As a result, those in area school districts and throughout the state
have placed more emphasis on what's being taught in the classroom.
That emphasis has grown particularly within the past few years with
the establishment of California Department of Education standards for
"It helps us know where they need to be," said Theresa Banaag, a
kindergarten teacher at Glendale's John Muir Elementary.
The standards cover everything from math to science and helps teachers
plan the course curriculum and choose materials, Banaag said.
But all of that doesn't mean the fun has been taken out of
Something as simple as a nursery rhyme helps children recognize and
discriminate between alike and different sounds, McKee said.
"All that reading of Mother Goose was not for naught," she said.
The establishment of standards, has also made it easier to evaluate
In Burbank, that assessment begins on day one, said Caroline Brumm,
director of student program evaluation for Burbank Unified.
Officials test to see whether a child can write his or her name,
whether they know colors and can distinguish between right and left,
Children should be able to do all of those things by the time they
leave kindergarten, said Mary Tatevosian, another teacher at Muir.
While an increasingly large number of children are attending
kindergarten and even preschool, it is not required by the state.
"I really feel it should be mandatory," Tatevosian said.
Later this year, members of the state legislature were expected to
consider lowering the mandatory school age, which could mean mandatory
STARTING THEM YOUNG
The following is an example of some of the standard established by the
state Department of Education. These standards are skills children should
be developing in kindergarten.
* The ability to follow rules, take turns, share and know the
consequences of breaking the rules.
* Know how to write their name.
* Distinguish between upper- and lower-case letters.
* Recognize and use complete, coherent sentences.
* Respond to "who, what, when, where and how" questions.
* Identify and describe geometric shapes (circles, squares,
* Count, read and write numbers to 100.