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Family and Community Guide for Kindergarten

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Working Together: To support families, communities, and teachers in realizing the goals of the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS), this guide provides an overview of the learning expectations for kindergarten. This guide offers some learning experiences students may engage in at school that may also be supported at home.

Why Standards? Created by Coloradans for Colorado students, the Colorado Academic Standards provide a grade-by-grade road map to help ensure students are successful in college, careers, and life. The standards aim to improve what students learn and how they learn in 12 content areas while emphasizing critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, and communication as essential skills for life in the 21st century.

See all of the Family and Community Guides here.

Where can I learn more?

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Comprehensive Health (adopted 2018)

The comprehensive health standards in the elementary years focus on developing individual skills to enhance physical, emotional, and social wellness and using those individual skills in family, school, and community environments. In each grade, the standards ask students to investigate healthy eating and living habits, explore positive communication strategies, examine effective decision-making, and identify ways to ensure personal and community safety.

Expectations for Kindergarten Students:

  • Physical and Personal Wellness: Identify the major food groups and the benefits of eating a variety of foods; explain how personal hygiene and cleanliness affect one's overall health.
  • Social and Emotional Wellness: Understand that one's actions impact others.
  • Prevention and Risk Management: Respect the personal space and boundaries of self and others; communicate unsafe situations and explain safe behavior as a pedestrian; understand safety procedures when riding in motor vehicles.

Throughout Kindergarten You May Find Students:

  • Identifying types of foods that provide energy for daily activities, growth, and good health.
  • Discussing how sleep affects concentration and mood.
  • Making connections between good hygiene and good physical health.
  • Talking about the ways that emotions influence behavior and physical feelings.
  • Demonstrating respect for self and others.
  • Communicating how different situations and settings have specific rules about personal space.
  • Examining traffic laws and following school rules and procedures.
  • Describing verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
  • Practicing how to use 911 and other emergency numbers.

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Computer Science (adopted 2018)

Computer science may be taught at all levels preschool through high school, but the State of Colorado only has standards for computer science in high school.

Read the high school computer science family and community guide.

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Dance (adopted 2022)

The dance standards in the preschool or elementary years focus on general dance knowledge and skills. In each grade, students learn and perform dances, discuss and create dances, describe and critique dances, and give feedback about dances.

Expectations for Kindergarten Students:

  • Movement, Technique, and Performance: Watch or perform simple dances. Use movement to express emotion.
  • Create, Compose and Choreograph: Create and improvise movement.
  • Historical and Cultural Context: Learn dances from different time periods and cultures.
  • Reflect, Connect, and Respond: Discuss personal reactions to dances. Recognize dance in their daily lives. Describe dance steps and movements.

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Drama and Theatre Arts (adopted 2022)

The Drama and Theatre Arts standards in the preschool and elementary years focus on general theatrical knowledge and skills. Students learn acting techniques, create and perform scenes and plays, read plays, and discuss what they like about theatre.

In Kindergarten, students:

  • Create:Use voices, facial expressions, gestures, and body movements to express thoughts and feelings. 
  • Perform: Use creativity to change everyday materials into other objects. Use imagination to create different characters in plays. 
  • Critically Respond: Discuss theatrical experiences, relate theatre to their everyday lives, and make personal connections to dramatic play. 

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Mathematics (adopted 2018)

The mathematics standards in the elementary years focus on number and operations. Ideas from measurement and geometry help students learn about numbers and quantities. In each grade, students make sense of problems, explain their thinking, and describe their world with mathematics.

Expectations for Kindergarten Students:

  • Number and Quantity: Fluently (consistently) write numerals and count items up to 20.
  • Algebra and Functions: Understand addition as putting together and subtraction as taking apart for numbers up to 10.
  • Data, Statistics, and Probability: Sort objects into groups by comparing attributes such as color, size, and shape.
  • Geometry: Name shapes regardless of size or position (a triangle is still a triangle even when pointing down).

Throughout Kindergarten You May Find Students:

  • Playing counting games to help focus on one-to-one counting (touching one object and saying one number name).
  • Quickly seeing groups of two or three objects without counting.
  • Recognizing multiple finger patterns for the numbers 1 to 10.
  • Writing numerals.
  • Acting out addition and subtraction word problems.
  • Creating pictures to show how numbers were joined or broken apart.
  • Making comparisons (“I have more crayons” “His pencil is shorter than mine”).
  • Describing the basic location of objects (next to, under, over, inside).
  • Naming and drawing shapes.
  • Creating pictures by combining shapes (a house drawing created with a square and triangle).

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Colorado Academic Standards: Music

Music (adopted 2022)

The music standards in the preschool and elementary years focus on general music knowledge and skills. In each grade, students perform a variety of music styles, identify and write music notation, practice musical creativity, and describe their own musical preferences.

In Kindergarten, students:

  • Expression of Music: Perform musical opposites, songs, and respond to teacher feedback.
  • Creation of Music: Create music to add to stories or poems.
  • Theory of Music: Identify musical sounds such as voice and instruments, beat (rhythm), tone, speed of music, loud/quiet, high/low, long/short.
  • Response to Music: Described feelings when performing or listening to music. Recognize music in daily life. 

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Physical Education (adopted 2018)

The physical education standards in the elementary years focus on enhancing movement concepts and skills, understanding basic health-related components and skill-related components of fitness and how it relates to personal fitness, demonstrating respect, and the ability to follow directions. In each grade, students demonstrate various movement concepts; assess personal behaviors; connect fitness development to body systems; demonstrate respect for self, others, and various physical activity environments; and utilize safety procedures during physical activities.

Expectations for Kindergarten Students:

  • Movement Competence and Understanding: Demonstrate body and spatial awareness through movement; locate and move major parts of the body.
  • Physical and Personal Wellness: Understand that physical activity increases the heart rate, making the heart stronger.
  • Social and Emotional Wellness: Demonstrate respect for self, others, and equipment; demonstrate the ability to follow directions.
  • Prevention and Risk Management: Apply safe practices, rules, and procedures.

Throughout Kindergarten You May Find Students:

  • Demonstrating contrasts between slow and fast speeds while using locomotor skills.
  • Traveling in straight, curved, and zigzag pathways.
  • Creating shapes at high, medium, and low levels by using hands, arms, torso, feet, and legs in a variety of combinations.
  • Moving specific body parts in response to a variety of sensory cues such as auditory or visual.
  • Identifying activities that will increase the heart rate.
  • Sustaining physical activity for short periods of time.
  • Demonstrating the characteristics of sharing and playing without interfering with others.
  • Following a simple series of instructions for an activity.
  • Participating in activity without colliding into other students, objects, and surroundings.

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Reading, Writing, and Communicating (adopted 2018)

The reading, writing, and communicating standards move from developing skills in reading, writing, and communicating to applying these literacy skills to more complex texts through the elementary years. Standards at each grade emphasize skills related to speaking and collaborating with others as students work with literature and informational readings and participate in individual and group research projects.

Expectations for Kindergarten Students:

  • Oral Expression and Listening: Use effective oral language (vocabulary and grammar) and non-verbal communication skills (gestures, expressions); use their voice to show phonemic awareness (knowledge of the sounds of language, such as long and short vowel sounds, consonants); show how vocal sounds produce words (the word “cat” has three sounds – /k/-/a/-/t/).
  • Reading for All Purposes: Demonstrate knowledge of all the letters of the alphabet; use letter sounds to decode (sound out and pronounce) words on the printed page; show understanding of the “concept of print” (read from left to right, letters make words, words make sentences, books have a front and back cover).
  • Writing and Composition: Share ideas in their writing; demonstrate knowledge of different types of writing that people do and why people write (to tell stories, to provide information, to try to explain the world around them, to express opinions, likes, and dislikes); use correct mechanics and conventions (capital letters and end punctuation) in their writing; use a combination of pictures and words to write stories and books.
  • Research and Reasoning: Use different resources to find information to answer their own questions of interest about a topic; ask good questions to become a better reader and listener.

Throughout Kindergarten You May Find Students:

  • Showing they understand print concepts; decoding (sounding out and pronouncing) familiar words.
  • Asking and answering questions about main ideas and details in readings (understanding what the reading is about); identifying character, setting, and events in a story; identifying main points in informational texts.
  • Responding to stories and books by asking questions; sharing understandings with others; using drawings to respond to readings.
  • Talking about the pictures and visuals in books and how images connect with words; naming the author and illustrator of a book; comparing and contrasting characters in familiar stories.
  • Using drawing, dictating, and writing to tell a story, to explain a topic, or to state an opinion; using resources (watching a science experiment, listening to books read- aloud, watching videos) to answer questions about a topic; talking with others about their writing.

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Science (adopted 2018)

Three-dimensional science standards in the elementary grades lay the foundation for students to work and think like scientists and engineers. In elementary grades students will explore disciplinary core ideas in Physical, Life, and Earth and Space sciences by engaging with phenomena in the world around us.  Learners in elementary grades develop and ask testable questions, collect and analyze different types of evidence, and write and communicate our understanding. We also see strong connections to skills students will use to be successful with literacy and mathematics. Mastery of these standards will result in young learners who have a deep understanding of how scientific knowledge can provide solutions to practical problems we see in our world. 


Expectations for Kindergarten Students:

  • Physical Science: Compare the effect of different strengths and directions of push and pull on the speed and motion of an object. Examine how sunlight affects the Earth’s surface.
  • Life Science: Develop an understanding of what plants and animals need to survive, and examine the relationship between their needs and where they live (ex. Deer eat buds and leaves, so they typically live in areas like forests.)
  • Earth Science: Patterns are observed when measuring the local weather, and these observations can help communities prepare for and respond to severe weather conditions.

Throughout Kindergarten You May Find Students:

  • Planning investigations to compare the effect strength and direction have on the motion of an object.
  • Using tools and materials to design and build a structure that will reduce the warming effect of sunlight on an area.
  • Making observations about what animals and plants need to help them live and grow, and also making observations about how animals might change their environments to meet their needs.
  • Keeping track of  how the weather changes from day to day, and describe the patterns they observe over time.

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Social Studies (adopted 2022)

The social studies standards in the elementary years begin with individuals and families and move from there to explorations of neighborhoods, communities, the state of Colorado, and the United States. In each grade, students investigate historical events, examine geographic features and resources, consider economic decision-making processes, and define civic roles and responsibilities.

In Kindergarten, students:

  • Ask questions, share information, and discuss ideas about the past, put events in chronological (time) order, and sequence information using words such as, present and future. (History)
  • Identify the basic characteristics of maps and globes and point out their similarities/differences and discuss how people live in different settings based on location. (Geography)
  • Describe choices individuals make based on wants. (Economics)
  • Interact positively with others. (Civics)
  • Discuss the characteristics of an active and helpful member of the classroom and school and follow class rules. (Civics)
  • Describe choices people make about how to use the money they earn. (Personal Financial Literacy)

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Visual Arts (adopted 2022)

The Colorado Academic Standards in visual arts are organized by elements of the creative process taught in a cyclical, interconnected manner the way artists learn, connect, think, come up with ideas, experiment, plan, work, refine, share, and reflect in repetitive ways. 

In Kindergarten, students:

  • Observe and Learn to Comprehend: Identify how artists use visual art and design to communicate.
  • Envision and Critique to Reflect: Notice and discuss what can be seen in a work of art.
  • Invent and Discover to Create: Exploring and experimenting with materials to discover how they work in particular situations.
  • Relate and Connect to Transfer: Recognize that artists and designers contribute and connect to their communities.

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World Languages (adopted 2018)

Instead of being organized by grade level, the world languages standards are organized into ranges that describe the progression of learning a student should experience as they grow from novice language learners to an advanced user.

Read the world languages family and community guide for elementary school here.

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