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A Look at the Kinder Garten

The Kinder Garten was instituted in Germany about thirty years, ago. Its founder was Frederic Froebel. Its name implies what it is, a school for children. No books are used, but instruction is imparted by stories, games, objects, and some light physical labor, to which must be coupled the fact that each child has a little garden in the school grounds, appropriated to its sole use, where it can indulge in horticultural tastes to its fullest extent.

Friedrich Fröbel

Friedrich Fröbel

The institution, we are told, was for awhile looked upon as a Quixotism of the founder, but when it turned out to be but the inception of a grand educational plan, afterwards propounded, it quickly became popular, and is now almost inseparable from the German schools of higher grade. The design of the author was to separate the knowledge or thought of study from the early acquirements of youth.

The interior of one of these schools is described by visitors to them as a great curiosity In one at Bremen the children are arranged in classes, and have patterns before them for everything they do, the teacher superintending the labor, and every pains is taken to impart as much elementary instruction as possible. The moment the pupil shows signs of fatigue or uneasiness the employment is changed. All weariness is avoided. The room for exercises is very large, and neatly ornamented. The boys and girls all enter promiscuously and are ordered to assume some position corresponding to the story the teacher is about to tell. It may be that of a regiment, as the teacher narrates the incidents of a certain battle. First comes a battle song, in which all join. Then the battle commences in earnest. After the victory a peaceful tale is narrated in verse, all joining in the chant and all assuming attitudes to suit the different styles of narration and subjects. So the exercises are continually varied, and the child learns while amusing itself.

Certain doctors, more sensitive on such matters than sensible, think that religious instruction is too much neglected in these schools. They do not object to the training as far as it goes, nor the complete code of morals adopted for their control; but, oh! the infant should learn metaphysics, and the doctrine of Christianity, and many other such things which not only belong to mature years, but which, alas! are even then too deep for human comprehension.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Women’s Suffrage Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily (1849-1856), National Citizen and Ballot Box (1878-1881), The Revolution (1868-1872), The New Citizen (1909-1912), The Western Woman Voter (1911-1913), The Woman’s Tribune (1883-1909) and the antisuffrage newspaper, The Remonstrance (1890-1913).

Source: The Revolution, July 16, 1868
Image Source: Mother’s songs, games and stories: Fröbel’s “Mutter-und Kose-Lieder” (1888)

All images included in blog posts are from either Accessible Archives collections or out of copyright public sources unless otherwise noted. Common sources include the Library of Congress, The Flickr Commons, Wikimedia Commons, and other public archives.

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