John Dewey had described the influence of Kindergarten on his experimental school at the University of Chicago as follows:
One of the traditions of the school is of a visitor who, in its early days, called to see the kindergarten. On being told that the school had not as yet established one, she asked if there were not singing, drawing, manual training, plays and dramatizations, and attention to the children's social relations. When her questions were answered in the affirmative, she remarked, both triumphantly and indignantly, that that was what she understood by a kindergarten, and she did not know what was meant by saying that the school had no kindergarten. The remark was perhaps justified in spirit if not in letter. At all events, it suggests that in a certain sense the school endeavors throughout its whole course — now including children between four and thirteen — to carry into effect certain principles which Froebel was perhaps the first consciously to set forth.John Dewey with his progressive ideas about learning is ancient history in the minds of some educators. They propose cheaper solutions for things these days. How about we forget teachers and wire the kids indirect to computers? Forget about the hands, they are simply a growing impediment obstructing the human-machine interface. But at one time, Kindergarten had a profound influence on American education. Perhaps the tide will turn. Froebel's theories provided the foundation for educational Sloyd and the folk schools of Finland, and perhaps we will come back to our senses and restore the wood shop to American schools.
The illustration above is from an early book on Froebel's method, on the game of Pat-A-Cake, which some of us played in our homes as children. It was a deliberate, purposeful engagement of the hands in learning... Something that too few educators any longer understand the rationale for. And in the meantime, as we wait for the tide to turn, make, fix and create.
The photo at above is of one of my finished cabinets.