Issue 6-15-14 Website - page 11

This week we’ve hosted the
kindergarten students from
Wolcott Street School. They
try very hard to sit quietly on
the floor and concentrate on
the program, but if you know
kindergarteners very well, you
know they are easily distracted.
The first group that walked
over to LeRoy House were
fascinated with Mrs. Furr’s
necklace. “Is your necklace
made out of cereal?” one eager
boy asked. “Well, no it isn’t but
I guess you’re right it looks
like cereal. But today we are
going to look at the things in
Grandma’s trunk. Can you find
somethingold toholdup?”And
so it progressed.
Anopportunity tocompareold
things inGrandma’s Trunkwith
new things in the plastic tote.
It’s important to remember that
for thesefive-yearolds, anything
before 2009 is old. But they
do a great job. They hold up a
candlestick and an electric lamp
- - a feather pen and a ballpoint
pen. There’s a pad of paper and
a slate - - a roll of paper towels
and a cotton towel - - a pack of
Kleenex and a handkerchief.
This year we added a digital
game and a wooden Jacob’s
ladder. “A lot of these new
things have electric cords on
them. Do any of the old things
need electricity?” “And what
happenswhenweuse thepaper
plate, or the plastic cup, or the
paper towel? We throw them
away don’t we?” “We throw
away a lot of stuff today, but
grandma didn’t.”
Actually we are
probably talking
about great-great
grandma. This
activity is very
appropr iate for
kindergarteners. And
when they go back
to their classroom,
theyhave twoactivity
sheets that reinforces
their experiences.
The i de a o f
kindergartens was
developed in Europe
in the early 19th
century. Actually
some sources trace the
idea of schooling for
pre-schoolers earlier.
It wasn’t until 1856
started in the United
States and that was in
but it was a German
speaking school .
The earliest English
speaking kindergarten
was inBoston.
In 1860, Elizabeth
Peabody established
an English speaking
kindergarten and
Conrad Poppenhusen
offered a free kindergarten in
1870. Thefirstpubliclyfinanced
kindergarten was in St. Louis,
Missouri, by Susan Blow. In
LeRoy, Professor Russell, who
was fromBoston, iscreditedwith
initiatingkindergartenclasses in
LeRoy. Hewas the principal of
the LeRoy Academic Institute.
Hebelieved that students should
look forward to going to school
and that school was a pleasure
rather than a penance.
Early kindergartens were
basedon the premise that young
children should learn how to
interact socially and that when
the parents wereworking, those
opportunitieswerenot available.
Itwas important to learnmanners;
how to listen to
directions; how to
take turns; how to
follow directions
and how to play
well with other
children. As the idea
of kindergartens
changed, they
be c ame mo r e
education oriented
and itwas important
to learn thealphabet,
to read numbers, to
write your name,
how to tie your
shoes. Today a lot
more is expected of
kindergarteners, yet they still
have to master how to sit still
and listen and how to follow
directions. The experiences they
have in kindergarten will last
them throughout their entire
school years.
I remember the kindergarten
room at #49 school inRochester
andour teacherMissNarramore,
a very tall ladywho had to fold
her legs under her to sit on the
little low chairs. There were
wonderful wooden blocks and a
toy area to play in. The painting
easels were covered with paint,
but it was always a special day
when we had a chance to do a
painting and not have it drip
down the page!
We at the Historical Society,
hope that the kindergarteners
will remember their visits to
LeRoy House fondly – and the
ladywith thenecklace that looks
like cereal.
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