Nothing much changed. I saw it when I happened to drive by recently. The asphalt playground, the beige stucco walls, the chain-link fence, the classroom of the big rug and many windows, it was all there. This was where I went to kindergarten, the school down the street, on the busy corner, where we 5-year-olds of the neighborhood were brought together for our first lessons in social interaction.
Now they call it “early childhood education.” We just called it school, but it had the desired effect. We learned how to get along, who was good, who was not, what could and could not be done and remain in good standing. We learned to listen to the teacher, to be still and quiet when appropriate, or loud and boisterous when given permission. We made friends. We were exposed to piles of books we found could be much more interesting and entertaining once we learned to decipher the text. We saw words and numbers on cards the teacher held up, and soon determined that learning about them would make everything better and easier.