April 21 is Kindergarten Day, a day of celebration in education across the nation, especially for Columbus, Ohio. In America and throughout the world, kindergarten is a most common form of education for young children, serving as a transition from home to a more formal system of school. Children are taught to develop basic skills through creative play and social interaction. In most countries kindergarten is part of the preschool system of early childhood education.
Did you know that the kindergarten system of education was developed by Friedrich Froebel in Germany in 1837? Kindergarten Day is celebrated on the anniversary of his birth (April 21, 1782 – June 21, 1852). According to Ed Lentz in Columbus: The Story of a City, the first kindergarten in the United States was established in Ohio’s “Capital City” by Louisa Frankenberg, a former student of Friedrich Froebel, when she immigrated to Columbus in 1838.
Kindergarten literally means “children’s garden” in German. The word brings to mind a line from “A Blush of Innocence”:
The heart of a child is an open garden
Where the rarest of flowers flourish and grow,
This original poem was highlighted in an article celebrating Middle School Month, which also involves Columbus, the site of the first public junior high school in the nation, Indianola Middle School.
Most amazingly, I am a 1960 graduate of Froebel High School in Gary, IN, and so I was familiar with Friedrich Froebel, the founder of the Kindergarten system. Until recently, however, I was not aware that the first kindergarten in America was established in Columbus, a city with a remarkable list of “firsts” that have occurred here. Click here to read more about Columbus as a “pioneering city.”
Knowing this information makes the celebration of Kindergarten Day even more significant for those living in the Columbus metropolitan area and throughout the state of Ohio.
Friedrich Froebel, German educator, is credited with developing Kindergarten in 1837. His birthday, April 21, marks the celebration of Kindergarten Day.
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