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Kindergarten

Valerie E. Lee and David T. Burkam


Subject Sociology » Sociology of Education

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Extract

The idea of a kindergarten originated in 1840, after the German educationalist Friedrich Froebel opened a Play and Activity Institute for children between the ages of 3 and 7 to develop their mental, social, and emotional faculties. The term is now used in many parts of the world for the initial stages of a child's classroom schooling. In some countries kindergarten is part of the formal school system, but in others it usually refers to preschool or daycare programs. In France and Germany such programs are separate from the schools and are often run by churches and local community groups. In India, Mexico, and the US kindergarten programs are available through both public and private schools. Many aspects of children's education in kindergarten are important in a sociological context. However, the discussion here is restricted to a few important issues about kindergarten in the US: (1) differences in children's social and cognitive status as they begin their formal schooling in kindergarten; (2) how these social and cognitive differences map onto the quality of the schools where they experience kindergarten; and (3) how differences in children's cognitive growth in kindergarten are associated with whether their experiences are in full-day or half-day programs. When US children should begin their formal schooling, and what the nature of that schooling should be, has been debated ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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