n the United States kindergartens are usually part of the K-12 educational system. Children usually attend kindergarten around age 5 or 6. Kindergarten is considered the first year of formal education, although the child may have gone to preschool. While kindergarten was viewed as a separate part of the elementary program, it is now fully integrated into the school system and is a full participant in schooling.

There are many positive learning and social/behavioral benefits for children in kindergarten programs. At the same time, it is widely felt that what children are doing during the kindergarten day is more important than the length of the school day. Cebo (1990) and Mateo (1989) warn educators and parents to resist the pressure to include more didactic academic instruction in all-day kindergarten programs. They contend that this type of instruction is inappropriate for young children.

"High/Scope Learning" is a style of learning that is used in many kindergartens in the United States.[citation needed] This learning style is very interactive and requires a great deal of the children and the teacher. It employs a "plan, do, review" approach which enables children to take responsibility for their learning. First the children "plan" their activities. The teacher provides choices of activities for the children which are age-appropriate and initiate learning, whether through problem solving, reading, language, mathematics, manipulatives, etc. This planning takes place, usually, when the children walk in the classroom. Then they "do" their activity. Some of these activities include such things as a water table, building blocks, a creative dance area, "dress up" area, a reading area, and a drawing table. The majority of the children's time is spent in this "do" activity. The last part of this approach is the review part. This is where the children and the teacher go over what they have done that day. This can be done in a large group, especially if there is a theme for the day that is used in all activities, or individually. The children discuss what they did and how they liked it and what they learned from it. This high/scope learning has grown in popularity and is accepted largely because it allows for the children to be responsible for their own learning.

In most states, it is not required for children to attend kindergarten. Many children however in the states are required to attend kindergarten when they are five years old and though in some states it is not a requirement to graduate kindergarten, in most states it is a requirement in order for the child to enter 1st grade.

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