Rogue Words from A to Z: Kinder in the Garden

A to Z Letter KToday’s kid-friendly post is brought to you by the letter K.

Do you have fond memories of kindergarten? I’m sure many of us do.

(For those who are not familiar with the term, kindergarten is a class that helps prepare young children for their first grade in school.)

I don’t have fond memories of learning how to spell kindergarten, though. Writing Grade 1 was so much easier than writing kindergarten. Maybe that’s why my Kindergarten class kept getting referred to as K!

The word kindergarten comes from the German, meaning “children’s garden.” According to this dictionary, the term was first coined in 1840 by Friedrich Fröbel, an educator of young children. He used gardening as a symbol for his teaching methods. Educators in England and America took up the term, and now it is standard across many school systems.

Kindergarten is often misspelled as kindergarden. Although this spelling is not acceptable to dictionaries, it has clearly made its way into our minds. Based on a cursory internet search alone, I found references to kindergarden on children’s CD covers, phone cases, school websites, newspaper headlines, and even on Goodreads, which at the time of this writing has many books on its “kindergarden shelf.”

Many preschools have also taken advantage of this confusion by calling themselves The Kinder Garden.

I say this new spelling is fine with me. It will make it easier for the kindergartners to spell it — they have enough trouble learning their ABCs as it is. And anything that reinforces the comparison between teaching young children and helping plants grow (like this wonderful picture) can only be a good thing.

I’ll leave you with a magical observation about children and gardens from one of my favourite early reads, The Secret Garden:

The Secret Garden book coverSometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something were pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of Magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden — in all the places.

– Frances Hodgson Burnett


What is your favourite memory from kindergarten? I liked story time the best (not a surprise to any of you, I’m sure).

Image from Wikimedia Commons

This post is dedicated to Jaso. Thanks for reading!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, where I will lasso the lily-livered letter L…


© Sue Archer and Doorway Between Worlds, 2015

36 thoughts on “Rogue Words from A to Z: Kinder in the Garden

  1. I never read the secret garden, but I saw the film which is wonderful – have you seen it?
    I actually don’t have much in the way of memories from Maternelle (our Kindergarten.), although I do remember when we all had to take a nap. Clearly I liked sleeping back then 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have seen the movie, and it was quite good, but I do prefer the book – probably because I read it first. 🙂

      I was the opposite – I hated nap time because I was never tired. It was boring pretending to sleep!


  2. My mom believed that playing in the garden and learning at home with her was a better time past than going to the “kindergarten”. Gardening and nature became a passion, and I learned there was magic everywhere. The Secret Garden, what a great book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve heard the term reception before – it makes me think of an office, rather than a place for children. 🙂 And yes, I’m sure some people called it the baby class here, too. Especially the eighth graders. I remember having to look waaay up at them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually never had trouble spelling Kindergarten. It may be because, as a Dutchwoman, I am somewhat familiar with the German language. I think I like the “kinder garden” spin on things though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved the book “The Secret Garden” growing up. I think I read it 5 or 6 times! Now back to Kindergarten…..I remember circle time. I don’t remember much about it, other than I liked it. I hated nap time though! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Tawnya! Thanks for coming by my blog and commenting! It’s great to meet another person who hated nap time. Circle time was much better! 🙂

      And I read The Secret Garden a lot, too…it was one of my comfort books as a child.


    1. Ha! Yes, I’m not sure how it’s working now that my area has full-day kindergarten (both junior and senior – they only had one level when I was young). When I was four, being at school all day would have been really hard.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a good film. I also really enjoyed the film version of A Little Princess, which is by the same author.

      I think in a lot of ways I prefer the misspelled version of kindergarten. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for letting me know this new word! I looked it up, and I see it also means shelter or refuge, which makes a lot of sense. 🙂

      Good for you remembering your time at the asilo – at this point, my memories of being young are very vague!


  5. I remember a lot from kindergarten. Each kid had their own “special week” where mom & dad would help them plan activities centered around a topic or the kid’s favorite things. We had just taken a trip to Hawaii so we made papier-mache volcanoes, learned to hula dance, did Hawaiian-themed storytime, etc. It was a blast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that sounds fantastic. You obviously went to a really good school that cared about supporting the kids. Everything here is so standardized today – it doesn’t leave as much room for creativity. Which is too bad!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I started school in grade 1 and I remember crying that I was too old for kindergarten. They sang all the time! After this beautiful post, and two kids, I have no more excuses to spell it incorrectly! Now, I Need to read the Secret Garden 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Memories from kindergarten: I remember HATING the “Letter People” characters that were used to teach the alphabet to my classmates who hadn’t learned that yet. I remember reading a story later in the school year that was something about a boy having a nightmare about himself and his friend Johnny being chased by a monster and escaping by crossing a river in a boat. (The story contained words such as “river” and “monster” and “escape,” and to this day most people I know insist that no kindergartener could have read such a thing.) I remember that one of my classmates was very fond of the Wonder Woman television series (this was in the late 1970s), and during free time she liked to spin in a circle while shouting “Wonder Woman!” at the top of her lungs. I remember that I always took a package of cheese crackers for a snack… except the time I had an apple instead, and that was the day I lost my first tooth. I remember getting into an argument with a substitute teacher about the animated movie of The Hobbit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, you remember a lot more than I do, Thomas! I remember arguing with my teacher because I didn’t want to get up in front of the class. I also remember being vocally amazed that we were learning how to spell cat, because I already knew how to read. I think I may have caused my teacher some stress. 🙂

      And I used to do the Wonder Woman thing, too! What a fun show.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a wonderful book, isn’t it? To be honest, I have no idea how Amish schooling works. 🙂 I took a quick look at your blog and it looks like you have a great A to Z series. I will definitely stop by when I have time to browse. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!


  8. The only reason I absolutely know the spelling is that being a kindergarten teacher is my day job! I don’t have many memories of my own time there, except the day I was so excited to see my mother that I clothes-lined myself on a low table as I was running towards her. Never. Lived. It. Down. XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would be truly embarrassing if you couldn’t spell the name of your class! That’s sweet that you were so excited – I hope you didn’t get teased too much. One of those family stories that keep getting brought out, I’m sure. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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