Tag Archives: Kindergarten

Retro Picture Day Snapshot: 1950s Knollwood Kindergarten

A reprise from 2017 in celebration of that ever so classic school picture day. This one takes us back to a Fair Haven kindergarten class of 1955 at Knollwood School. At one time or another, three different schools housed kindergarten classes in Fair Haven. The pictures? Well, there was always that group shot, no matter where, that captured some priceless looks, fashion and hairdos.  

School bells are ringing. Class is in session. Back-to-school mode is still kicking in. Back-to-school nights have welcomed parents back to the school halls. And, for some, it’s about taking a walk back to their own school days in the same place — like Knollwood School.

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Retro Youth Center P.M. Kindergarten Class Act

There’s been a lot of townie talk these days about: Fair Haven’s little tykes transitioning from third to fourth grade; a bike procession up Third Street in pandemic times; first days in and out of classrooms; fixing up Fisk Street Chapel; and prospects of tearing down what was the borough’s former segregated schoolhouse and integrated kindergarten, now the police station, to make way for updated facilities.

In light of all that talk, we are reprising a 2015 Retro Pic of the Day and reflection on what was the segregated schoolhouse that was transformed into an integrated kindergarten and the kids in the classroom in 1965-66 not long after segregation stopped. This was the last class to go to kindergarten at the Youth Center, now police station and Community Center.

Back in the day — OK, waaaaay back in the day — there was a third school in Fair Haven for kindergarten. It was the Youth Center. People now know it better as the Fair Haven Police Station and by its newly adopted name that hasn’t quite caught on yet, and may never for “older” folks still in town — Fair Haven Community Center. Phooey to that. Some things just need to keep a name for nostalgic purposes alone.

That and it’s just a matter of what sounds like home to you. For instance, my very nice grandmother, a Matawan native, was pretty hostile about the “new” Aberdeen split and name. Paid it no mind. And if forced, said it with “blah, blah, blah” contempt. Back to the Community Center … There, I said it.

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Retro Back-to-School Neighborhood Line-Up

First day of kindergarten in Fair Haven 1965
Photo/Sally Van Develde

A back-to-school reprise dedicated to my first friend, Pam (second from right), who passed away in July, and everyone’s first friend on that first day …

Knock-kneed, nervous and all dressed up with somewhere to go, this gaggle Fair Haven neighborhood girls of 1965 lined up so their moms could get that classic first-day-of-kindergarten shot. And there wasn’t a smile among them.

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Retro First Day of School, First Friend & The Rope

Our annual reprise about that first day of school and walking the rope in Fair Haven is dedicated to the memory of Pam Young, my first friend and Fair Haven neighbor. Pam passed away on July 7 at 60. The memories of her are forever etched in my heart. No one ever forgets their first friend, first neighbor. All the firsts with that special first are indelible. Thank you for knocking on my door that first day and asking if I could come out and play. I will never understand why that lady wouldn’t let us walk together on the rope … I also never forgot. Not a thing …

“But I don’t wanna walk on the rope next to her!” I cried from under my fresh-cut kindergarten bangs. “I wanna walk on the rope next to Pam!”

Pam was my neighbor. She was my best buddy. It was 1965.

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Retro Fair Haven Kindergarten Daze

A Knollwood School kindergarten class of 1956 or ’57
Photo/courtesy of George Martin

Well, school is back in session. Students are settling into the classroom routine. And for some, it’s a new experience. We’re talking kindergarten kids.

While many, or most, in this era have already been to some sort of pre-kindergarten class, that was not the case years ago. In fact, the first day of school really was a first day in a school for kindergarteners. And it could be traumatic for both parents and students.

Yes, it was only half a day of school, but it was all new: the drop-off (or rope walk), the first-day outfit and haircut, the new friends from the other side of town, the teachers, the classroom. All of it.

Then there was the school itself. There was a time when there were three school buildings in Fair Haven.

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Retro Back to School Night: Fair Haven A.M. Kindergarten Posers

Fair Haven kindergarten a.m. class of 1965

School’s back in session and it’s time for students and teachers to rise, shine and show off a little at Back to School Night.

It’s tonight in Fair Haven schools. And kindergarten is the first and best one for kids and parents. First of all, the parents don’t need to tear up and down stairs and speed through hallways to make it to the next class when that bell rings. A little 5K training should be a prerequisite for middle- and high school Back to School nights.

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Retro First Day of School Posers

First day of kindergarten in Fair Haven 1965
Photo/Sally Van Develde

Knock-kneed, nervous and all dressed up with somewhere to go, this gaggle Fair Haven neighborhood girls of 1965 lined up so their moms could get that classic first-day-of-kindergarten shot. And there wasn’t a smile among them.

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Retro First Day of School: Walking the Rope

“But I don’t wanna walk on the rope next to her!” I cried from under my fresh-cut kindergarten bangs. “I wanna walk on the rope next to Pam!”

Pam was my neighbor. She was my best buddy.

It was 1965. Or was it ’64? It was the 60s. One thing’s for sure: Our Fair Haven kindergarten class was the last to have its first year of school at what was called the Youth Center, now the Fair Haven Police Station and Community Center on Fisk Street.

We kindergarteners were also the last to be tugged down the street on a rope, yes a rope, headed by an official-looking police-type lady.

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Retro Fair Haven Kindergarten School Daze

A Knollwood School kindergarten class of 1956 or ’57
Photo/courtesy of George Martin

Well, summer vacation is in full swing and school’s been out for a couple of weeks.

Before you know it, students will be finding out who their teachers are for the new school year and some will be going to school for the first time.

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Retro Fair Haven Kindergarten

Fair Haven Youth Center kindergarten p.m. 1965-66. Class Photo
Fair Haven Youth Center kindergarten p.m. 1965-66.
Class Photo

Recent talk about kids moving on up to full-day school and into middle school from elementary prompted a look back to what Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect thought was the first kindergarten class in Fair Haven at Knollwood School.

It turns out that we were wrong. Many people responded saying that they had attended kindergarten at Knollwood and what was Willow Street School in those earlier years.

We’re not sure if it was that things got switched around a lot back in the late 1950s and into the mid- to late-60s or if, perhaps, it was the morning classes that attended Knollwood and Willow Street or the kids were just split among classes due to that Baby Boom, but we do know that there was a rope and kids were walked to kindergarten at the Youth Center in the borough in 1965-66.

So, the Retro Pic of the Day is a look back at that afternoon kindergarten class to which yours truly, your editor, was toted daily at the tender young age of 5. Yikes.

There are a few familiar faces in this photo. Some are still in the area. One is a popular funeral director. Another just recently wrote a book and has a younger brother who is a popular landscaper/photographer.

Oh, and the teachers were Mrs. Oliverson and Mrs. Wikoff (sp?).

Recognize anyone?

— Elaine Van Develde

Retro Fair Haven Kindergarten

That first year of school has always been a major milestone.

In Fair Haven, kids in the 1960s walked on a rope to kindergarten at what was called the Youth Center, now the Fair Haven Police Station.

The rope was traumatic for those of us who weren’t allowed to walk beside our best friends. And the official lady toting the rope-load of us, Mrs. McDaniel, was kinda scary to us little cretins.

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