Kindergarten Movement

Kindergarten Movement  Part 1 – Readings A.  Describe the idea you selected from the readings that connects with your thinking or is of interest to you.  (100 words) B.  Describe your thinking that the idea or interest from the readings connects to.  (100 words) C.  Describe why you think the two ideas are connected.  (100 words) Chapter 9 The Kindergarten Movement [T]he system of infant culture . . . was by far the most original, attractive, and philosophical form of infant development the world as yet had seen. —Henry Barnard1 American Beginnings The American public learned about kindergarten from two articles: one by Henry Barnard, in 1856, reporting that he had seen a kindergarten at the International Exhibit of Educational Systems in London in 1854,2 and the other from “Kindergärten of Germany” in the November 1859 issue of the Christian Examiner, the official publication of the Unitarian Church. The second article included a summary of Froebel’s ideas by the Baroness von Marenholtz-Bülow.3 The kindergarten arrived in America before the Civil War during a time when men and women, dissatisfied with American backwardness, were trying to change American society by reforming its education to be practical, moral, and democratic. Kindergartens did not attract the attention and the support of the American educators of the time even though they were described in the educational literature. Some of the reasons for this were that (1) American education was being transformed; (2) as long as the concept of education was seen as instruction in the three R’s and not as development from within of the whole child, kindergarten theory and practice could not be universally accepted; (3) the goals and methods of the kindergarten—self-activity and self-expression— were too different from the existing methods to be accepted wholesale; and (4) America was slow to recognize the value of early childhood for educational purposes, and until it did the kindergarten could have no meaning. Primary schools, like kindergartens, were not part of the school system. They were managed independently, and children had to be seven years of age to enter them and had to already know how to read and write. It was about 1860 that public schools were incorporated into the grade schools.4 German-American Kindergartens (1855–1870) The ill-fated 1848 Revolution in Germany, which tried to obtain more voice and more democracy for the people, brought a large number of Germans to the United States. They were highly educated men and women who were 235 Lascarides, V. Celia, and Blythe F. Hinitz. History of Early Childhood Education, Taylor & Francis Group, 2000. ProQuest Ebook Central, Created from nlu on 2020-10-27 14:21:01. Copyright © 2000. Taylor & Francis Group. All rights reserved. familiar with and shared Froebel’s ideas for a more humane education. Between 1850 and 1870, these German immigrants established private, German-American academies to educate their children and preserve their culture and language, in all the cities where they had settled: New York City; Milwakee; Detroit; Newark, New Jersey; and Louisville.5 These schools stimulated interest in German educational practices. Horace Mann, as secretary of the board of education in Massachusetts, was one of many Americans who visited the German schools in 1843 and reported about them to the Massachusetts Legislature. In addition to the kindergartens in these academies, there were other private, independent kindergartens. Margarethe Schurz (1833–1876) opened a small German-speaking kindergarten in her home in Watertown, Wisconsin, in 1856 (four years after Froebel’s death) for the benefit of the Schurz children and those of relatives, the Jüssen clans. It was an experiment, one of the first of its kind in the United States. Her purpose was to preserve their German cultural heritage and language. She taught the children, in German, the Froebelian kindergarten songs, games, and occupations as she had studied under Froebel in 1849 in Hamburg. This kindergarten closed in 1858 when the Schurzes moved to Milwaukee.6 Another German-speaking kindergarten was established in Columbus, Ohio, by Miss Caroline Luise (Louisa) Frankenberg in 1836, a year before Froebel opened his institution for young children in Blankenburg and twenty years before Mrs. Schurz’s kindergarten. Miss Frankenberg’s trip to America was precipitated by Froebel’s essay “The Renewal of Life” (1836). In it he pointed to the United States as the country best suited for his educational plans. Things did not work out for her in Columbus, and disheartened, she returned to Germany.7 Miss Frankenberg stayed there from 1840 until 1858. While there she taught at Keilhau under Froebel’s direction for six years. In 1847, she was appointed kindergarten teacher in the “Kindergarten of the Women’s Charitable Institution in Dresden,” and in 1852, she opened her own kindergarten in Bautzen, where she encountered opposition from the local clergy—for a total of eleven years.8 Miss Frankenberg was a sister of Adolph Frankenberg, Froebel’s friend and disciple, who had helped Froebel in Dresden during 1838–1839. She had married Professor Marquardt.9 For whatever reasons, Miss Frankenberg returned to Columbus in 1858, to the same house where she had lived before, and established the first practical working kindergarten in the United States there. She and the school were ahead of their time, but she had difficulty attracting many students. To the parents, the making of paper birds, boats, and caps; modeling in clay; marching; and singing were simply child’s play. It was called “the play school.” Children on their way to private or public schools in Columbus never failed to stop and look in the window or door and marvel at children who learned without books. As Miss Frankenberg did not speak English, she had few, if any, American pupils.

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