A general glossary of kindergarten terms:


Activity centre

A clearly defined area within a classroom which has been organized for a general learning purpose.

Adaptive dimension

The concept of making adjustments in approved educational programs to accommodate diversity in student learning needs. Includes those practices the teacher undertakes to make curriculum, instruction and the learning environment meaningful and appropriate for each student.

Anecdotal records

Refers to written descriptions of student progress that a teacher keeps on a day-to-day basis.


A preliminary phase in the evaluation process in which various techniques are used to gather information about the students’ growth and development.

Assessment portfolio

A method of organizing and storing materials that are produced by a student over an extended period of time. It could also include rating scales, checklists, etc. that the teacher has completed on the student’s progress. The portfolio allows the teacher to evaluate student growth and overall learning progress during that period of time.

Associative play

Children playing together in an unorganized way without a purpose.



Distortion of the diversity of real life through various forms such as invisibility, stereotyping, selectivity, fragmentation, linguistic bias.


Cognitive development

Progress in knowing, perceiving, recognizing.

Common Essential Learnings (C.E.L.s)

A set of six interrelated areas containing understandings, values, skills, and processes that are considered important as foundations for learning in all school subjects. C.E.L.s include communication, numeracy, critical and creative thinking, personal and social values and skills, independent learning, and technological literacy.

Concrete experiences

Active involvement with tangible situations and materials.

Cooperative play

Children playing together in an organized way with a common purpose.

Core Curriculum

Saskatchewan curriculum framework that comprises learning requirements for all students. Core Curriculum includes the Required Areas of Study, the Common Essential Learnings, the Adaptive Dimension, and time for Locally Determined Options.


Translation of educational goals into an organized set of intended learning outcomes and instructional plans.


Developmentally appropriate practice

Refers to practice that occurs in a program that blends age appropriateness and individual appropriateness.

Diagnostic evaluation

Evaluation which has the main purposes of identifying students with particular developmental needs so that individual assistance can be provided. Diagnostic evaluation ensures that all learners are sufficiently challenged and identifies student interests. Usually occurs at the beginning of the school year or before a theme of instruction.

Direct instruction

An instructional approach that is highly teacher theme directed. Includes methods such as lecture, didactic questioning, explicit teaching, practice and drill, and demonstrations.


Early childhood

Includes the period from birth to nine years. For the purpose of the Saskatchewan Kindergarten to Grade 12 education system, it refers to Kindergarten to Grade 3.

Emergent literacy

The learning about reading and print that occurs before a person could be described as a reader or writer.

Environmental print

Print that is commonly found in the students’ environment (e.g., stop signs, print on cereal boxes).


The decision-making which follows assessment.

Experiential learning

An instructional approach that is inductive, learner-centred and activity-oriented.

Eye-hand coordination

The ability to use the eye and hand together to complete a task such as putting together a puzzle.



An educator who assists the process of learning for the purpose of producing independent learners.

Formative evaluation

Designed for use during instruction to stimulate, guide and evaluate learning in specific units of instruction.


A procedure where portions of printed text are outlined or framed with cupped hands or a paper frame.


Gender equity

The provision of equality of opportunity and the realization of equality of results for all students based on individual aptitudes, abilities and interests regardless of gender.


Independent study

An instructional approach which includes instructional methods that purposefully foster the development of individual student initiative, self-reliance and self-improvement.

Indirect instruction

An instructional approach that is mainly student-centred. It is associated with methods such as inquiry, induction, problem-solving and discovering.


Meeting the needs of individual children by changing materials, activities, etc. to optimize student development.

Instructional approaches

Approaches teachers may take to achieve learning objectives. Instructional approaches include direct instruction, indirect instruction, experiential learning, interactive instruction and independent study.

Interactive instruction

An instructional approach that relies on discussion and sharing among participants.



Having to do with the sensation of position, movement, tension, etc. of the parts of the body.


Large motor coordination (large muscle, gross motor coordination)

Skills relating to the use of the head, legs, feet and arms (e.g., skipping).

Learning centres

Designed places that contain carefully planned activities and materials prepared to facilitate learning outcomes. Learning centres may be developed within activity centres, but would not be a permanent part of the centre.


The ability to read, respond to literature and write.



Toys or activities that involve using the hand and the eye to work them (e.g., puzzles, interlocking blocks).



Listening and speaking.


Parallel play

Children playing side by side, but independent of one another.


The alphabetical principles that describe the relationships between the sounds and printed letters of the alphabet.


Time willingly spent in meaningful, pleasant activity that is often self-initiated and is participated in for its own sake.

Positive reinforcement

Communicating in an encouraging way the recognition of good in a situation.

Preoperational stage

A term used by Piaget to describe a stage that children go through from approximately two to eight years of age. Preoperational children think in concrete terms, are egocentric and learn through hands-on experiences.

Program evaluation

A formal process of gathering and analyzing information about some aspect of a school program in order to make a decision or to communicate its merits to other decision makers or appropriate groups.


An in-depth study or investigation that a group of children undertake on a particular topic or theme. It might be a study of the local supermarket, a nearby fishing harbour or an adjacent construction site. Unlike spontaneous play, projects involve children in planning and activities requiring sustained effort over a period of days or weeks.


Required Areas of Study

Seven areas of study required for all students within the context of the Saskatchewan Core Curriculum: arts education, English language arts, health education, mathematics, physical education, science, and social studies.

Resource-based learning

Learning/teaching in which students develop knowledge, skills and understanding by using a wide variety of print, non-print and human resources.

Role playing

Dramatizing or taking on the role of a character or function.



The sense of who one is and how one sees herself/himself, including a perception of interests, abilities, roles, etc.


A person’s perception of her/his self-worth .

Small motor coordination

Also small muscle coordination: The ability to use the hands and fingers to manipulate objects (e.g., tying a shoe).

Spatial relations

The sense of how things relate to each other according to their position in space (e.g., above, beside).


Use of pared down, simplified images and attributes.

Story map

A visual depiction of the settings or the sequence of major events and actions of story character.

Summative evaluation

Designed to be used at the end of instruction to measure the extent of student learning progress relative to the learning outcomes of the course of instruction