The theory implicit in the kindergarten system, that education develops through expression and social cooperation, has greatly influenced elementary education and parent education, especially in the United States, where kindergartens are generally a part of public school systems. The first kindergarten in America was founded (1856) at Watertown, Wis., by Margaretta Schurz, wife of Carl Schurz. It was followed by a school opened (1861) by Elizabeth Peabody in Boston and by a public kindergarten established (1873) in St. Louis by Susan Blow.
See also nursery school.
See C. Goode, World of Kindergarten (1970); W. Barbe, Basic Skills in Kindergarten (1980); S. Stuart, Teaching and Reaching (1983); B. Spodek, Today's Kindergarten (1986); N. Brosterman, Inventing Kindergarten (1997).
Early Childhood Education In Afghanistan
Early childhood development (ECD) programs address the needs and development of young children from birth to 6 years of age, their families, and their communities. They are multidimensional and designed to support children’s health, nutritional, cognitive, social, and emotional abilities, enabling them to survive and thrive in later years. Reflecting cultural values, they must be deeply rooted within families and communities, blending what are known about environments that enhance optimal child development with an understanding of traditional child-rearing practices that support and/or curtail a child’s development. The goal of the ECD strategy is to help families ensure that their children reach school age, not only healthy and well nourished, but intellectually curious, socially confident, and equipped with a solid foundation for lifelong learning. Develop and implement programs to provide better start in lives to younger age children before their schools (kindergarten) as well as to support school-age children who are out of school and missed their schooling by providing them Non-formal Education and vocational training.
Background of Kindergarten in Afghanistan ECD programs have a relatively short history in Afghanistan. They were first introduced during the Soviet occupation with the establishment in 1980 of 27 urban preschools, or kodakistan. The number of preschools grew steadily during the 1980s, reaching a high of more than 270 by 1990, with 2,300 teachers caring for more than 21,000 children. These facilities were an urban phenomenon, mostly in Kabul, and were attached to schools, government offices, or factories. Based on the Soviet model, they provided nursery care, preschool, and kindergarten for children from 3 months to 6 years of age under the direction of the Department of Labor and Social Welfare. The vast majority of Afghan families were never exposed to this system, and most of those who were never fully accepted it because it diminished the central role of the family and inculcated children with Soviet values. With the onset of civil war after the Soviet withdrawal, the number of kindergartens dropped rapidly. By 1995, only 88 functioning facilities serving 2,110 children survived, and the Taliban restrictions on female employment eliminated all of the remaining centers in areas under their control. At present, no programs of any size exist, facilities have been destroyed, and trained personnel are lacking. In 2007, there are about 260 Kindergarten offering early year’s stimulation to over 25000 children.
It is estimated that 2.5 million Afghan children are less than 6 years of age. A range of both biological and environmental risk factors act synergistically to exert a powerful negative influence on the growth and development of the Afghan child. A mix of religious and tribal customs and beliefs permeates Afghan society, with kinship substituting for government in most areas. Communities are traditionally closely knit with a strong emphasis on the extended family. Roles are clearly defined and central to the social order. Decades of war, massive displacement, and changing power structures caused the collapse of community-support networks and the erosion of the extended family—one of the most basic traditional coping mechanisms. Large numbers of women are widowed and have had to assume unaccustomed and nontraditional roles as family breadwinners. One quarter of all children die before the age of 5 as a result of birth trauma, neonatal tetanus diarrhea, pneumonia, and vaccine-preventable diseases. Iron-deficiency anemia is widespread, affecting half to two thirds of children under 5 years of age. Large numbers of children are chronically malnourished; 45–59% show high levels of stunting. Malnutrition contributes to high rates of maternal mortality among adolescent girls in a culture where as many as half of all girls marry before the age of 18, and many soon after adolescence. Confronted with these interlocking threats to development, children arrive at school unable to take advantage of learning opportunities. It is not surprising that dropout rates are high. Figures from 1999 show that one in four children dropped out of school in grade 2 and almost one in two in grades 3 and 4. In addition to the child’s physical and health status, other factors contributing to high dropout rates are family issues and competing priorities for the child’s time, irregular teacher attendance, subject irrelevance, and poor quality of teaching.
At present, no policies deal with early childhood and no institutions have either the responsibility or the capacity to provide such services. In the past, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs was accountable for kindergartens, nurseries, and crèches, while orphanages fell within the purview of MOE. At present, the Ministries of Education, Labor and Social Affairs, and Women’s Affairs have expressed an interest in overseeing the early childhood sector. As the Government continues to define and restructure ministerial responsibilities, the strengths and limitations of various options, including an inter-ministerial coordination agency, should be carefully considered. While formal structures do not exist, it is not clear whether any informal childcare arrangements exist at the community level other than those provided by family members. As women enter the work force, it is likely that a market for private preschool services will emerge in urban areas.
Crosscutting Issues In addition to linkages with heath and nutrition, the early childhood sector addresses several crosscutting issues, including gender and children with disabilities. The roots of discrimination against girls, the stereotyping of male and female models of behavior, and the acceptance of male domination and violence against women are formed very early within the family. These values are reinforced in the school, community, and institutions that support children and their families. Since gender-equity issues in education begin in early childhood, the strategy suggested is one of informal community-based programs that support the capacity of families and communities to provide a fair start to girls as well as boys, and help parents better perceive the capabilities of the girl-child, thus leading to a longer period of schooling and increasing the probability that girls will enter and remain in primary school. The term “children with disabilities” subsumes a wide range of atypical disorders, from short-term behavior problems to long-term physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. In view of this, there is an urgent need to provide attention to children with these disabilities. The integrated holistic approach to normal child development provides a unique opportunity to identify these children early in life and to provide them with early intervention services. The recommended strategy is to equip paraprofessionals and families with the skills needed for the early identification of disabilities and intervention with infants and young children.
In New Zealand, kindergarten refers to the 2 years preceding primary school, from age 3 to 5.
In Ontario there are two grades of kindergarten: junior kindergarten and senior kindergarten (referred to as JK and SK). Junior kindergarten begins for children in the calendar year in which they turn four years old. Both kindergarten grades are typically run on a half-day or every-other-day schedule though full day Monday to Friday kindergarten is being introduced. In Ontario, both the senior and junior kindergarten programs, also called the "Early Years", are optional programs. Mandatory schooling begins in grade one.
Within the province of Quebec, junior kindergarten is called prématernelle and senior kindergarten is called la maternelle. Within the French school system in the province of Ontario, junior kindergarten and senior kindergarten are called la maternelle and senior kindergarten is sometimes called jardin d'enfants, which is a direct translation of the German word kindergarten.
The province of Nova Scotia refers to Kindergarten as Grade Primary.
The German pre-school is known as a Kindergarten (plural Kindergärten) and is not part of the actual school system. The term Vorschule, meaning 'pre-school', is used for educational efforts in Kindergärten, which are handled differently in each German state.
Children between the ages of 3 and 6 attend Kindergärten, which are often run by city or town administrations, churches, or registered societies that pursue a certain educational goal, e.g. as represented by Montessori, or Reggio Emilia.
Kita (short for Kindertagesstätte), meaning children's daycare center, as they are frequently called, can be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and may also house a Kinderkrippe, meaning nursery school, for children between the ages of nine months and two years, and possibly an afternoon Hort (normally associated to a primary school) for school-age children aged 6 to 10 who spend the time after their lessons there. Alongside nurseries, there are day-care nurses (called Tagesmutter, plural Tagesmütter) working, independently from any pre-school institution, in individual homes and looking after only three to five children usually up to three years of age, although many look after older children as well. These nurses are supported and supervised by local authorities. Attending a Kindergarten is neither mandatory nor free of charge, although it can be partly or wholly funded, depending on the guidelines of the local authority and the income of the parents.
A special kind of Kindergarten in Germany is the Schulkindergarten.
Many pre-schools are named "Anglo-Chinese Kindergarten" or "English Kindergarten", emphasising their focus on English-language education. Some pre-schools are part of schools that offer primary, secondary and even matriculation courses.
In most cases the pre-school is run as a private school. Younger children may also be put into a special toddler/nursery group at the age of 2. It is run as part of the kindergarten.
Korean kindergartens are private schools. Costs per month vary. Korean parents often send their children to English kindergartens to give them a head start in English. Such specialized kindergartens can be mostly taught in Korean with some English lessons, mostly taught in English with some Korean lessons, or completely taught in English. Almost all middle-class parents send their children to kindergarten. Poorer families wait until their children are much older, even 13-15 years old, before sending them to after-school academies.
Kindergarten programs in South Korea attempt to incorporate much academic instruction alongside more playful activities. Korean kindergarteners learn to read, write (often in English as well as Korean) and do simple arithmetic. Classes are conducted in a traditional classroom setting, with the children focused on the teacher and one lesson or activity at a time. The goal of the teacher is to overcome weak points in each child's knowledge or skills.
Because the education system in Korea is very competitive, kindergartens are becoming more intensely academic nowadays. Children are pushed to read and write at a very young age. They also become accustomed to regular and considerable amounts of homework. These very young children may also attend other specialized afternoon schools, taking lessons in art, piano or violin, taekwondo, ballet, soccer or mathematics.
In North Korea, children attend kindergarten between the ages of four and five. Kindergartens are divided among the upper (party) class and lower (worker) class, where upper-class kindergartens are completely educational, and lower class have little education.
At private schools, kindergarten usually consists of three grades, and a fourth one may be added for nursery. While the first grade is a playgroup, the other two are of classroom education.
The kindergarten system in Mexico was developed by Rosaura Zapata (1876-1963) who received the country's highest honor for that contribution.
In 2002, the Congress of the Union approved the Law of Obligatory Pre-schooling, which already made pre-school education for three to six-year-olds obligatory, and placed it under the auspices of the federal and state ministries of education.
In the UK children attend nursery between the ages of three and five. Some nurseries are attached to state infant or primary schools, but the majority are provided by the private sector. In England and Wales the government provides funding so that all children aged between three and four can receive five two and a half hour sessions of free nursery education per week. Nursery forms part of the Foundation Stage of education.
In the 1980s England and Wales officially adopted the Northern Irish system whereby children start school either in the term or year in which they will become five depending on the policy of the Local Education Authority. In Scotland schooling is compulsory from the August after the child's fifth birthday, this being the official system previously used in England and Wales, though many Local Authorities used the Northern Irish rule up to thirty years earlier where space was available. The first year of schooling is known as Reception in England, Dosbarth Derbyn in Welsh and Primary One in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
There are many positive learning and social/behavioral benefits for children in kindergarten programs. At the same time, it is widely felt that what children are doing during the kindergarten day is more important than the length of the school day. Cebo (1990) and Mateo (1989) warn educators and parents to resist the pressure to include more didactic academic instruction in all-day kindergarten programs. They contend that this type of instruction is inappropriate for young children.
"High/Scope Learning" is a style of learning that is used in many kindergartens in the United States. This learning style is very interactive and requires a great deal of the children and the teacher. It employs a "plan, do, review" approach which enables children to take responsibility for their learning. First the children "plan" their activities. The teacher provides choices of activities for the children which are age-appropriate and initiate learning, whether through problem solving, reading, language, mathematics, manipulatives, etc. This planning takes place, usually, when the children walk in the classroom. Then they "do" their activity. Some of these activities include such things as a water table, building blocks, a creative dance area, "dress up" area, a reading area, and a drawing table. The majority of the children's time is spent in this "do" activity. The last part of this approach is the review part. This is where the children and the teacher go over what they have done that day. This can be done in a large group, especially if there is a theme for the day that is used in all activities, or individually. The children discuss what they did and how they liked it and what they learned from it. This high/scope learning has grown in popularity and is accepted largely because it allows for the children to be responsible for their own learning.
In New York and New Jersey, it is not legally necessary to go to kindergarten, although most children do anyway.