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Music and Art NOT Eliminated from Kindergarten Curriculum
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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