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All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten

Yesterday as I stepped into a cafe in my neighbourhood – just after dropping my daughter off at nursery – I discovered a lovely poem they had hanging on the wall on a poster. It’s “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. At first I thought it is just a funny way of looking at life, but the more I read on, the more I understood how true the statement really was. The poem goes like this:

All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are – when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.


How true is that? In school, we really only learn reading and writing and a bit of simple maths (and we would probably have picked this up along the way anyway) and we forget 90% of what we learn there without consequences in later life. Same for university. But there’s not a single thing you learn in your very first years that you won’t need to know later in life. All the basics of human life are there. We just need to remember them!


The beautiful thing was, when I left my daughter at kindergarten in the early morning she cried a bit, but when I picked her up she was so happy and excited, they had had a tea party for the Queen’s Jubilee, she had made and painted her very own crown from materials, she had Union Jacks painted on her face and all the kids there were so excited about the party. Whenever I said the word “Tea Party” after she would point to the British flag on her cheeks and laugh.  It was a beautiful way of proving the poem right.

So please don’t forget:

Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. 

And take a nap every afternoon.

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Ruby Blanks September 4, 2015, 1:52 AM

    I’m a retired kindergarten teacher. I really and truly wish that educators would purchase this poem. I feel that society doesn’t take kindergarten serious

  • Marion Emily LeCompte September 26, 2015, 1:44 AM

    Been trying desperately to locate Everything I Know I Learned In Kindergarten in a poster. Found one in Brattleboro, Vt. back in the 80’s. Had it hanging on my bedroom wall. Unfortunately, I experienced a devastating house fire in the 90’s. Still looking….. can you help?

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