In the United States, children typically start Kindergarten at about 5 years old . It may seem early to some people, but kindergartens have been around for a long time. In fact, as early as 1763 there were plans to establish “schools of industry” in Spartanburg , South Carolina which would teach reading and math skills like a normal school, but would also feature a variety of hands-on vocational lessons in areas like shoe making and blacksmithing.
While these schools were never fully realized, they paved the way for what we now know as Kindergarten. In 1837, a man named Friedrich Fröbel published a book which set out his philosophy on early childhood education called “The Education of Man”. In it he describes the “kindergarten” – or children’s garden – where young children could learn through play with natural items from outside. This idea stuck and by the late 1800s kindergartens became more regularized across Europe , particularly Germany .
Parents who are sending their child to Kindergarten for the first time may have a mixture of feelings. Part of them may be excited because they feel that their child will learn valuable skills and have fun with other kids. But there’s also the possibility of being nervous, because this is a new experience for both them and their child. And beyond that comes nostalgia, or grief even – after all, they are sending their infant out into the world to be on their own for the first time.
This transition can be exciting while also being difficult for parents. There are many surprises along the way while children move through these early years; but there is one thing which tends to remain constant across most cultures: reading .
A little later in Fröbel’s book he goes into detail about why he felt that literacy was an important subject at such an early age (he wrote this in 1852). He believed that children should hear poems and stories before ever seeing the printed word. Being read to is important at all stages of life, but perhaps never more than when children are learning how to read and write themselves. It gives them an idea about what those squiggles on the page mean. It gives them a head start as they begin their first steps into literacy
Moving from preschool to Kindergarten isn’t easy for any family. Many parents already know this as their older siblings or other family members went to Kindergarten; they may even remember some stories about it themselves. This makes it easier for everyone involved because not only do children get something familiar in this new experience, but the parents do as well.
However, there will come a point where you can no longer provide all of the support and guidance that your child needs. It’s an incredibly difficult time for many families, because it means letting go just a little bit in order to help your child thrive all by themselves. There will be new challenges along the way – but every day you’ll watch them grow a little more capable and independent.