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:
Sometimes 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