Saturday, August 22, 2015


The following from Nina C. Vandewalker's historical treatise The Kindergarten in American Education, 1907.
The kindergarten movement is one of the most significant movements in American education. In the fifty or more years that have passed since the first kindergarten was opened in the United States education has been transformed, and the kindergarten has been one of the agencies in the transformation. Although it came to this country when the educational ideal was still in the process of transformation, its aims and methods differed too radically from the prevailing ones to meet with immediate acceptance. The kindergarten is, however, the educational expression of the principles upon which American institutions are based, and as such it could not but live and grow upon American soil, if not in the school system, then out of it. Trusting to its inherent truth to win recognition and influence, it started on its educational mission as an independent institution, the embodiment of a new educational ideal. Its exponents proclaimed a new gospel — that of man as a creative being, and education as a process of self-expression. They substituted activity for the prevailing repression, and insisted upon the child's right to himself and to happiness during the educational process. They emphasized the importance of early childhood, and made the ideal mother the standard for the teacher. They recognized the value of beauty as a factor in education, and by means of music, plants, and pictures in the kindergarten they revealed the barrenness of the old-time schoolroom. By their sympathetic interpretation of childhood, their exaltation of motherhood, their enthusiasm for humanity, and their intense moral earnestness they carried conviction to the educational world. The kindergarten so won its way to the hearts of the people that the school at last opened its doors and bade it welcome. It has become the symbol of the new education.
 At this point, however, kindergarten has evolved as simply an earlier time in which to push reading., worksheets and standardized tests. Its role is no longer that which Froebel envisioned. And to restore our understanding of what Froebel envisioned is actually quite important to the life of our nation and the lives of our children. Kindergarten should not be made to be more like the humdrum experience of upper school disengagement. All schooling should become like that which Froebel exercised in the invention of Kindergarten.

Make, fix and create. Do so in a manner in which others of all ages may be encouraged to discover their own creative capacities.

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