Childhood Memories Friday: Kindergarten College

Childhood Memories FridayDid you know I was a TV star as a child? Well, maybe that’s overstating things. But, I was on a TV show for a week when I was five.

The show was on Indianapolis Channel 13 each weekday and was called “Kindergarten College.” Each week four different kids were featured with host Nancy Leonard. I honestly don’t remember a lot about it, even though I was on the show and watched it too, but I think we listened to stories, made crafts, things like that.

So, here are the kids from my week, in July of 1970:

Kindergarten College Nancy Leonard IndianapolisI’m in the blue dress. Cute, and I remember the big red strawberry pin I’m wearing – it was probably my mom’s. I do regret my big ‘ol “grandpa” shoes, and how I longed for hair like that other little girl’s, but ah well. Mine was “easy to take care of!” I’m thinking the boy on the left in those snazzy red tennies looks like he’d rather be somewhere else, and what’s up with the other boy’s shirt? Is that camo, or tie-dye gone bad? Also have to love Nancy’s bouffant hairdo and the general ’60s-’70s look of the whole photo.

Kindergarten College Nancy Leonard

Me with Kindergarten College host Nancy Leonard

We made the hour drive to Indianapolis each morning for a week for the filming of the show, which a little online searching reveals to have run from 1957-1973. It seems like a simpler time when a TV show could basically depict preschool, but such was the era.

kindergarten college indianapolis

Here I am, outside the station by the big sign!


Any other Kindergarten College alumni out there?

**I love reading the comments from all you alum out there! Sad to read that Nancy Leonard passed away in 2012.

48 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Kindergarten College

  1. Oh, my gosh, how cute you were! I also had short hair all my childhood and longed for the pretty pigtails the other girls had. I was a teenager by the time you were on this show and I can remember asking my mother if I could grow my hair out. She said, “of course.” I wore it long for years and only recently starting cutting it again.
    Your shoes probably aren’t as ‘grandpa’ looking as you think they were, LOL!
    Ever wonder what became of those other kids? Hmmm, red-sneaker boy probably became a computer nerd in the 80s. He had a dot com that went bust but he’s doing fine now as an accountant. Camouflage-shirt boy had his own punk garage band and manages a music store now. And the little girl with pigtails? She was a Madonna-wanna-be who grew up to be a high-powered executive with shoulder-padded suits.
    Sorry, overactive imagination. I really came by to say thanks for visiting me. I promise to show the progress on the vest and the final product!

  2. I had the long ponytails back then – and I had a habit of chewing on the ends when I was concentrating. Finally, in first grade, my mother cut them off – when I had my school picture taken that year, my hair looked just like ponytail girl’s, then, by the time we got them back a few weeks later, it was as short as yours!

  3. If you google Nancy Leonard, I think she’s alive and well. From her I learned the Pussy Willow song that I’ve taught many a child in Sunday School in the spring time. I think Nancy L. played a ukelele, on occasion.

  4. Gotta love that 1970’s fashion. Those beehive hairdos are such a crack up. Especially when paired with those pointed glasses with little rhinestones in the corners. I don’t know why, but this makes me remember those cat clocks that had the eyes and tail that moved back and forth. Well, I have to say that it is very cool that you were on TV when you were little. What a great memory!

  5. Susan,

    I work with WFYI-Indianapolis, and we are doing some research to find some images of the show Kindergarten College for a new documentary called Indy in the 60s. I was very excited to find this photograph and wondered if (1) you could send a scan of it to us to use in the documentary and (2) if you had any more pictures or knew anyone else who would.

    Thank you so much!

  6. Susan,

    Also, if you had or knew anyone who had a recording of the show, it would extremely helpful!

    Thanks again!

  7. I was on Kindergarten College too! It was either 1969 or 1970. I remember Nancy being very nice. Some of the things I remember doing was show and tell, playing hot potato, listening to stories, and one day a man from the zoo brought a monkey to show us. I so wish there was video from those days! The mother of one of my friends who was also on the show used to have several pictures. Thanks so much for stirring up old memories, John

  8. I was onkindergarten college on jan4,1968 it was taped and shown on tv on the 5 and i have a picture of the host but mine is signed susan little was there more then 1 host ,dont remember being there would love to see the show is there any way to get a copy of the show

  9. I must have been on one of the later shows in ’73. I don’t remember much from that week, but my mom promises me that when I was asked by Nancy who were the people in my family that I ran down the list of usual suspects and added that I had a dog…and he was blue. Nancy apparently gave me a chance to change my story, but I insisted that I did had a dog and that he was blue. What I can tell you is that I did have a dog and that my colorful imagination has never left me. My mom called Channel 13 many moons ago and was told that they no longer had tapes/videos of those fun filled weeks we all shared. Most of us just carry the proof from pictures our parents took and stories that our families insist on telling over and over again. I listen to my 5-year old daughter now and just shake my head as she tells me a far-fetched story with such conviction and wonder where she gets from.

  10. I, too, was on this show with my best friend Shannan. I remember singing “On Top of Spaghetti” and getting to see the room where the weatherman did his segment. I also remember going outside and walking on wood – like a balance beam, but I think it was part of a curb or something. Probably means I wasn’t paying attention and doing what I was supposed to do. I have to say, though, that this sparked my love of the behind the scenes things that go on with television and that I went on to study broadcasting in college.

  11. I,too, was on Kindergarten College many years ago. I am guessing the year was ’63. I seem to recall that our host was a gentleman, not Nancy Leonard who must have arrived years later. I don’t recall many specific details of the show other than one day we had an artist visit the show and he asked me what I wanted him to draw. For some odd reason, I asked him to draw a gorilla. I had that charcoal sketch for many years, but at some point, it became misplaced. Oh, how I wish I had some pictures of those special days.

  12. I did a search on Kindergarten College & ran across your blog ! I was also a famous celebrity on the show πŸ™‚ I don’t remember the year. I am sure my mom has pictures from my brief stint as a TV star !!!

  13. I was on the show as a “special guest” for one episode in 1964 or 1965. And later that day, I got to sit in the TV audience on The Bill Jackson Show. I really wanted to win one of those humongous Tootsie Rolls he’d give out to certain lucky kids in the audience. Oh well.

  14. OMG this brings back memories! I was on the show too- 1967ish. Will have to search my parents house for a picture next time I am back in Indiana. Would love to see more pictures from the show if any one has them. Thanks

  15. Wow!!! I was on Kindergarten College too! My mom has the photos of it and I remember one if them with us behind desks. It must have been in the early 1970’s. Nancy asked me my favorite animal and I told her the elphanant (pronounced that way) and she tried to help me sound it out but I just kept saying it my way. LOL. Too funny that we all found this. I will have to get my mom to scan the picture to me. We should start a FB page. πŸ˜‰

  16. I am another alumni. I remember wearing my slip in the car, then putting my dress on in the parking lot of the T.V. station to make sure I looked crisp and pressed! It was a wonderful week.

  17. I was on the show for a week way back in the early 60’s I do have pics

  18. Anybody know of a way to get copies of the shows? Are they archived anywhere? Has anyone tried this? I was on in probably ’67 or ’68 and my family still teases me about my “interview” with Miss Peggy (?). I’d love to have a copy of that footage.

  19. I was also on the show in 1959 or 1960. I remember thinking my friend who was on the show with me wasn’t paying attention (clearly I was an overachiever) and that we ate melting popsicles during break. Id love to see the videos of that show!

  20. I happened to see your post today about Kindergarten College. I too was on the show in 1970! I hadn’t thought of the show until earlier today when I was answering those questions on Facebook about things people don’t know about me. I couldn’t tell you even what month I was on the show but it was 1970. I am certain I was the shyest little girl on the show ever. πŸ™‚

  21. I just googled “Kindergarten College” while chatting with my 90 yr old mother, and 92 year old dad, and found your blog! I was on the show in 1959. Mom said we had to be there at 7 o’clock in the morning. I must not have minded getting up so early! I would love to see the footage from that week so long ago.

  22. I was in the show as my babysitter was married to the producer in the early 70’s. I remember being mesmerized by the monitor when. It was my time to be interviewed. I think she had a hard time bringing me round. I was in awe ; wondering how do they do that? I am pretty sure I said something embarrassing too! Thankfully I don’t remember…

  23. I was on the show in 1969 with my older brother. I remember saying the pledge, story time, and having a relay race with those bouncy balls that had handles. Leah

  24. Those “bouncy balls” were Hippity Hops. One of the best toys of our generation – or any generation!

  25. I’m not an alumni, but a discussion of the Pledge of Allegiance reminded me that I learned to say the pledge when I was about 3 years old by watching Kindergarten College every morning in the early 1960’s. It’s funny, but that is the only thing I remember about the show! πŸ™‚

  26. Years ago my father was an art director for the TV station. I remember him telling stories about my three siblings being used as the guinea pigs for the first taping of Kindergarten College. Apparently my brother loudly announced that he had to go to the bathroom. We were not asked back. My father said he had
    designed and built sets for the show and also occasionally came on as an artist with smock and beret. He also made puppets used in the show…a lion, a horse and a very sad, balding old man whose name was Mr. Cheerful. Does anyone remember any of these puppets? I would love to have any pictures that might be floating around.

  27. Yes! I was on with Susan Little. I don’t remember when but I would have been 5 in august of 1967. I got a new dress for everyday of the sow. We lived by Monticello IN so we drove over 2 hours every morning that week. I have my certificate and autographed pic of Susan Little!

  28. I was on in probably 1970. The teacher asked whose birthday do we celebrate in December? I raised my hand and said me! Nooooo. Jesus. And there was a Native American dancer that was on one of “my” shows. He was old and in full dress. I had never seen anything like him. I remember asking him if he liked Pepsi? I brought in my wind up time bomb toy for share time. I remember being home and watching this part of the show and they did some wacky camera work with the kids dancing around with the time bomb. I remember being late too and knocking on the door and I went to my empty desk. I remember the moms sitting on the sides of the studio in folding metal chairs and I do remember the big bright lights of the studio. I thought I got fired for being late. Nope it was your one week of celebrity. All these smaller stations around the country should get back into this game!

  29. Wow, I just stumbled upon this. My mom is Susan Little; she hosted the show in the late 60s. She got preggers with my sister and had to leave the gig. Nancy Leonard was her best friend from college, so she recommended her for the job. I was on the show several times; my brother and I were stand-bys in case some kid got sick and couldn’t make it.

    Mom is still alive and well, living in North Carolina. Nancy passed away several years ago.

  30. I was on it for a week when I was 5 too in 1973. Nancy Leonard was our next door neighbor. Lucky me!

  31. Just saw this post. I was on the show, not sure what year but I absolutely loved it. My Mom drove me to the show every day and I remember playing bucket of fun! I absolutely had to have the game! I also remember bringing a friend for show and tell! What fun memories!

  32. Four of my cousins appeared on Kindergarten College in the late 60s/early 70s. Their names were Marcy, Cristi, Dan and David Smith. I wish tapes and/or photos of the shows had been saved as one of my cousins has since passed away.

  33. I was also on the show!! I love that you posted about it. I have fond memories of driving downtown every day, the ball game, and the monster coloring book I got at the end. πŸ™‚ I don’t know for sure when I’m guessing sometime in 1974 or 1975. (I was 5 from August to August.)

  34. Wow! I just had the idea of googling Kindergarten College and found this. I tried to find the show that I was on several years ago (before internet). So glad I saw this. I’d love to find the show I was on. It had to have been January of ’72 bc my mom was pregnant with my brother. The host asked us about our family. I named my mom, brother and sister. Then she asked if I had forgotten anyone, so I named the dog and cats. Then she asked if I was sure I hadn’t forgotten anyone. I said “no”.
    After the taping, Mom told her that I did forget ‘a very important person’ (Dad). In my defense, Dad was working a full time job and taking night classes. Needless to say, Mom never let me forget that. Lol
    Donette Nicholson Pickering

  35. I was on in either 1964 or ’65. Drew an elephant. I’d kill to know if there’s any archival videos stored anywhere. Thanks for posting your memories! cheers, Mike

  36. I was on in 1970. I’d love to find an archival video as well. So far, I haven’t had any success finding any but I’m working on it!

  37. I was also on Kindergarten College, probably in 1963-ish with my neighbor, Curt Gorrelli.
    I looked the show up online hoping to find some footage of the program, perhaps even an episode in which I appeared. I thought my kids would get a kick out of it, i know I certain way would!
    Anyone have any idea how to get the footage?

  38. It was so fun and interesting to find out about your TV fame! Reading what other Kindergarten alum had to say was also a hoot to read. πŸ™‚
    Somehow I had not heard about this special week in your life. You have been blessed with so many experiences that most girls haven’t had a chance to do. I’m quite sure that your Mother realized what a precocious little girl you were!

  39. I was on in January 1971. I remember making Rorschach test-like things with black construction paper and Tide mixed with water. I remember WLWI had a Dutch door and cool vending machines. I also remember paling all the instruments. Especially the cymbals.

  40. I was 5 in 1973 and I LOVED being on Kindergarten College! The thing I remember most was having to bring in a baby picture of myself (and my Mom swearing that I never looked like the picture they got taken and she joked about how I must have been switched with another baby at the hospital! That made a HUGE impression on me.) I also remember the people from Farrell’s ice cream came on the last day and we got to eat one of those humongous sundaes for like, 20 people! My siblings were soooooo jealous of me! And I thought I was a STAR!

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