How does Kindergarten in the United States today differ from the 1970s? What were the standard then as compared to now? How has our perspective on early childhood education changed in the past 40 years?
In the 1970s, kindergarten took place for half of the day.
Now, kindergarten is typically 7 hours per day.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 15% of kindergartners attended full-day programs in 1970. By 2011 77% of kids attended kindergarten full-day.
In the 1970’s, kindergarten was play based.
Now, kindergarten is academics focused.
This is a checklist published in 1979 that indicated whether your child was ready for first grade, taken from the book Your Six-Year-Old: Loving and Defiant.
Does your child have two to five permanent or second teeth?
Can you child tell, in such a way that his speech is understood by a school crossing guard or policeman, where he lives?
Can he draw and color and stay within the lines of the design being colored?
Can he stand on one foot with eyes closed for five to ten seconds?
Can he ride a small two-wheeled bicycle without helper wheels?
Can he tell left hand from right?
Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend’s home?
Can he be away from you all day without being upset?
Can he repeat an eight- to ten-word sentence, if you say it once, as “The boy ran all the way home from the store”?
Can he count eight to ten pennies correctly?
Does your child try to write or copy letters or numbers?
In the 1970s, children did not begin writing until the end of kindergarten.
Now, children are expected to begin writing in preschool.