“Modern Kindergarten” is a tongue-in-cheek series based on my experiences as a new Kindergarten Mom.

School is starting all around the country.  For thousands of children, they are finally at the age where they can attend kindergarten.  Facebook posts, shares of Huffington Post links, and bloggers are all weighing in on this topic.  Kindergarten is a big deal, folks.  A huge deal.

Gasp!!  The horror of the kindergarten classroom:  let the stifling begin!

Gasp!! The horror of the kindergarten classroom: let the stifling begin!


But…where is the excitement?  The happiness?  Instead it’s varying degrees of sadness, which are definitely understandable from most perspectives.  My friend Jenna Karvunidis blogged about it very succinctly.  But even more than the sadness, what I am reading is major skepticism.  Criticism of the kindergarten experience that the child has yet to even start.  Apparently there is a lot of concern that kindergarten has gotten too advanced.

I have read about so many mothers reporting that their children’s questions about kindergarten include:

“Will there be toys?”
“Will I get a snack?”
“Will I get to play?”
“Will it be hard?”

With the exception of the last one, to be honest, I would be a little concerned about the maturity of my five-going-on-six year old if her primary concerns about starting school revolved around playtime and food.

My daughter’s questions about kindergarten are

“How fast will I learn to read?”
“Will I be able to count to 600?”
“Will they teach me to tie my shoes?”

Those are the questions of a child who is excited to start learning the things she encounters in her environment that she can’t do yet. “Will there be toys?” is something she would have worried about at age 3 or 4, not at almost-6.

Many claim that kindergarten has changed in the last 8-12 years from fun learning-through-play and social time, that kids are overworked, have too many expectations put on them, and are immediately given work they cannot handle with no rest or fun whatsoever.  I am 39 years old, which means I went to kindergarten 34 years ago, and I went for a full day, I sat at a desk, I learned to read and write.  I did not have a snack.  I did have a “quiet period” after lunch where we looked at books and listened to music, before the afternoon lessons began, but we didn’t sleep.  So I question where this sudden “kindergarten has gotten SO unreasonable and hard” perspective is coming from.

I don’t know what schools these parents are encountering where their kindergarteners are trapped in an airless room with no humor, no fun, no breaks or recess, and no individuality.  I have been around for a long time and have encountered a lot of schools, students, and teachers.  I have yet to see these horrible, evil schools that are talked/blogged about so constantly that you’d think children are just squelched and practically mentally abused day in and day out.  Yes, I will agree there is a small percentage of the thousands of schools in this country that have generated a bad experience for some children.  But the way people talk these days, it’s “send your child to school at their peril!”

I plan to continue my series on kindergarten, especially as my daughter is starting in a week.  I want to explore this phenomenon in-depth and compare her real, recent experience with the horror stories I am sure to start reading even more about.  I want to really see if life is just that awful for a kindergartener in America.

Stay tuned.

Join in the conversation!!  Share  your horror stories with me!


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