National Kindergarten Day

Thank a kindergarten teacher today. Source: Pixabay. For illustrative purposes.

21 April is National Kindergarten Day, a day that honours Wilhelm August Frobel – who is credited with starting the first Kindergarten in 1837 in Germany.

Frobel, who lived from 21 April 1872 to 21 June 1852, was a German teacher and a student of Johann Pestalozzi. He laid the foundation for modern education, recognising that children learn through play and experience.

The first kindergarten (which means ‘garden for the children’) was developed in Blankenburg, Germany in 1837. It fostered Frobel’s social experience for children, and allowed them to transition easily from home to school. His unorthodox methods were eventually banned by the Prussian government, but the rest of the world – including the United States – was more open to the kindergarten idea .

The first American kindergarten was opened in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1856 by Margarethe Schurz. This kindergarten was a German language class – as were many in this region. Kindergarten eventually found its way into private English-speaking institutions across the country, but it was not until 1873 that it became part of the public school system.

To celebrate today, say thank you to a kindergarten teacher in your area. Share your kindergarten memories using #NationalKindergartenDay on social media.

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Adéle Bloem

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