How Old Is This Kindergarten ?

Friedrich Fröbel opened the first kindergarten on 28 June 1840 to mark the four hundredth anniversary of Gutenberg's invention of movable type. Fröbel created the name and the term Kindergarten for the Play and Activity Institute, which he had founded in 1837 in the village of Bad Blankenburg, in the small, former principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Thuringia, Germany. The first kindergarten in the United States was founded in Watertown, Wisconsin by Margarethe (Meyer) Schurz (wife of activist/statesman Carl Schurz) in 1856. It was based on Fröbelite principles that she had learned about in Europe. Schurz's older sister, Bertha Meyer Ronge, had opened "Infant Gardens" in London (1851), Manchester (1859), and [Leeds] (1860). Margarethe Schurz initially taught five children in her home (including her own daughter, Agatha) in Watertown, Wisconsin. Her success drove her to offer her education to other children as well. While Schurz's first kindergarten was German-language, she also advocated the establishment of English-language kindergartens. She is credited with converting Elizabeth Peabody to the Fröbel philosophy at a meeting in Boston in 1859. Later that year, Peabody founded the first English-language kindergarten in America in Boston, following Schurz's model. The first free kindergarten in America was founded in 1870 by Conrad Poppenhusen, a German industrialist and philanthropist who settled in College Point, NY, where he established the Poppenhusen Institute, still in existence today. The first publicly financed kindergarten in the United States was established in St. Louis in 1873 by Susan Blow.

 

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