In Which I Don’t Understand America
Sometimes, I have trouble integrating my German experiences with my American ones. This is one of those times. Let me show you it.
Me (writing in baby book): Hey, where did you go to kindergarten?
Ed: Sabin Elementary School.
Me: You went to kindergarten at elementary school?
Me: Why didn’t you go to kindergarten at…oh, I dunno…a kindergarten?
Ed: …That’s where you go to kindergarten. At school.
Me: The kindergarten is attached to the elementary school?
Ed: It’s part of the school. Haven’t you ever heard the term “K through 12,” or “K through 6”? Kindergarten through 12th grade, 6th grade?
Me: Yeah, but I didn’t know that meant the kindergarten is part of the school.
Me: Don’t look at me like I’m crazy. What about pre-k?
Ed: That’s before kindergarten.
Ed: That’s why it’s “pre-.”
Me: Oh for tuna.
Ed: Well, you asked.
Me: Okay, so what about pre-school?
Ed: That’s before kindergarten, too.
Me: But it doesn’t make any sense! Shouldn’t the sequence be: pre-k, kindergarten, pre-school, 1st grade? Since 1st grade is the first time they’re actually in school?
Ed: Look, I can’t help it. There’s 1st grade, but kindergarten is considered the first grade.
Me: I don’t understand this country at all.