Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Everything I know I didn't learn in kindergarten

Tuesday Slice of Life with Two Writing Teachers

When I traveled a few weeks ago to support my Mom during her stroke recovery, one interesting coincidence for me was that she was being treated in Charleston, SC, which was where my family lived when I was a little girl. My Dad was in the Navy and we lived on the Charleston Naval Base. I lived there from age 1 through age 5. I remember walking with my older brothers, past the Marine guards on base, to kindergarten at the parochial school across the street from the naval base.

I'm not sure why I remember this so vividly, because I only went to kindergarten for about 3 weeks. Yes, truth be told,  I was a kindergarten dropout.

Here's a picture of me visiting my old kindergarten, a few weeks ago!

Many years ago, my Mom explained that she just couldn't deal with my daily tantrums - every morning when she brushed my hair to get ready for school, I would begin crying, begging not to go.  My own memory is that my baby brother Ralph was a newborn, and I wanted desperately to stay home with him. Besides, my 3 year old brother Sonny was at home, why did he get to stay home but I didn't?

Back then (1964), you were not required to go to kindergarten. Mom stopped sending me and I went right into first grade, when we moved to Connecticut the next year.

I think a lot about how different my childhood was from that of the children I teach.
Staying home, alongside my mother.
Tinkering, exploring, messing about,
doing whatever I wanted to do.
Playing with my dolls, as long as I darn pleased.
Probably not following much of a schedule at all.
I bet I lingered in my pajamas each day.

Isn't this strange to think about?
How different childhood is now?


  1. Funny how you were a kindergarten dropout and my mom pushed me into kindergarten almost a year early. I don't remember anything at all about being there but I remember gobs about getting there as my mom was the neighborhood school bus - driving our family VW van up and down the streets and picking up kids (no car seats back then so no capacity restraints!) and dropping us all off at school. I actually felt sorry for my younger sibs who had to ride along and not get to go to school!

  2. I didn't go to kindergarten either, but am a lot older, Maureen & there was none in my little town. My kids went though, but a half day. There did used to be much more freedom, staying home, hanging out. I spent most of my summers visiting relatives & reading! Now, my almost two year old granddaughter will be starting Montessori pre-school in the fall. It's what they know, isn't it? Fun to see your picture!

  3. I went to nursery school early to be with my sister and left early when she went on to kindergarten. I, too, enjoyed the time being home with my mother. And I was reading before I entered school. We are rushing are kids out of childhood, I fear.

  4. but you were the oldest. I couldn't wait to go to school, like my big sis. I remember being so bored, home with my mom, no other sibs while my sis was at school from 8 - 3 (including walking to and from by herself, another thing that has changed...).

    Ironically my parents didn't send me to nursery school because my older sister had cried when they signed her up. I think I would have been eager.

    But times have changed indeed.