Graduation rituals – gowns and mortarboard hats - are too grown up for preschool and kindergarten students. Our accelerated – anxiety provoking – modern childhood needs more simple, age-appropriate activities.
Peter Cihelka/The Free Lance-Star/AP
When Frederick Froebel invented kindergarten, in early 1800s Germany, he pioneered the idea of early childhood education — of reaching children during a period of dramatic brain development and introducing a holistic style of learning through play, music, movement, paperfolding and games. He recognized that children learn differently from one another (the precursor to Multiple Intelligence theory), and that one child may learn best by sorting objects, another by talking with peers, and another through sensory experiences like physical movement and touch. He influenced Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner (whose work led to Waldorf Schools), and the Reggio Emilia approach to education, all of which are popular and well regarded today.
Kindergarten, as recently as many of our own childhoods, was a laboratory of discovery and social skills, as well as the preparation for grade school.