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National Association for the Education of Young Children:
Preparing Young Children for the Classroom

Smarter  Grade Expectations

Socialization of School Age Children:  
Peer Acceptance and Rejection

Developmentally Appropriate Programs. ERIC Digest.


fun school stuff

online learning activities

Elementary Education in Public Schools

 Grade Level Issues (K-5) in Public Schools

Differentiation of Instruction in Elementary Education  Teaching the Way Your Child Learns

     Eric Digest: (excerpt) ... if teachers want to maximize their students' individual potential, they will have to attend to the differences.

     Many times, there are educational concepts that parents are unfamiliar with, simply because we are not a part of the profession.  Differentiation in Instruction is an example of one of those concepts that most of us have been unaware of.  Nothing affects our children's educational development more directly than the methodology employed in their instruction.  In elementary education especially, we believe that teaching methods have a dramatic impact upon our children's immediate and long term academic experience. 

      In the Eric Digest article, Differentiation of Instruction in the Elementary Grades  Carol Ann Tomlinson writes, " At its most basic level, differentiation consists of the efforts of teachers to respond to variance among learners in the classroom. Whenever a teacher reaches out to an individual or small group to vary his or her teaching in order to create the best learning experience possible, that teacher is differentiating instruction."  She goes on to explain that, "In most elementary classrooms, some students struggle with learning, others perform well beyond grade-level expectations, and the rest fit somewhere in between. Within each of these categories of students, individuals also learn in a variety of ways and have different interests. To meet the needs of a diverse student population, many teachers differentiate instruction."

     We urge parents of elementary age children to familiarize themselves with the concept of Differentiation in Instruction, and to explore the teaching methods that are applied in your child's classrooms, especially with children that are having difficulties with primary learning curriculums.  Observe your child to see if you can determine whether or not they seem to grasp materials better verbally, visually, interactively, etc., and finally, share those observation and concerns with your child's teacher.  Ask how material is generally presented to the class and by all means, drop in on your child during the school day to get a first hand view of the teacher's level of interaction with the students.  For more information on Differentiation in Instruction, see Eric Digest: Differentiation of Instruction in the Elementary Grades.


North Dakota State University Department of Education

First Grade: Ready or Not? 

(excerpt)  The National Association of Elementary School Principals has recommended standards for primary grades which are very similar to those outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The similar recommendations include:

bullet Schools should be ready for the child and not expect the child to be ready for the school. Early childhood programs must be based on the ways children learn, not on how adults prefer to teach.
bullet Since young children learn best through their senses by doing, learning should be the outcome of hands-on experience, especially play.
bullet Children should be assigned to classes as close to the research-based recommended class sizes as possible: ratios of 2 adults:20 children for 3- to 5-year-olds and 2 adults:24 children for 6- to 8-year-olds.
bullet Children should be assessed by observation, not tested for success or failure. Letter grades should not be used.
bullet Children will learn more quickly if they have actively experienced the process of learning -- in other words, if they have been read to, have acted out what they have learned, have touched the objects described, have seen some of the places or people described, and so forth.

Think about the following questions and how your child is progressing. Remember, no child should be expected to accomplish all of these items perfectly before first grade.

Can your child:

bullet Be away from you all day without being upset?
bullet Pay attention to a short story when it is read and answer questions about it?
bullet Create things with paper, colors, scissors, markers and glue? (It is not important to stay in the lines!)
bullet Tie a knot, bow or scarf?
bullet Repeat simple messages?
bullet Remember instructions and carry out two or three tasks after being told once?
bullet Put a simple puzzle together?
bullet Draw a picture of a person which includes the head, body, arms and legs?
bullet Draw or copy shapes?
bullet Visit comfortably with people outside the family?
bullet Tell his/her phone number, address, birthday?
bullet Identify several colors?
bullet Try to write or copy letters and numbers?
bullet Admit he/she doesn't know or needs help?


More:  Assessing your Child, Supporting Your Child



Curriculum . Technology Quarterly: 
Focus on Differentiated Instruction - Q&A 
  Although most teachers probably have an intuitive awareness of why differentiated instruction matters, not all practice it well. Admittedly, learning to adapt instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners requires administrative support and practice time. No one, it seems, would object to so worthwhile an effort. Yet many teachers fear that teaching to standards may require standardized instruction--reversing a century of research on how children learn.

The pressure of . . . kindergarten?
In some schools, kindergarten is growing more and more academically focused--particularly on early reading. The pressure to perform academically is trickling down from above, many experts say, because of new state and federal academic standards.  (excerpt) But pushing all kindergartners onto the academic treadmill, turning kindergarten into an academic boot camp for 1st grade, can set many kids up for failure before they've even begun.

Kidsource Online:  
The Shifting Kindergarten Curriculum:  Current Influences On the Curriculum  

(excerpt)  Few would argue that what is now taught and expected to be learned in many kindergartens is profoundly different from what it was two decades ago. The shift from play- and group adjustment-oriented settings to kindergarten classrooms characterized by direct teaching of discrete skills and specific expectations for achievement is being reinforced by recent calls for reform of public education (Elkind, 1986).

Kidsource Online: 
Escalating Kindergarten Curriculum
(excerpt) The practice of kindergarten retention is increasing dramatically. In some districts, as many as 60% of kindergartners are judged to be unready for first grade. These children are provided with alternative programming: developmental kindergarten (followed by regular kindergarten), transition or pre-first grade, or the repeating of kindergarten.

Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?
Parents often have some anxiety around their children entering school for the first time. Although today many children attend preschool, which often prepares them for the routines and learning environment of kindergarten, parents still may anguish over whether their children will meet the expectations of kindergarten.






Grade Level Issues

Elementary School
Middle School
High School
The New First Grade

Rethinking Report Cards

How Much Homework Is Too Much?

US Dept of Education:
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001)

  Office of Elementary and Secondary Education

He Has A Summer Birthday: The Kindergarten Age Entrance Dilemma

National Association of Elementary School Principals:
What Parents Should
Look For In Their Child's
Elementary School

Helping Kids Adjust to School -
Is Tag Too Tough for Kids-

National Association for the Education of Young Children:  
Top 10 Signs of a Good Kindergarten Classroom

5 Ways to Know if Your Child has a High Quality Teacher

ERIC Digest:
Differentiation of Instruction in the Elementary Grades. Reconcilable Differences? Standards-Based Teaching and Differentiation

Differentiation in The Grosse Pointe Public School System   
How to Plan for Differentiated Instruction

Literacy Center.Net

Early Childhood Education Network (Interactive)

American School Counselor Association:

Why Elementary School Counselors?



































































































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