September 29th Confucius Day

Much has been attributed to Confucius, his wisdom and humor, although we have to take others word for it that he ever really lived. They did make statues of him and quote him a lot so I am guessing he was alive at some point. He was born on October 18th in 551 BC, he was an ancient philosopher, a teacher, a scholar and a politician. I am curious in the day of the Warlord what kind of politician he could have been but they say he was, so I guess he was. Oh, and we have no idea why September 29th is Confucius Day so there’s another mystery for ya!

How to celebrate – Read about Confucius. Learn Confucius sayings. Visit China.

October 5th World Teacher’s Day

Teachers have a rough job. I mean, it’s not like a ditch digger or a skyscraper walker but still, we wouldn’t have those people if someone didn’t teach them either. The fact is, we are all teachers in our own way… maybe not in a classroom and maybe not inspiring someone to be something more but we all teach. I admire those who can develop minds and set children on a path to want to learn.Today was created by Director-General of UNESCO, Federico Mayor, at the International Conference in Geneva in 1993.

How to celebrate – Thank any teacher you know. Get a bunch of apples to pass out. Try being a teacher’s assistant for just a day.

April 21st Kindergarten Day

I have worked at an elementary school for nearly 23 years now.  While my job requires me to work with all ages from Kindergarten to fifth grade I daily see those kindergarten teachers after working with their classes all day.  The students seem fine and full of energy, the teachers look like death warmed over and ready to trade places with Rip Van Winkle.

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The idea for a school for small children started in 1779 when Johann Frederich Oberlin and Louise Scheppler opened a place for working parents to drop their children off for the day.  This was in Bavaria, Germany but rapidly begin to spread to other areas throughout the region.  In 1816 Robert Owen opened the “Infants School” in Scotland where children would be taught very basic things like manners and elementary skills.  Samuel Wilderspin elaborated on the idea in London and created the first ever “playground”.  In 1828 Countess Theresa Brunszuik opened what could be called a chain of “Infant Schools” in Hungry. But it was Frederich Flobel who opened the first “Play and Activity” institute in 1837 and gave it the name, Kindergarten in 1840.  That too is German and translated means, a “Garden for Children”.

The first Kindergarten opened in the US in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1856 but was only available to German speaking people.  Elizabeth Peabody opened the first English speaking school for tots in 1860.  The first free Kindergarten in the US opened in 1870 under the guidance of Conrad Poppenhusen.  From start to finish, this seems to be led heavily by the German influences all over the world.

Kindergartens exist in every modern day community, though there are still many children unable to attend for numerous reasons.  It varies in age, taking students anywhere for 2 years old to 7 years of age.  The roughest day is always the first day with lots of crying and anxiety… but after the mothers leave (they are the ones doing most of the crying)… the day gets down to a routine that children rapidly learn to accept and enjoy.  Children begin to learn how to cope with social expectations and the elements of what will be expected of them in the higher grades.

God bless those kindergarten teachers!  Those of us fortunate enough to have a child know what one or two of them demand at home.  Imagine that same demand coming from 12-20 of them everyday for 6-8 hours a day!

How to celebrate:  Buy your favorite kindergarten teach a box of candy, they deserve it.  Volunteer for a day to help out a kindergarten class.  Try to recall what your first day in kindergarten was like.