Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Charlotte Mason Kindergarten

If you are planning to do a kindergarten year with a five-year-old, I hope you’ll study up first on CM’s recommendations so you can plan a wonderful K year that meets your goals in a CM-friendly way.  I don’t say this because I think there’s some rule that says we all must follow CM’s recommendations but because I have always found her recommendations to be wise and useful, and I am sure that these (related to the years before formal school begins at age 6 or later) are also wise and useful and so are worth keeping in mind.
If you want to study up, I’d recommend starting with these two links:

A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six–For Five-Year-Olds or Six-Year-Olds?

This is my attempt to catalogue what CM says in Volume 1 about children under six.  The first part focuses on the List of Attainments, but read all the way through.  One important part:

"Charlotte Mason did not intend for children under the age of six to be free to play all day with no parental direction or instruction.  She gives us definite guidelines for the type of gentle instruction we should weave into our children’s days."

Start with the second section at this link, which covers the kindergarten, and also read the third section (which also covers the kindergarten).  Read carefully and see what she praises about the kindergarten and what she mentions as concerns.  Notice also where she says that certain aspects of the kindergarten (as a formal institution) are good but can be handled better differently at home–those are aspects you’ll want to keep in mind as you make your own plan.

Think and pray about your goals for a K year.  What is its purpose?  What do you hope to accomplish?  What does your specific child need during this time (which may last for more than one year)?
It is absolutely possible to have a kindergarten year that follows Charlotte Mason’s advice.  May you find just the right arrangement for your child!


  1. HI.
    I am new to homeschooling and Charlotte Mason. I have definitely done my research and know about her methods, but am still a bit nervous about our first year. My daughter will be 6 when we "start" in August. She is just now learning how to read with AlphaPhonics primer. I feel so behind from where the typical CM 6-year-old should be. Have any encouragement or advice about our 1st year? We have not done the "year 0" but she is old enough to start Year 1. Should I go ahead and start with Year 1? Help!!

    1. Have you been out to the AO forum ( I think you'll be encouraged. I don't think the "typical" CM 6-year-old is where you think. lol On the other hand, my first started Year 1 at 6-1/2 and my others have all been close to 7 before starting, so I obviously choose to start a bit older.

  2. Thanks so much.
    I will visit the AO forum. I do enjoy this site as well.

  3. Thank you! Do many parents start year 0 with their six year olds and do year 1 with seven year olds?

    1. Certainly some do. Year 1 is intended for six year olds though, so often it works to just start with Year 1.