It’s no secret that I may possibly have one of the most entertaining kids around. If you’re a regular reader of this here blog, you’re well aware of the fun that is Jude. It seems like such a shame to keep all that awesomeness to myself, which is why I love to share him with everyone.
Jude has just turned 5 and with that comes the glory that is kindergarten. Although he’s currently in preschool, his current class shares a door (and sometimes class time) with the kindergarten class. He knows that’s a big step to go from preschool to kindergarten and asks me every day when it’s his turn to go. Kindergarten is a huge deal to the preschoolers – they’re the “big kids” of the school.
So in honor of my baby who is so eager to be a big kid, I want to say Happy Kindergarten Day!
But, wait! What does Kindergarten Day mean? Why celebrate Kindergarten Day?
Kindergarten Day is celebrated in honor of the birth of Friedrich Froebel, the man who started the first kindergarten in Germany in 1837.
Developing a kindergarten was a radical idea in 19th century Germany. While schools at that time were rigid and cold, believing heavily in the power of discipline to encourage learning, Friedrich felt that school should use the interests and playful nature of children to guide them through education. Song and play, drawing, arts, and close contact with the natural world were encouraged because he believed it helped “cultivate their inner lives.”
As wonderful as it sounds, kindergartens in 19th century Germany was a radical idea. In fact, it was initially outlawed as being “dangerous to the status quo.” But fortunately, the idea caught on quickly and became increasingly popular throughout the area and spread across the Atlantic. The first public American kindergarten was opened in 1873.
There is a legend that Frank Lloyd Wright’s mother attributes her son’s gift for design and creativity to the model kindergarten she visited in 1876. She was so impressed with the idea, she took a course on kindergarten instruction so she could pass on the experience to her son. Without that kindergarten experience, it’s said, who knows what Frank Lloyd Wright would have become.
So here’s to you, Friedrich Froebel, for taking a leap of faith and making education fun and exciting for our children, filling them with inspiration and a desire to learn because it’s fun. I can only hope that Jude continues to be as excited for each progressing year as he is for kindergarten.