Thought You'd Never Ask

Just mouthing off -- because I can.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Half-day Kindergarten Curriculum, 1959-1960

BLAST FROM THE PAST...I found this handwritten, mimeographed handout among some old papers my mother recently gave to me. It is evidently the handout given to my parents from my Kindergarten teacher at the beginning of my school career. I am sharing it here as both a curiosity and a public service, as a look back to a simpler, less hurried time, when America's children mostly came from two-parent families with a mom at home and were arguably better educated in the public grade schools.

Kindergarten Curriculum

Kindergarten is a time for growth and adjustment. The young child must adjust to a new authority figure, the teacher, and to a new and larger number of playmates than he has been used to, and to a completely new environment. It is exciting to be away from mother and home but it is also a bit frightening at first.

A daily routine is usually established from the beginning day. This helps teach the children to follow directions, accept responsibility, plan in an orderly manner, and gives a sense of security. We hope to help them develop independence in dressing themselves and caring for their individual needs.

Each day the children have an opportunity to use a variety of materials in the room. As the child learns to share with others and appreciate their rights, social values are fostered. He learns to use his time well, to complete the tasks he begins, and to take proper care of the materials he uses. He develops self-control and reliance.

Activity time helps the children learn to take part in group activities, await their turns, share with others and help them identify with a group. Use of equipment provides an opportunity to build large muscles and develop coordination.

Good health habits are important too. This includes caring for toilet needs, cleanliness, regular rest periods, 12 hours of sleep every night and properly planned nourishment.

Nature and science are also planned for in the curriculum. We strive to make the children aware of nature and the natural processes which occur.

Creative expression is very important in the total development of the child. It gives him an opportunity to explore with various types of art media and other forms of expression. Music provides a free and natural response for growth in musical expression. We also strive to help the child enjoy rhythm and singing and develop a good singing voice.

Story time introduces new words and meanings into vocabulary. It aids in developing the ability of interpreting pictures and following a sequence of ideas and becoming a good listener.

Later in the year the children will receive Reading readiness work books. They will learn to print their first names correctly and write and understand the numbers from one to ten.

All through the year we strive to develop readiness in the children, keeping in mind the areas which will be necessary for them for first grade work.

I also found several mimeographed worksheets featuring Mother Goose rhymes--"Jack and Jill," "Little Miss Muffet," "Jack be nimble," "Mary Had a Little Lamb," "Humpty Dumpty,"Hickory Dickory Dock," "Mistress Mary quite contrary," "Little Boy Blue," "Pussycat, Pussycat, where have you been?" and "Hey Diddle Diddle." I and the other children had illustrated each rhyme with crayons and had each produced a "book" for our parents to keep. I doubt any public school children ever learn these rhymes (or this vocabulary) nowadays. Not edgy or relevant enough for today's adults, I trow.