BY: Citizens Count
Rep. Sullivan believes kindergarteners are overburdened by academic standards—particularly Common Core standards.
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.”
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.