A look back on kindergarten 32 years later

I have read everywhere that today’s kindergarten is yesterday’s first grade. I have accepted this based on what Mike is learning and doing in kindergarten.

This past weekend, I had a chance to go through my memory boxes. Luckily, my parents kept my elementary school report cards.

I could not find a kindergarten report card, but I found my first grade report card. Back then, report cards were on paper thick as cards and teachers hand wrote detailed notes for parents. My report cards up to fourth grade even had my weight and height. Imagine that in the 21st century.

So when I looked at what I was learning in first grade, I was stunned. In the first marking period, I was learning letter sounds, reading short sentences, reading and writing numbers, and learning shapes and basic addition.

Science was learning the five body senses and seasonal changes for the first marking period.

Mike is doing all of this now, except for basic addition and the five body senses, in kindergarten.

First grade became more technical in the second marking period. I was introduced to the animals, different kinds of matter, the globe, maps and land forms.

It will be interesting whether Mike will learn about those topics in kindergarten.

Then in the third marking period, I learned about the different types of weather. Mike is already learning this in the second marking period of kindergarten.

Science covered plants and planets in the third marking period in my first grade. I can’t wait to see when Mike will tell me about the planets he learned about in school.

Then math moved onto time in the third marking period and then onto counting money for the last marking period. Science ended in my first grade with sound, simple machines, symbols on maps and the human body.

I already know Mike will study time and money at the end of the year. Thankfully, Mike will only learn to tell time by the hour, not by the minutes, in kindergarten.

Teaching time in 2013 must be interesting for teachers. So many places no longer have analog clocks, including my house. Mike will probably never wear a watch.

So, there is the evidence from my first grade in a northern New Jersey public school that Mike is really in late 20th century first grade now as a kindergartner.

All this information makes me wonder what was the point of kindergarten in 1981. Was it just for socialization and getting ready for real school? I didn’t attend preschool before my half-day kindergarten so it would have been a disaster for me to attend Mike’s 21st century full-day kindergarten.

Mike attended three years of preschool and lots of educational programs before kindergarten. I taught him a lot at home and he still is in mommy school at night. We’ll see whether that will be enough for him to be promoted to first grade in June.

Yes, I am really nervous but I help Mike every way I can.

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