Music and Art NOT Eliminated from Kindergarten Curriculum

December 13, 1999
There is no proposal to eliminate arts and music from the Kindergarten program or anywhere else. The plan approved yesterday [Tuesday, December 14] by the Board of Education would strengthen the Kindergarten curriculum by adding more time for reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. Art, music, and physical education would remain fundamental components of the curriculum but with a reallocation of time, and health education would be integrated into science instruction.

The proposed time reallocation would provide adequate opportunity for teacher planning, as per the negotiated agreement, and allow for art, music, and physical education specialists to provide weekly, direct instruction that supports literacy and mathematics outcomes.

A planning group will be asked to develop the specifics of the new curriculum. The new curriculum will be developed based on national and international Kindergarten models and best practices already underway in MCPS. All of this is intended to support an accelerated, literacy-based curriculum for both half-day and full-day programs.

The plan was proposed in response to recognition that students leaving Kindergarten still have significant achievement gaps, especially when disaggregated by race and ethnicity. The Board of Education specifically asked the superintendent to respond to one of its academic priorities by providing recommendations to "develop, expand, and coordinate a literacy-based birth to Kindergarten initiative." The effort is part of the superintendent's "Early Success" initiative in the operating budget and the capital budget to expand full-day kindergarten and strengthen the entire early childhood program. The initiatives also respond to the recent findings identified in the recent "Our Call to Action: Raising the Bar and Closing the Gap, Because All Children Matter."

The proposal presented yesterday included the following findings:

1. The current curriculum lacks the comprehensiveness needed to accelerate the performance of all students in the area of literacy.

2. Weekly time allocations for reading and mathematics are insufficient to deliver a rigorous curriculum.

3. Inconsistencies exist in the delivery of Kindergarten instruction.

4. The current curriculum models fail to offer a differentiated instructional design for half-day and full-day programs.

As noted in the proposal, the current approved half-day Kindergarten curriculum devotes more time to art, music, and physical education than reading, writing, and mathematics, with the following time allocations per subject per week:

Art: 100 minutes

English Language Arts/Reading: 200 minutes

General Music: 100 minutes

Mathematics: 75 minutes

Physical Education: 125 minutes

Science: 75 minutes

Social Studies: 75 minutes

Health Education: 20 minutes

By comparison, the new plan for the half-day program would rearrange the classroom time kindergarten teachers would allocate per subject per week to strengthen reading, writing, and mathematics in the following manner:

Art: Integrated into center work

English Language Arts/Reading: 350 minutes

General Music: 35 minutes

Mathematics: 150 minutes

Physical Education: 35 minutes

Science: 100 minutes

Social Studies: 100 minutes

Health Education: Integrated into Science

A similar reallocation of time would be built into the full-day Kindergarten model.

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