The typical day for kindergarten students in Leon County used to focus on play time and outdoor activities, but over time that curriculum has evolved to include less time outdoors and more time hitting the books.
Sunshine State standards say before kids can leave kindergarten they must be able to generate ideas through brainstorming, dictate messages and know the names of the letters of the alphabet, a far cry from the days when kindergarten meant nap time and recess, but that doesn't mean the fun is missing.
Sarah Stafford has spent 25 years at the front of the classroom as a kindergarten teacher, preparing young minds to begin their education expedition.
"How has the work load changed? Tremendously, a lot. More work involved but it is worth it because we are seeing a lot of growth in children," says Sarah.
In the beginning, class curriculum was play-oriented. Sarah says the kids spent more time outside engaged in game like activities, yet the growing pressure to achieve academically has put a tutoring twist to those games.
"We try to make hands on learning with developmentally appropriate practices through play experience," Sarah adds.
Parent Laurie Dodson doesn't mind the changing curriculum for her son Austin. As a classroom volunteer she sees first hand how one of the three R's is included into every facet of the school day.
"Huge emphasis on writing and reading coming up with own ideas and putting them on paper, it's amazing," says Laurie Dodson.
In Sarah Stafford's class there is a strong connection between home and school, so when the kids do come home with a class project, it requires the parents help, including them in the school day.
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