The History of Kindergarten

     Kindergarten is a classroom program that consists of children ages
three to seven years of age.  The programs range from half days to full
days of school depending on the availability of the school system.  For
most children this is the first step towards developing social skills in a
group setting without the assistance of mom or dad.  Most kindergartens
share the objectives of teaching social skills, self-esteem and developing
a child's academic ability.
     There was a kindergarten in Watertown, Wisconsin, founded by
Margarethe Schurz in 1856. Elizabeth Peabody had established one in Boston
in 1873. But the first kindergarten in the world was founded by a man
named Friedrich Froebel.  Friedrich Froebel was known as the "Father of
Kindergarten"  because he developed the first kindergarten in Germany in
1837 (Colliers). His kindergarten developed theories and practices that
are still being used today in kindergarten classrooms.  His ideas were
that children need to have play time in order to learn.  Kindergarten
should be a place for children to grow and learn from their social
interaction with other children.

     Friedrich Froebel wrote a book based on his theories and practices
concerning the kindergarten environment.  The book was burned by the
German community.  They did not believe children needed to play in order
to learn.  They thought his theories were outrageous. 

     The first kindergarten was established to help children of poverty and
who had special needs.  "Many nurseries at this time would coincide with
the kindergartens which were run by the philanthropically minded women in
order to serve the families of the poor" (Cremin).  These
nurseries/kindergartens would stress the systematic play of Froebel's
philosophy.  Through systematic play the children are able to learn to
discriminate, analyze, share and solve problems. 

     In 1872, kindergartens gained support from the National Education
Association, which in 1884 established a department of kindergarten
instruction.  Through the efforts of many people the kindergarten has
worked its way into many schools, private and public. 

Works Cited

Colliers Encyclopedia, vol.14  1996 ed.
Cremin, Lawrence.  "American Education"  

Prepared by Shelly Ann Richie-Sharp