I think that children need to have the opportunity to be kids. They need to have time to play, play, and play! When children are playing they are learning. We are expected to teach and for the children to learn alot during kindergarten. The best thing to do is make it engaging and fun. Turn lessons into hands-on so that they are having fun. The only thing is, where do we find alll the time to do all of this?
Yes, where do we find the time when we are expected to be directly teaching them a whole host of things. I believe we need to cut back on what is "required" look at what is essential and appropriate for kindergarten children. This year all of the students in my class were able to read by the end of the year. Some children just took off reading but the ones that were not as successful as the others were reading at the emergent level. I had to recommend additional practice during the summer so these students can keep up with the rest of the class and won't be behind the others in 1st grade.
What I have been happy with is our school's trend with "project base learning." The students and I had a wonderful experience with a few of the units in Social Studies and Science. So what is the problem? We were still expected to teach the other units. We really need to look at our curriculum and cut back on some topics that are covered in 1st grade and again in 2nd grade. One project based topic for science and social studies a quarter, without any other topics to cover during the year seems to be a good pace, from my experience.
By the way, my class did have the opportunity to work with I-pads this year there are some great apps for reading, writing and math. I especially like the ones on letter formation! My grandson of 2yrs. have been enjoying some time with those and other apps too. We just have to be careful to use these i-pads as tools to enhance their learning and not expect them to be their "teachers." The little ones so much need the human contact, the loving and caring that good teachers give. I don't recall who the following quote is attributed to but I truly agree with. I'm not even sure of the exact words but it goes something like this: "Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."