Celebrate National Kindergarten Day! - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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April 21, 2016

Celebrate National Kindergarten Day!

We know that children are a gift from God, and so their instruction is important at all ages. And then you have kindergarteners. Charming, curious and full of sass, they are a delight to teach. Not everybody's cut out to launch energetic groups of youngsters on their educational journeys, but those with that special touch can leave an indelible imprint on impressionable young students.

Kindergarten is currently thought of as an educational fixture, but it's actually a relatively recent addition to the American curriculum. It's certainly had an impact since entering United States schools, so it's definitely deserving of its own special day. Every April, educators honor the contributions of Friedrich Froebel, who, according to the Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood, launched the very first kindergarten class in 1837.

Kindergarten's origins

German teacher Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel realized early on that young children have unique needs, many of which are not addressed in the standard classroom environment. Younger students learn best not through rote memorization, but rather, through exploring the world around them. Froebel also noticed that not all children transition well to the school environment. Adjusting to a classroom setting is difficult enough after spending an entire lifetime with parents and siblings, but this adjustment is that much more difficult if energetic young students are asked to spend each day sitting still and listening to teachers.

Concerned about the lack of a welcoming environment for young students, Froebel developed a revolutionary play institute, designed to encourage children to engage their natural curiosity. He coined the concept “kindergarten,” which reflected his belief that a child's growth begins with careful nourishment, much like a seedling in a garden.

The history of kindergarten in the United States

After over a decade of success in Germany, the kindergarten concept spread to the United States in 1856. Located in Wisconsin, the first American kindergarten featured German-speaking children. An English-language kindergarten followed four years later, with founder Elizabeth Peabody embracing Froebel's ideas about the educational value of children's play.

For its first decade in America, kindergarten was only available to those with significant financial means. The city of St. Louis changed this by adding kindergarten to its public school system in 1873. By the turn of the century, many additional publicly funded kindergartens had been opened, as well as a variety of kindergarten programs at Christian parochial schools.

All about National Kindergarten Day

An unofficial holiday, National Kindergarten Day gives educators, parents, and of course, kindergarteners the opportunity to pay homage to all that is great about this special stage of schooling. Those outside of the teaching profession also celebrate National Kindergarten Day by sharing cute pictures and fond memories of their pre-first grade experiences. At Geneva College, aspiring elementary school teachers are especially passionate about this special day, as many hope to begin their rewarding careers as kindergarten teachers as soon as they graduate.

Excited about National Kindergarten Day? Why not celebrate the wonder of kindergarten every day? You can do exactly that if you pursue a career in elementary education. Prepare yourself for the challenges -- and rewards -- of kindergarten education and enroll in Geneva's PK-4 program, which will give you the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to teach students between the ages of 3 and 10. Until then, you can look forward to your future career while celebrating National Kindergarten Day on April 21st, 2016.