Characteristics of Good Kindergarten Programmes

Time allotments

Rigidly prescriptive programmes have no place in the Kindergarten, as time allotments will be affected by local conditions and environmental factors.  All Kindergartens will have two sessions ¾ a morning session having a minimum duration of two and one-half hours, and an afternoon session having a minimum duration of two hours.  Each session should cover all phases of experience affording optimal development.


The timetable should be regarded rather as a skeleton to keep certain routine training periods such as toileting, lunch and rest at approximately the same time each day and flexibility should be allowed for taking into consideration learning situations which may arise spontaneously, current interest of the group, excursions, seasonal adjustments, special occasions.

Programme content

The content of the programme is centred on the children’s immediate environment, and is based on their experiences in and out of school as individuals and as groups.  There is no formal division into subject fields of allotted time spans.


A variety of activities allows for a balance to be kept between mental and physical activity, relaxation and exertion.  Continuity and integration may be achieved in the over-all programme by a wisely proportioned use of time over periods of days and weeks.


Kindergarten children are making the transition from the comparative freedom of the home to the more formal atmosphere of school.  A good programme will allow for the maximum freedom of speech and activity to make this period of adjustment an unstrained and natural one. 

Citizenship in the Kindergarten

“Worthy, socially acceptable and productive citizenship is the ultimate of all education.”

It is important for the Kindergarten child to learn that the duties and responsibilities of citizenship go hand in hand with privileges and rights.  It is equally important for the Kindergarten teacher to remember that a mind occupied with worthwhile activities is a wholesome mind.

It is therefore of paramount importance in the Kindergarten, where habits of human behaviour and conduct are being established, that the teacher make every effort with her children to help them become worthwhile citizens by:

providing an environment in which democratic living may be carried on effectively

discussing with the children standards of acceptable behaviour and good work habits.

Some of the specifics for development of desirable citizenship at the Kindergarten level are:

  1. The development of duties and responsibilities which are needed by successful workers
  2. To attend school regularly.
  3. To be steady workers.
  4. To complete a job.
  5. To improve in good workmanship.
  6. To develop independent work habits.
  7. To co-operate.
  8. To follow direction,
  9. To listen,
  10. To act promptly,
  11. To perform willingly
  12. To use properly such equipment as
    1. chairs,
    2. sand-box,
    3. teeter-totter,
    4. toys and books,
    5. tools - scissors, saw, hammer.
  13. To learn the use and care of such materials
    1. paints,
    2. crayolas,
    3. clay and plasticene,
    4. wood,
  14. To remember safety rules when -
    1. person,
    2. equipment,
    3. room.
  15. To respect authority of -
    1. teacher,
    2. principal, and other staff members,
    3. doctor and nurse,
    4. law enforcement officers.
  16. To care for clothing, such as -
    1. taking off wraps,
    2. hanging wraps on hanger or hook,
    3. lacing shoes and tying strings,
    4. putting aprons on when painting,
    5. putting on coats and rubbers,
    6. fastening own clothing.
  17. To be responsible for and perform home duties, such as -
    1. dressing himself,
    2. hanging up clothes,
    3. putting toys away,
    4. running errands.
  18. To think for himself in -
    1. meeting a new situation,
    2. thinking what to do,
    3. acting on decision.

The development of social courtesies which are required to live happily with others

  1. To be kind to each other.
  2. To take turns
    1. In conversation, at work, at play.
  3. To tell the truth.
  4. To express courtesies, such as -
    1. saying Please, Thank you, Excuse me, I’m sorry,
    2. saying Good-morning and Good-bye,
    3. speaking when spoken to.
  5. Keeping hands off other people.
  6. Respecting the rights and properties of others.
  7. Walking behind others.
  8. Permitting girls to walk first.
  9. Walking quietly.
  10. Talking softly but clearly.
  11. Working and playing well with others.
  12. Learning and using names of -
    1. teacher,
    2. principal,
    3. nurse and others.
  13. To have good manners at the table, such as -
    1. waiting for all to be seated,
    2. sitting erectly,
    3. bowing reverently when grace is being said,
    4. taking small bites,
    5. chewing with lips closed,
    6. eating quietly,
    7. using napkins properly.
  14. To help others less fortunate by sharing materials and playthings.
  15. To be kind to pets.

Development of good health habits necessary to healthful living, such as -

  1. To stand correctly.
  2. To sit correctly.
  3. To use a handkerchief correctly.
  4. To cover sneeze or cough
  5. To wash hands and face.
  6. To clean nails.
  7. To wash hands after toileting.
  8. To keep hands and foreign articles from face - especially nose and mouth.
  9. To have proper light while looking at books.
  10. To breathe through nose.
  11. To play outdoors in fresh air.
  12. To keep clothes reasonably clean.
  13. To relax and rest well during rest period.

What the Pupil Accomplishes

The child is:

The Lunch Period

Morning or afternoon lunch period is an essential part of the Kindergarten programme.  It provides an instructional activity in which good health habits and social habits are developed.

Milk or fruit juice may be served.

Tables should be cleared and a place set for each child.

Different children each day may have the duty of arranging the paper serviettes and placing the refreshment upon the tables.  The table should have an attractive centerpiece and serviettes and refreshments should be neatly placed.

If milk is served great care must be taken to see that it is pasteurized, and that all bottles, caps and bottle containers are sterilized.  The milk must be kept in a cool, clean place until served and empty bottles must be removed from sight at the close of the lunch period.

Equal care must be taken with any other form of refreshment.

Children need to have a relatively quiet time both before and after the lunch period.

A fine opportunity is provided during the lunch period for building social courtesies in both speaking and listening.  In a vital and informal way the children are taught:

The Rest Period

The rest period usually follows the refreshment period and lasts from ten to twenty minutes.  Resting need not be limited to the period scheduled in the programme.  A rest period may profitably be introduced into the programme whenever necessary.

The children rest on mats or rugs placed on the floor.  For rest on floors there are ways of providing comfort and cleanliness.  Easily washed rugs may be made of silence cloth with edges bound (36” x 27”).  Each child may take his rug home over stated weekends to be washed or the rugs may be sent periodically to the laundry.

Where children rest on the floor on mats, care must be taken that the temperature at floor level is the same as the temperature at the children’s usual body level.  It is especially important to avoid drafts.  A folded rug against a door will eliminate a draft from under the door.

Children are taught to lie with their heads always on the same end of the mat and to avoid walking on mats.  A tape may be used to mark the head end.  Rugs should always be folded top to bottom and side-to-side so that the part that is in contact with the floor is always on the outside.

In the room a restful atmosphere is created through the lowered voice of the teacher and the discouraging of any talking.  The room should be well ventilated and the shades drawn.  An atmosphere of calm and quiet is essential to a real rest period.

The purposes of the rest period are:

Source: British Columbia. Department of Education. Division of Curriculum. Programme of Studies for the Elementary Schools of British Columbia. Kindergarten Manual. Victoria, B.C. 1948.

Transcribed by Emily Stephen, History 349, Malaspina University-College, March 2002

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