A kindergarten report card from 1954 has gone viral, thanks to its unbelievably simple expectations for students. The report for Margaret Bramer is broken up into four sections highlighting different requirements.
Some of the objectives listed are basic things you would see in a kindergarten class. The “Things I know” section includes goals like knowing the colors and the days of the week. There’s also a section that tracks reading and math ability. (For the record, Margaret was able to count to an impressive 79.)
However, there are plenty of things listed that you don’t see in kindergarten classes anymore. The report included life skills such as cooking, sewing, planting seeds and basic financial literacy.
What’s noticeably absent from this list is standardized testing results and other outlandish expectations for a 5-year-old kid. A study from the American Educational Research Association—titled “Is Kindergarten the New First Grade”—found that in comparison to 1998, 2010's teachers were 22 percent more likely to say evaluating students based on state or local standards was essential. The study also found that a whopping 80 percent of teachers think students should know how to read and write by the end of kindergarten.
Back in 1954, it looks like the focus for teachers was making sure students left the class with basic knowledge and the foundation for practical real-world skills. There seemed to be an emphasis on letting the children play and participate in creative arts like music and painting.
Some commenters on the original post believe that the 1954 curriculum is the way a kindergarten class should be run.
“This is what it should be at the age of five,” wrote Sarah Harrell, a mother and teacher. “Today the children are expected to know too much, being pushed too hard and forced to grow up too fast. They have many more years in school to learn, so children should be children and it should be this way now! I'm a preschool-kindergarten teacher and see many 'failing' kindergarteners, when really they are right on track for their age!”
Another teacher commented that her students already do many of the things listed on the report card. “I teach pre-K and many of these items are included on my assessment,” wrote Marian Moore-Rounds. “In fact, the ability level of most of my students far exceed the expectations on this list. Some of my students already are doing 1st-grade level work.”
Even if the standards for kindergarten students have changed in the past 63 years, it’s hard to argue with what the goals that this teacher had for her students. It looks like she tried to create an ideal environment for young children to learn, play and pick up valuable skills—without having to worry about teaching to the test.