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Kindergarten, Then & Now
This web site was created as a result of the Emerging America:Teaching American History Project hosted by the Hampshire Educational Collaborative in Northampton, Ma. in the summer of 2009. During this series of workshops and lectures participants were encouraged to explore primary source documents related to local history. During one of the lectures it was mentioned in passing that the Hill Institute  in Florence, Ma. was the first free kindergarten in the United States. During a visit to our town historical society, Historic Northampton, I discovered a photograph of a kindergarten class dated 1876. As a kindergarten teacher this peeked my interest as to what the kindergarten experience was like and how it compared to present day kindergarten.  On this site you will find a description of what I found and how it became a unit of study for my kindergarten class. 

Students and their families share their elders interview
 at the end of the project.
 

Several components of this project were dependent on parent participation.  Parents were told about the project early in the school year.  Later a special breakfast was planned shortly after the school drop off time as a kickoff to this unit.  Parents were shown primary source documents and given the necessary materials to complete timelines and elder interviews.  Family participation was very high.