This kindergarten report card from 1954 melted me a bit of

My husband and I often talk about where we can send our son to school when he is ready for kindergarten. Some of our neighbors send their children to the neighborhood school, which is within walking distance. Others send their children to public magnet programs or private schools, or they homeschool. They all have their own advice.

“The bilingual program is the best, but you absolutely have to enroll in the pre-K-3 class or you’ll never get in.”

“If he is identified as G/T, you must put him in a G/T magnet program. Estie was reading in 4th grade at the end of her kindergarten year.”

“If you’re considering private schools, you should start touring now. The competition is amazing, but you have to think about long-term college goals.”

My son is not even two yet.

When I think about what I really want for my son’s early school experiences, it’s simple.

I want him to learn to be kind. I want him to have a lot of time outside. I want him to learn to read and write, of course, but also enjoy doing those things. I want him to learn ways to take care of himself and take care of his classroom and his community.

So when I saw this 1954 kindergarten report card on Reddit, I kind of melted back and forth.

The academic achievements are things like “I know the four seasons” and “I can write my first name”.

listen to records!

plant seeds!

“I am nice to others and I help them.” 😭

It used to be so easy.

Now it’s just… not.

I looked up a kindergarten certificate from my former district that is highly regarded in our area. Above all else on the report card, there is a section for language arts, with subcategories such as ‘Phonological Awareness’ and ‘Concepts for Printing’. There is a mathematics part with “geometry/spatial sense” and “classification/data acquisition”. There are seven subcategories related to social development and none of them deal with games. Guess how many subcategories are reserved for evaluating their academic performance?


By the way, this is not an accusation against kindergarten teachers. They’re some of the most dedicated, talented professionals I’ve ever met, and I know they’ll do whatever it takes to embed play, outdoor time, and social-emotional skills into a day that sets educational policy – written by people without classes Experience – Desire to be stuffed with work.

I thought it would be exciting to think about where my baby will go to school one day, but instead it just makes me sad.

I feel like the right place no longer exists (or exists as a private school that we couldn’t in our wildest dreams afford to teach). Unfortunately, a Google search for “elementary schools near me that prioritize play and maybe teach my son to sew, IDK” returned no results.

Look, if you want a “Everything was better in 1954″ argument from me, you won’t get it because things weren’t better. Kindergarten expectations were more reasonable and college graduates could actually afford mortgages, but we don’t lump segregation, open racism, women with few rights, polio and 8-year-olds working in factories as ‘the good old guys’ throw days.”

I just think that like a billion other issues in education, we need to stop letting people who weren’t teachers decide what teachers should do.

Whether for the 12th grade or kindergarten.

What do you think of the changes in kindergarten? Let us know in the comments!

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