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Worksheets in Kindergarten (and why it’s actually okay to use them)

I’m talking about a sensitive subject today,  so buckle up and take a breath. 

I’m bringing up a majorly divisive topic in the early years world: worksheets in kindergarten (and why it’s actually okay to use them).

 And I’m going to just come out and say it. I use them.

GASP SHUDDER SHUT THE DOORS DRAW THE BLINDS. 

The thing is, I would never lie to you, or quite frankly, waste your time by only sharing information about teaching practices and strategies that work in ideal classrooms with amazingly low ratios and naturally inquisitive and focused students.

I don’t know about you, but I have never taught in one of those unicorn classes. 

My classes have always been busy. My classes have always had daily evacuations. My classes have always had a minimum of 27 students. 

And I can’t help but think that your class is likely more like my classes have been than a magical unicorn class. So, while worksheets might be “outdated” and “rote”, the reality is they are a practical teaching tool that have a place and are welcome within reason in my kindergarten classes. I am not suggesting you use 5 worksheets a day and spend your time saying “sit down and write your name” over and over all day.  I am talking about 10 minutes between play and inquiry and outdoor learning once or twice a day that you use worksheets in kindergarten with guided instructions to support learning in your classroom.

It’s okay if you disagree with me, we can still be besties, but here’s a little more about why I learned to embrace worksheets, and why you might want to too. 

Pssst feel free to copy and paste this list to send to your colleagues or admin if they are giving you a hard time about using one or two pages of printed paper a day to maintain a calm classroom and your sanity).

Benefits of using worksheets in kindergarten:

 > Well explained paper and pencil activities create situations where your students can work completely independently 

> It is easy to scaffold paper activities to various levels so you can meet your students where they are and help them grow

> Worksheets give students the opportunity to practice world skills like filling in forms, completing assignments in older grades and reinforce their fine motor skills

> Using fill in the blank style pages boosts student confidence with quick wins 

> They are a great tool for reinforcing new skills and vocabulary and offer a snapshot into learning that guides your next steps

>When everyone is engaged in one activity, you are free to move around and work 1:1 with students – a rare opportunity in kinder

> The truth is, some of our students LOVE worksheets and “playing school” and participating in activities like they see their siblings do or see on TV. Worksheets support a specific type of learning style just like play and gross motor activities support another.

When do we use them in the day?

I like to use worksheets at very specific times of the day. I try to follow the same format daily: 

>> Come in from outdoor learning
>> Quick morning meeting
>> Whole group instruction with explicit modelling of the task
>> Independent work time (yes, worksheets in kindergarten)
>> Move into play

Love this structure? I welcome you to join me inside Kinder Planned ✔️ which opens on October 15th, 2022. I have planned lessons for you for every single day of the month and provide you with the printables to go with them. There’s also extra learning ideas and bonus tabletop centres as well! This is my flagship program and based on the workshop style teaching model I love so dearly. Every week you’ll get plans for writing, math, STEM, fine / gross motor and art. Learn more about this amazing and stress saving program here

Pssst. use the code podcastbff for 15% off your program membership

LOOKING FOR MORE?

>>> 
Check out this episode on writing in kindergarten
>>> Download my free guide to writing in kindergarten here

More of a listener than a reader? Click here to listen in on this episode of Kindergarten Kept Simple

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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