Wednesday, May 11, 2016

on the history of Kindergarten

History of Kindergarten Trailer from Match Frame Creative on Vimeo.

Today the Clear Spring School elementary school students are camping. My upper students will be working on independent projects and finishing their guitars. In my won shop, I plan to begin making necks for Ukuleles.

The video above is a trailer for Scott Bultman's Kindergarten history film project which is currently underway. I may play a small part in it related to the effects of Kindergarten on the development of the manual arts. My own Kindergarten project, Toys that Teach, is in the editorial stage with my editor digging through the many files and photos I've prepared, trying to arrange all the material  into a publishable form.

One of the big problems in the introduction of Kindergarten came when they attempted to superimpose the kindergarten method onto classes of the size routinely formed by school boards in other subject areas. It was assumed that because you could stick 30 students into a lecture class, you could do the same with Kindergarten age students.

But anyone with practical experience doing real things in the real world would understand the necessity of working in much smaller groups. In the photo showing Kindergarten children in Keene, New Hampshire, all thirty children have their Froebel blocks and boxes for them laid out on their desks, making a display of their use of Froebel's materials, but with teachers and school board having missed a very important point. What might work very well with 5 students or even ten, becomes unmanageable with 20, 25, or 30 in increasing degree, and the pleasure on both sides (for teachers and students)  in the use of Froebel's gifts, is quickly lost when the sense of discovery is overwhelmed by ritualized management of their use.

Scott Bultman shed some additional light on the photo above. The table at the center of the group of Kindergarten students was where the teacher, shortly before, had demonstrated the form that the children were to build. The circle and lines painted on the floor were for the morning circle, a ritual performed each day by gathering the children on the floor around it.

In order to serve children well, we must hire and train many more teachers than schools are willing.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the love of learning likewise.

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