A different time in kindergarten

Not too long ago my fellow columnist made mention of starting kindergarten.

I believe Arvid said his start on the road of education began in Jewell in the spring of the year. That sounded familiar to me, as my first day in kindergarten was in January at the start of the second semester of the school year. Both systems are unique to trends in early education today.

So instead of going to school half-days for a whole year, kindergarteners of my era went whole days for a half year. Later the trend was half-days for the entire school year to alternating whole days of kindergarten when my children were that age.

Going to kindergarten full time for a semester wasn’t so dumb, really, when you consider the cost of bussing, important because almost everyone in my class lived on a farm. Plus the later start date gave us all a chance to mature just a little more. Not a bad plan.

It’s interesting to see how early childhood education has changed in just a few generations. Now our youngsters are often headed off to preschool for a few hours a day at the tender age of three. Some attend pre-kindergarten at the public school before moving on into kindergarten.

So off I went down the driveway to the big yellow school bus, carrying my rug for nap time that happened every day. Believe me, it was plenty full on that classroom floor, what with 26 of us (13 boys and 13 girls) to get arranged. I wonder how many of us actually fell asleep, but who can argue with a mid-day chance to take a nap?

It wasn’t unusual for those nap times to be interrupted with some quiet crying and sniveling by some of my young classmates. In fact, I especially remember one girl who missed her mom even when we weren’t having nap time-enough that it took some serious convincing from the teacher to even stay in the room. It was handy that her mother was the school secretary, with her office one floor up. She spent considerable time in our room for the first few weeks, sitting on a little chair next to her little girl.

I remember that it took me a while to figure that one out. Why did her mom get to be here and mine didn’t? Even though I wasn’t homesick and didn’t need my mom right then, and I was sympathetic to my classmate’s plight, somehow that didn’t seem quite right to me. Luckily, my classmate did eventually grow accustomed to kindergarten and her mother was able to go back to her office upstairs.

And we all continued on the road of education, and on the journey of life as well.


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