Honouring the first kindergarten created by Friedrich Fröbel in Bad Blankenburg in 1840

“Kindergarten Day” is celebrated mainly in the USA – it is intended to commemorate the birthday of the German educator and inventor of the modern kindergarten, Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel (1782-1852). He was a student of the famous Swiss educator Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827). Fröbel recognised that early childhood was of central importance from an educational point of view – he put his theoretical insights into practice and developed a system of activity opportunities, songs and so-called play gifts to promote the development of children at an early age. His ideas soon spread internationally despite initial resistance.

Early childhood education: play = learning

The educational value of play had previously been completely underestimated from the point of view of the educationalists of the time – Fröbel, however, saw it as a typically childlike form of life and expression. Among other things, he developed special activities and songs to prepare young children for the adult world through play.
To enable people to “grasp” patterns and relationships in the truest sense of the word, he had, for example, three-dimensional basic shapes such as spheres, cubes and cylinders made of wood – today mostly made of plastic, these are still popular toys and learning materials for young children.

Kindergartens as an international success model for child care

In 1840, the first German kindergarten was founded or endowed in Bad Blankenburg (Thuringia). Fröbel established the “General German Kindergarten” as a modern educational alternative to the pure “child care institutions” of the time, based on a balanced triad of education, upbringing and care.
Fröbel’s life’s work was continued by his pupils after his death in 1852. Despite a temporary ban in Prussia, the idea soon spread worldwide. Even today, Fröbel’s pedagogical teachings are still held in high esteem, especially in Japan, Korea, Austria, Russia and the USA. As early as the 19th century, Froebel’s students founded their own kindergartens in the USA. In 1856, Margarethe Schurz founded the first Froebel kindergarten in the New World, in Watertown in the US state of Wisconsin, which then served as a model for other kindergartens in America.

Other special events on April 21st (selection):

  • According to legend, the city of Rome is founded by Romulus on seven hills in 753 BC.
  • The Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés lands on the Mexican coast near the present-day city of Veracruz in 1519.
  • In 1847, the Gendarmenmarkt and Molkenmarkt in Berlin are the scene of fierce confrontations (“Potato Revolution”) as a result of soaring potato prices.
  • Australian stonemasons and building workers fight for the world’s first eight-hour day in Melbourne in 1856.
  • 1960 Brazil’s new capital, Brasília, designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer, is inaugurated.
  • In 1970, the Australian farmer Leonard Casley declares his large estate as an independent “Hutt River Province” to the federal government and the constituent state of Western Australia.
Photo: The little ones are well equipped for kindergarten in our POLOLO "Cordel" barefoot shoes with rubber soles!