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This literature review explores the perceived dichotomy in kindergarten between child-centered, developmentally appropriate practices and teacher-directed, academic instruction. Long-held beliefs about child development have dominated the field of early childhood education for well over a century, but new research, legislative mandates, and academic standards have dramatically changed the landscape of education in the kindergarten year. Literature from scholarly journals and academic texts will be examined, revealing how kindergarten has changed over time, the impact that various factors have had on driving that change, and what educators should consider as they strive to provide intentional instruction in kindergarten.