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Kindergarten Was Different Then…

I saw a story about how Minnesota is going to have all-day, every-day kindergarten statewide because of a bill passed by the Legislature there. Some Gopher State schools are no doubt doing it that way now, and it’s nothing new in South Dakota, either.

But it reminded me of my own kindergarten experience, back in the mid-to-late 1950s. (The world was black and white then, by the way–you’ve seen the pictures.)

Anyway, we had kindergarten in June, if I remember right, from 1 until 3pm. And in my case, it had to wait until after Vacation Bible School at our church had ended.

Now, this was a long time ago, and some of my memories might be a little foggy. But I remember it as being held for only two weeks. It could have been longer–as I said, my memories could be a big foggy, so stay with me here–but it wasn’t the whole school year. It wasn’t even all summer. Or even all day.

The way it was done, the first-grade teacher would do double duty and teach kindergarten, too. The school year was over, and I’ve always figured dear Mrs. Bell could have used a rest. But this did give her a heads-up on which kids would be her problem kids.

I don’t remember much about what we learned, if anything. I’ve already mentioned that since I learned to read at the age of 4, I read to my kindergarten class, as did a girl in the class.

I also remember that I was not wild about starting kindergarten, even though it wasn’t going to last long, not in the length of the day or the length of the “term.” And my cousin Mary was Mrs. Bell’s helper.

So in my case, it was a really good thing that all-day, every-day kindergarten was unheard-of in the Montrose Schools in those days.

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