not serve as “first grade lite.”

“We're giving them a love of education. We're teaching them to explore and discover things on their own, and that's really what education should be about for children that age.”

- Rep. Victoria Sullivan

Studies have also shown that unstructured play time is important for building children’s language skills and cognitive development.

Caution over more state mandates

Opponents of Rep. Sullivan’s bill argue that it boils down to a state-level mandate. They argue that individual school districts and teachers are best positioned to know how to balance play time with academic work in kindergarten. A state requirement would decrease the flexibility teachers might need to ensure that children are properly prepared to enter first grade.

There is currently no state law that requires local districts to structure kindergarten time one way or another.

Do you support a requirement for play based learning in kindergarten? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Log in or register to post comments


Common Core | 4 comment(s)
Should NH continue to base statewide assessments on Common Core standards?


Representative, NH House of Representatives (2014 - 2018); Former Small Business Owner; Selectman, City of Manchester; At-Large Board Member, NH PTA (2014 - present)

Join Citizens Count

Join our constantly growing community. Membership is free and supports our efforts to help NH citizens become informed and engaged. 


©2018 Live Free or Die Alliance | The Live Free or Die Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.