I had my first conference of the year today with my daughter's Kindergarten teacher. Ms. Alpern is teaching ways of thinking, conceptual skills and other life long skills. She teaches my daughter how to wash her hands thoroughly (illness prevention); Small and large motor skills (cut with scissors, jump rope); space awareness (your privet space vs. others, 'before, under, on top' etc.); Social skills (of course) and, what I found most impressive, is the 'how do I do that' skill. See, Ms. Alpern thinks out loud. She leads students through a thought process so they learn how to walk through it on their own later on. She utilizes the things that were learned before to concoct a whole new assignment. She then takes those components and builds a whole new thing with them, teaching students to be resourceful, to build on what they already know, build confidence in their (already acquired) skills and do it in various ways so skills are constantly used in various ways to show their durability.
So, next time they tell you "Everything I know I learned in Kindergarten" - you better believe it!
Plus, it's another thing I like about New Jersey - so there!