April 21st Kindergarten Day

If you can remember your days in Kindergarten you are probably a lot younger than I. For most of history, children stayed at home until 1st grade, actually they stayed at home and learned from mom and dad (Normally mom). In 1837, Friedrich Froebel figured out that it was better to start educating children early and introduced Kindergarten in Germany. It proved to be far better for children (And mom too!). It is surprising how much Kindergarten teaches children, beyond the obvious, it also teaches children social skills that helps them everyday of their lives. We celebrate today on Froebel’s birthday, April 21st, 1782.

How to celebrate – Visit your old Kindergarten class. (If the school still exists!) Volunteer at your local kindergarten (They can use the help) Look back at photos of when you were in kindergarten.

April 21st National Kindergarten Day

Since 1837 people have found the benefit of sending their children to Kindergarten, whether it is to get them started early in their social development, a jump start on their educational requirements or because in today’s world so many people have to work to pay the bills, Kindergarten has now become a requirement.

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Frederich Froebel started Kindergartens in Germany. is idea was getting children acclimated to going to school. At first it was just for a half day as he did not want to tax the children, forcing them to grow up faster than they would without school. Through many mother’s tears, the idea has caught on even adding Pre-K to many school across the United States.

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There is little doubt that children do benefit from the earlier exposure to the world. They normally become more challenged and definitely are able to blend into first grade without the same stress. It allows the expectation for children to learn faster and retain more since they have had that extra year, or two, in the system.

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But there are risks involved too. Children become more independent often leading to other issues later on and children not ready to meet the demands of Kindergarten are labeled. Every child has their own personality and abilities. Some are ready at the age of 5 to begin their introduction to society, others take longer. And some meet friends that they will keep for the rest of their lives.  Each child needs to be evaluated on their own skill level but over-all, Kindergarten provides children with the chance to grow faster, learn more and the ability to blend in to society.

How to celebrate – If you have a child in Kindergarten, spend a little time volunteering there to help. Remember your days in Kindergarten, if you can remember that far back. If you have a child in Kindergarten make sure to take plenty of pictures , you will never have these days again.

April 21st Kindergarten Day

I have worked at an elementary school for nearly 23 years now.  While my job requires me to work with all ages from Kindergarten to fifth grade I daily see those kindergarten teachers after working with their classes all day.  The students seem fine and full of energy, the teachers look like death warmed over and ready to trade places with Rip Van Winkle.

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The idea for a school for small children started in 1779 when Johann Frederich Oberlin and Louise Scheppler opened a place for working parents to drop their children off for the day.  This was in Bavaria, Germany but rapidly begin to spread to other areas throughout the region.  In 1816 Robert Owen opened the “Infants School” in Scotland where children would be taught very basic things like manners and elementary skills.  Samuel Wilderspin elaborated on the idea in London and created the first ever “playground”.  In 1828 Countess Theresa Brunszuik opened what could be called a chain of “Infant Schools” in Hungry. But it was Frederich Flobel who opened the first “Play and Activity” institute in 1837 and gave it the name, Kindergarten in 1840.  That too is German and translated means, a “Garden for Children”.

The first Kindergarten opened in the US in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1856 but was only available to German speaking people.  Elizabeth Peabody opened the first English speaking school for tots in 1860.  The first free Kindergarten in the US opened in 1870 under the guidance of Conrad Poppenhusen.  From start to finish, this seems to be led heavily by the German influences all over the world.

Kindergartens exist in every modern day community, though there are still many children unable to attend for numerous reasons.  It varies in age, taking students anywhere for 2 years old to 7 years of age.  The roughest day is always the first day with lots of crying and anxiety… but after the mothers leave (they are the ones doing most of the crying)… the day gets down to a routine that children rapidly learn to accept and enjoy.  Children begin to learn how to cope with social expectations and the elements of what will be expected of them in the higher grades.

God bless those kindergarten teachers!  Those of us fortunate enough to have a child know what one or two of them demand at home.  Imagine that same demand coming from 12-20 of them everyday for 6-8 hours a day!

How to celebrate:  Buy your favorite kindergarten teach a box of candy, they deserve it.  Volunteer for a day to help out a kindergarten class.  Try to recall what your first day in kindergarten was like.