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Most adults know what this week means. Of course, Monday, April 18 was tax deadline. But this week is also something a little more fun than taxes.
Remember that magical time during childhood where we started spending days away from our parents? Kindergarten is that magical time of learning, snack time and playing with new friends.
April 21 is known as National Kindergarten Day marking the birthday of Friedrich Frobel, a German educator who founded the first play and activity institute called kindergarten in 1837. Kindergarten is a mid-19th century German word meaning children’s garden.
According to Frobel, young children should follow their own interests and freely explore them. That’s why kindergartens include singing, dancing and creative play. I’ll throw nap time into the mix as well. I still remember fondly rolling out the mats on the floor and catching a few Zzz’s in the afternoon during kindergarten. I’m convinced it was the best year of school. Oh, those were the days.
Napping aside, we came up with a fun project for most of our kindergarteners throughout Steele County to do this week in honor of the day. As the Class of 2034, (I know it seems like a lifetime away), we asked them what they wanted to be when they grow up. Their class photos were snapped and put together with their responses in a special section in this week’s edition.
It amazes me with some of the responses we got. Many of our youngsters have aspirations to be teachers, police officers, farmers, doctors, firefighters and veterinarians. Some are pretty specific about what they want. Take Nolan Bartsch in Mrs. Jensen’s class at NRHEG, for example. He’s not content with just being a police officer, but rather wants to be sheriff. Sheriff Lon Thiele better look at retiring soon.
Others like Harper in Ms. Holzerland’s class at Owatonna’s Lincoln Elementary want to follow in the footsteps of their parents. Harper wants to be a mailman. 
I even got stumped with some of them. Wittney Miller in another Mrs. Jensen’s class at Medford, Liam Kremer in Mrs. Ostrander’s class and Frankie Penkava in Mrs. Voss’ class at Blooming Prairie want to be paleontologists. I scrambled for help from my trusty Alexa to find out what that even is. In case you’re in my league, a paleontologist is a scientist who studies the history of life on Earth through the fossil record.
Haven Matyas in Mrs. Bruns’ class in Blooming Prairie wants to be not just a baseball player, but rather a “famous baseball player.”
Meanwhile, Emily Smith, also in Mrs. Bruns’ class, is ready to cross over the Wisconsin border and become “a coach for the Packers.”
One of my favorite responses came from Nolan in Owatonna who wrote, “When I grow up, I want to be the president because I want to change the rules.” Look out President Biden. We can only hope this country won’t be so divided by the time Nolan gets elected to office.
On a side note, I want to share how admirable our kindergarten teachers perform in the classrooms. As I found out during this project, they are true heroes who have incredible patience and tolerance to deal with as many as 20 kids in a single classroom. I can’t imagine doing what they do day after day for eight hours or more at a time.
I hope you will take some time to enjoy what will be the Class of 2034. Our futures are in their hands so let’s do our part by supporting them so they are properly prepared to take on that task.
Join me in going in hot pursuit of celebrating the place where we start learning our ABCs, colors and shapes as part of National Kindergarten Day.

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