How Is First Grade Different From Kindergarten?

In some ways, first grade is not all that different from kindergarten. Many of the same sorts of things are taught in both, and many activities will be similar, as well. Social development in first grade is not all that different from kindergarten. Still, there are ways in which first grade definitely is different from kindergarten. Knowing the differences can help you to better be prepared to help your child make that all-important transition between the kindergarten and first grade years.

The thing that is often the most different between first grade and kindergarten is the length of the school day. Many kindergarten programs are only half a day, or about three to three and a half hours. In contrast, a first grade program is generally a full day, lasting around seven hours. Having said that, there are also many full-day kindergarten programs. Some of these, however, only meet two or three days every week, much like a lot of preschool programs do. So, the full-day every day aspect of first grade is, more often than not, different from kindergarten.

Another important difference between first grade and kindergarten is that, some time during first grade, the students will all know how to read. Once this occurs, the entire learning environment can change. Children can begin to do much of their learning independently, because they have learned how to read and follow instructions on their own. In addition, they can begin to read their own stories, as opposed to having to be read to.

Finally, first grade is different from kindergarten in that there is more focus on academic activities. On the average, there are more play-type activities in kindergarten than there are play-type activities in first grade. Actually, this difference tends to be somewhat gradual. The first days of first grade are often very similar to the final days of kindergarten. In truth, academic focus continues to increase gradually throughout the primary grades. This sort of difference is often so subtle that a child wont really even notice that it is happening.

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