The very first kindergarten was started in Germany, in 1837 by Friedrich Froebel. National Kindergarten Day annually celebrates and honors Froebel on April 21, the date of his birth.
Friedrich Wilhelm August Frobel (April 21, 1782 - June 21, 1852), a German teacher and a student of Pestalozzi, laid the foundation for modern education based on the recognition that children have unique needs and capabilities. He created the concept of the “kindergarten” and also coined the word “kindergarten” now used in German and English. He also developed the educational toys known as Froebel Gifts which included geometric building blocks and pattern activity blocks.
Friedrich Frobel created a play and activity institute as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school.
”His goal was that children should be taken care of and
nourished in “children’s gardens” like plants in a garden.”
Frobel’s thought was to recognize the importance of the activities of the child in learning. He introduced the concept of “free work” into his methods and established the “game” as the typical form that life took in childhood and also the game’s educational worth. In his first kindergarten, the activities consisted of singing, dancing, gardening and self-directed play with the Froebel Gifts.
- Watertown, Wisconsin had the first United States kindergarten in 1856 – Opened by a student of Frobel’s, it was conducted in German.
- Boston, Massachusetts held the first English-language kindergarten in 1860. Poppenhusen Institute is still in existence today.
- College Point, NY was home to the first free kindergarten in 1870.
- St. Louis, Missouri is where the first publicly financed kindergarten in the United States was established in 1873.
Today, most states in the United States offer free kindergarten to children ages five and six however do not make it mandatory while other state require all five-year old’s to enroll. The states vary within their school districts on providing half day or full day kindergarten options. Kindergarten is a fun and memorable time in the “social experience of the transition from home to school”.
Did they or you cry on first day of school? Now that school is almost out for the summer, how have they done thru out the year? Does your school do a graduation for them?