National Kindergarten Day is observed on the birthday of Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel, a German educator. Fröbel realized that children had unique learning needs, and coined the word “kindergarten” as a place to grow and nurture our youngest citizens.
Formerly called “infant schools,” the word “kindergarten”, or “garden of children” in English, has been part of our vocabulary for more than 175 years and has become a foundation of the modern education system. The first infant schools cared for kids too young to attend school, but whose parents worked during the day.
While the infant schools were places where young children were given an elementary education such as obedience, fundamental reading, and counting skills. It wasn’t until 1837 that Fröbel opened a “play and activity” environment as a social experiment and experience for pre-school aged children. These “children’s gardens” reflected his belief that “children should be nurtured and nourished like plants in a garden,” and the concept stuck.
Thank a kindergarten teacher today. They take on one of the hardest jobs in the world—providing some of the first formal education your children will be subjected to over their lifetimes.