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Kindergarten Couture: 1952

Kindergarten Couture: 1952

Baby boomers, first wave, all born 1946, showing how we were dressed for kindergarten. Notice how we don't look like gang members, convicts or concentration camp inmates. Of course, for class photo day, most of us had probably gotten decked out a bit better than normally, but still. By the following year a new school had opened up in Corte Madera and our class size shrank dramatically. That's me at the bottom right. View full size.

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Being easily distracted didn't appear in the last twenty years. Back then, kids who displayed ADHD symptoms were MUCH more likely to drop out of school or go to gaol then they are now. The good old days, as long as you weren't black, a woman who wanted to be something other than a housewife, or slightly different.

I really dig the cowboy boots on the kid just to the right of the sign. I wonder what were cooler, sneakers or black leather school shoes?

The Good Old Days!

I was in Miss Ingalls´ Kindergarten class of 1960-61 and apparently, on the first day of school I sent my mother away before I even got in the door!! And from that moment on I have so many good memories; the cherry tree blossoms in the playground, nap time on our little blankets, the playhouse! and laying my little dress and matching ruffled socks out for the next day of school every night before going to bed. When I turned 16 Miss Ingalls was at my party! She had married and her name was Mrs. Vining.


I was born in 1943, so that makes me slightly older.

We had a dress code due to the fact that there were a lot of really poor people in our neighborhood. This was to eliminate competition fashionwise. I'm a firm believer in a uniform dress code. Look at the schools which set high standards; all have a dress code.

Girls wore navy blue tunics and a white blouse. There were no jeans or runners permitted for either boys or girls.

Discipline was strict and immediate; parents usually backed up the teachers. We moved about the school in an orderly fashion; double file and no talking. Boys entered one end of the building and their girls the other. Recess was strictly segregated as well.

We sat up straight at our desks with our feet on the floor. No calling out was allowed; we had to raise our hand and be recognized by the teacher. We stood, as a class, any time any adult entered the room.

I never heard of ADD, ADHD or all this nonsense which has become pandemic. You behaved or there was hell to pay.

Nor was there a fleet of personal cars waiting to pick students up at dismissal. There were no school buses for us; you walked or used public transportation. Bicycles were not to be brought to school either. From kindergarten on I walked to and from school; usually alone. This was in a big city of over a million people.

I think, all in all, that we became a very responsible productive generation.

Re: Plaid

My mother, also born in 1946, is always wearing a plaid dress with a white bib in grade school pictures. I asked her if Grandma let the same dress out every year, but she said that her aunt bought her an identical dress every Christmas.

Down Under Wear

With a few exceptions (some of the boys' clothing), all the children were in my 1950 kindergarten class here, Down Under.

A Year Later

I was in KG not far from there in Paso Robles ... and I swear if the sign wasn't in front of your group I would spend hours trying to figure out why I wasn't in the picture with the rest of my classmates. Cheers.

Me Too

Yep, that could have been my kindergarten pic too from the mid 60's. Cotton dress (my mother complained constantly about how much she ironed) little white socks and oxfords. Girls couldn't wear pants, no matter what the weather until 73/74. Kindergarten hadn't become part of public school curriculum yet in my area. If you went anywhere it was church sponsored, which was what mine was. Great time though. Found my first love then. Ahhh...

Born in '52

I still have my KG class photo, too, and I swear some of these same people in the same outfits were in my class in 1957 in Pasadena.

I love Americans

I emigrated from England years ago. The wonderful photographs on this site, no matter the subject matter or point of view, show Americans as they really are--a simply magnificent people.

I can relate!

Don't feel bad about your first day of Kindergarten, tterrace. If you placed me in a room with 37 weepy moms and 37 active five year-olds, I'd run down the street screaming, too...and I'm the teacher!

(There is no way my secondary--grades 6-12 only--history education major/English education minor could prepare me for Kindergarten kids. I used to teach the K-2 class at my church, and those tykes were spectacularly EXHAUSTING!)

Ya like plaid?

There is enough plaid in this picture to satisfy the Bay City Rollers, but as I remember it, plaid signified "back to school" and there were millions of different ones for dresses, sportshirts and jackets (my mom had a full length, multicolor plaid overcoat). I love the eager, fresh faces, the willing innocence open to being taught by the enthusiastic, happy teacher. Best of all, none of the boys look like gang bangers and none of the girls look like prosti-tots, but these were the days of unquestioned obedience, respect and discipline. I hope they all did well, they are a great looking bunch of kids and the world was awaiting their unique talents.

Teacher of stylish, cheerful kids

Her name was Miss Ingalls, a surname fairly common in the British Isles, apparently.

My clothes: I can't tell you how much I wish I had any memories of that outfit; whose idea it was to get it, me wearing it, anything. The main thing I remember about clothes back then was that before I even thought about going in the house after playing in the back yard all day was to dust off my jeans thoroughly, including all that junk trapped in the cuffs.

I wasn't cheerful on the first day of Kindergarten. When the horrible realization suddenly hit me that my mother had gone, not to come back, leaving me there on my own in a roomful of complete strangers, I ran out of the room and down the street after her screaming. I got over it. I wonder what cornball gag or shtick the photographer pulled to get us all smiling.


I grew up in Santa Monica, California, in the 1950's. My school had nearly equal portions of blacks, Hispanics, Asians and white kids. My mother, on the other hand, didn't see another person of any other ethnicity until she was eight years old. She lived in a small Icelandic community in North Dakota. It was, and still is, all about where you lived.

I actually think the teacher might be Hispanic, and Tterrace....I would know you anywhere! Love the boys with their hands in their pockets!


That 70s Class

I started kindergarten in '73. Our outfits were very different. We were much more flammable.

The Innocent

I was born in 1948 and remember my kindergarden then same way; everyone bright and cheerful. Good memories.

37 to 1

Note: 37 kids, one teacher.

Li'l Folks

I do not see obese or too large children as today. All look in perfect health.
One can also guess who will be the seducer, the hard one, l' intellectual.

Lack of 'diversity'

Re: the lack of 'diversity': the country was demographically very different in 1952. Blacks made up only about 10-11 percent of the total population. Hispanics were a much smaller percentage. Not every school will have a predetermined quota of each group, then or now.

I'm of the same age group as these kids, having started school in 1953. It was a different world then. We can't apply today's standards to it.

[And today black people make up almost exactly the same proportion of the population -- a little over 12 percent. So your point is? - Dave]


TTerrace, that is some outfit you had there - western shirt, loose tie with steerhead slide. Doin' the Hopalong Cassidy thing there, huh?

re: re: The caption etc.

My little friend Stanley, bottom row fourth from the right with the cool boots, was Filipino, I believe. And I don't think Fred, third row back on the left, is actually sticking his tongue out, he's just caught in mid-giggle. I met up with several of these folks four years ago at our Redwood High 40th reunion and we all agreed it would be fun to get together and reenact a class photo, but we never got around to it.

So little change

I was born 15 years before these children, my daughter 12 years later. This could have been either of our Kindergarten pictures -- when girls wore dresses even when it wasn't picture-taking day. Notice, only one boy is making a face but he's sitting behind the teacher so he probably felt brave. I agree, a re-enactment would be be really cool. Good luck.

re: the caption

Notice also how there are no African American, Asian, Hispanic, or any other race of kindergartners.

Not that that's the kids' fault, but still.


With a few exceptions, this could have been MY kindergarten picture, in 1984. I guess what goes around comes around in the 5-year-old fashion world.


WOW! Could have been MY Kindergarten picture, but in 1953 (I was born in 1947) and in Keasbey school #8 in Keasbey, NJ. Have you attempted to contact anyone in the picture for a possible re-enactment? Now THAT would be cool!

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