Friday, June 10, 2016

the effects of kindergarten

I am trying to do a bit of writing about the effects of Kindergarten to finish up my book Toys that Teach, and it's hard to get my clumsy paws around the full scope of the impact Froebel's kindergarten had. Here's the deal in a nutshell. Kindergartens exactly as Froebel intended were a major force for change, but that change did not last. The idea behind kindergarten was misunderstood and rejected by some and partially understood and mis-applied by others.

Some thought that the gifts themselves would have enormous powers of awakening the young, and others used to gifts to establish routines that could themselves be just as oppressive as the rote learning children had faced in the first place.The gifts, too, were only a small part of what Freobel had in mind. Nature studies, music, finger play, gardening, and so many other natural forms of childhood play took their place in the Kindergarten scheme.

Much of what I need to write has already been written in this blog, so I'll be searching and organizing for a time. In his laboratory school at the University of Chicago, Dewey spoke of the influence of kindergarten 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 courses--now including children between four and thirteen--to carry into effect certain principles which Froebel was perhaps the first consciously to set forth.
In the woodshop, I've finished 20 pins of the type shown in the photo above, and I'm busy getting tools and materials ready for 9 days teaching in Indiana at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking.

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

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