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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.

Download the full Kindergarten booklet here.

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 movement skills that build a strong foundation for more specialized dance studies in later years (i.e., Ballet, Hip Hop, social, or cultural dances, as well as common choreographic structures).  At each grade level students explore, discover, and perform various dances; discuss and create movement using a creative process; develop the ability to communicate, describe, and analyze personal dance preferences while providing constructive feedback about other dance performances.  Learning about dance and the creative process contributes to educating the whole child while helping to develop self-confidence.

Expectations for Kindergarten Students:

  • Movement, Technique, and Performance (Perform/Present): Students participate in dance activities such as watching or exploring dances; safely perform simple dance steps and movement sequences; use movement to express emotion.
  • Create, Compose and Choreograph (Create): With guidance from the teacher, students will work together or alone to create and improvise movement to music, percussion instruments, or in silence.
  • Historical and Cultural Context (Know/Comprehend): Students explore and discover cultural dances from different time periods and various countries.
  • Reflect, Connect, and Respond (Critique/Evaluate/Refine): Students express personal reactions to dances that are viewed or performed; recognize how dance connects to their daily lives; describe dance steps and movements from different styles.

Throughout Kindergarten You May Find Students:

  • Moving the body safely in time and space.
  • Demonstrating focus and concentration while moving.
  • Improvising and creating simple movements based on an emotion or with objects (i.e., scarves, feathers).
  • Telling simple stories through movement.
  • Repeating movements from various time periods and cultures.
  • Describing simple dance movements.
  • Respectfully watching dance performances.

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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 drama knowledge and skills that blend basic theatrical elements to ensure a solid foundation for more specialized studies in later grades.  Theatre studies may include technical theatre, stage movement, improvisation, acting, writing, directing, and film studies.  Students will discover acting techniques; create and perform theatrical works; explore various characters, plots, and themes; investigate dramatic texts; discover and describe personal theatrical preferences; explore constructive ways to reflect and respond about the creative process and dramatic works from the past and present.

Expectations for Kindergarten Students:

  • Create (Create): With prompting and support from the teacher, students use dialogue, facial expressions, gestures, and simple body movements to express thoughts and feelings about oneself, simple characters, environments, or to tell a story.
  • Perform (Perform/Present): With prompting and support from the teacher, students use creativity and imagination to manipulate materials (classroom chairs become trees in a forest, or a pencil becomes a magic wand); use imagination to create different characters in plays.
  • Critically Respond (Know/Comprehend and Critique/Evaluate/Refine): With prompting and support from the teacher, students respond to theatrical experiences by asking questions, relate the art of theatre to their everyday lives (characters to people, costumes to clothing, sets to locations), and make personal connections to dramatic play.

Throughout Kindergarten You May Find Students:

  • Using a variety of vocal sounds (loud and angry, soft, and meek) to imitate characters from stories or movies.
  • Showing how people use their bodies and faces to show how they feel (happy, sad, excited, etc.).
  • Using pantomime (body movements and facial expressions) to tell a story without words.
  • Expressing how they felt or what they thought while watching or performing in a creative drama experience.

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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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Music (adopted 2022)

The music standards in the elementary years focus on general music knowledge and skills to ensure a solid foundation in music education, which can lead to the opportunity for more musical study in later years. In each elementary grade, students engage with and perform various music styles and genres, examine the language of music through identifying and writing simple music notation, consider simple musical creative processes, and develop the ability to describe their own musical preferences as well as critique the music of others.

Expectations for Kindergarten Students:

  • Expression of Music (Perform/Present): Respond to musical opposites, perform/demonstrate simple songs, and respond to teacher feedback to improve musical skills.
  • Creation of Music (Create): Create music to add to stories or poems.
  • Theory of Music (Know/Comprehend): Recognize a wide variety of sounds and sound sources (voice, instruments); describe and respond to musical elements such as beat (rhythm), tone, speed of music; identify musical opposites-loud/quiet, high/low, long/short.
  • Response to Music (Appreciate and Understand): Express feelings experienced when performing or listening to music; recognize music in daily life.

Throughout Kindergarten You May Find Students:

  • Reacting to different types of music rhythms and patterns through clapping, moving, and playing; demonstrating musical awareness by moving freely and creatively.
  • Speaking, chanting, and singing expressively; participating in singing games.
  • Experimenting with a variety of instruments (maracas, rhythm sticks, bells, tambourines, drums, sand blocks, and shakers).
  • Listening to music from culturally diverse genres (Popular, Blues, Folk, Patriotic; World); describing music and sources of sound.
  • Discussing or describing connections between music and feelings; discussing music heard in different places (cars, homes, and stores).

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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 2018)

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.

Expectations for Kindergarten Students:

  • History: Ask questions, share information, and discuss ideas about the past; put events in chronological (time) order.
  • Geography: Identify the basic characteristics of maps and globes and point out their similarities/differences; discuss how people live in different settings and interact with their environment based on location.
  • Economics: Describe choices individuals make based on wants. Personal Financial Literacy: Describe choices people make about how to use the money they earn.
  • Civics: Explain that groups have rules; interact positively with others; recognize membership in family, neighborhood, school, and team; discuss the characteristics of an active and helpful member of the classroom and school; follow class rules.

Throughout Kindergarten You May Find Students:

  • Using words such as past, present, future, to sequence events in the school day; exploring the similarities and differences of children and families long ago and today; talking about changes in their lives over time and discussing important events in their lives (and their families’ lives).
  • Comparing and contrasting how people live in different settings around the world; discussing different foods, types of clothing, and shelter and how they change with different environments (people living in colder climates wear warmer clothing).
  • Discussing the different types of resources in the classroom; reasoning and working through situations with classmates to share those resources.
  • Demonstrating positive citizenship skills such as courtesy, honesty, and fairness; working productively in both independent and cooperative learning situations; contributing to making and maintaining a classroom and school community.

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Visual Arts (adopted 2022)

The visual arts standards in the elementary years focus on general art knowledge and skills to create a foundation for artistic study in later years. In each grade k-5, students explore techniques of various artistic styles, follow developmentally appropriate steps in the process of creating, learn how to talk about (critique) works of art using art vocabulary, identify art in the world and daily life, and discover ways that artwork helps people better understand each other throughout various times and cultures.

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

Expectations for Kindergarten Students:

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

Throughout Kindergarten You May Find Students:

  • Telling or creating stories about a piece of artwork made by themselves or others.
  • Recognizing that people have different points of view and opinions. 
  • Noticing that exploring and playing can lead to ideas for art.
  • Exploring the work of artists and designers all around them and identifying how artists work.

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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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