Kindergarten was developed in the late 18th century in what is now southern Germany as a preschool experience for children whose parents worked outside of the home. These original kindergarten programs consisted of playing, singing, drawing, and social activities intended to help young children transition from home to school. Today, in the United States, kindergarten is part of the K–12 education system. In some states, full- or half-day kindergarten is compulsory, whereas in others, it is offered and recommended but not required. Children are usually eligible for entry into kindergarten when they are 5 to 6 years old.

Kindergarten in the United States originally followed the European model and included programs that developed young children’s social and emotional skills as well as their readiness for academic ...

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