I love to keep it simple in kindergarten. In fact, this is pretty much what my mission is because I believe so strongly in the benefits of simplicity for my littles, and my mental health. And sure, you can always have the “classics” going on in the room, but isn’t it necessary to spice up your classroom with inquiries and provocations and in depth project based learning as a modern-day educator? Isn’t it wildly out dated and a major faux-pas to use themes in kindergarten?

When picturing themed-based learning, you might think of closets jammed with musty old cardboard boxes filled to the brim with yellowed photocopies, dingy borders and macaroni crafts, but rest assured that you can use themes in kindergarten and still be a modern, child-focused educator. It just takes a new lens on an old-school approach that involves being open to new settings and directions.

Here are my tips on how to ditch any ineffective and outdated practices associated with kindergarten themes:

  • Follow your student’s interests when setting up themes. Don’t pick apples just because it’s September. Pick apples if they were eating snack and noticed how many colours there are and a discussion started up.
  • That said, traditional themes are okay if they are suitable for your children and they are engaged with the materials!
  • Themes that follow the interest of our littles are essentially a modest introduction to inquiry. Learn alongside your littles to make your theme child-focused and fluid.
  • Switch to a mindset of curiosity, and know that you don’t have to know everything about everything. Allow your littles to learn through you because it helps them model the learning process, which is more beneficial than you know.
  • A simple shift in your mindset helps you change how you see, perceive, and teach things in the classroom.

If you want to hear me talk more about this controversial topic, listen here to this episode of Kindergarten Kept Simple.

KW: theme-based learning, traditional themes, shift in mindset, learning process, kindergarten themes, kinder educator


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Kindergarten specialist turned curriculum writer. Mom, wannabe baker and lover of early 2000s Disney Channel (hello, Lizzie McGuire and HSM). Enthusiast of ponytails, pancakes and helping Canadian kindergarten teachers stress less by simplifying their planning and re-igniting their love of play-based learning. Here to help you take back your weekends and love teaching on week days.

Or, send me an email at mariah@aplayfulpurpose.com