Consisting of approximately 850 items, the Brosterman Kindergarten Collection is tangible evidence of one of the world’s greatest inventions. Kindergarten, the “garden of children,” was invented in 1837 by German crystallographer, Friedrich Froebel, as a means to teach three to seven year olds how to learn. It was the first and best pre-school ever created. Based upon the patterns and rhythms of growth in nature, kindergarten was designed to teach young children how to observe, reason, express, and create. By the third quarter of the 19th century the system had become internationally successful and “Froebel” schools could be found in almost every country on earth. Architects and artists like Frank Lloyd Wright and Piet Mondrian were greatly influenced by the pin-wheeling, grid-based geometries of kindergarten and the system’s utilization of abstraction as a viable language helped usher in the modern era.
The images shown here give a sense of the visual power of kindergarten. For an in-depth understanding of the history and influence of kindergarten see my book, Inventing Kindergarten, first published in 1997 by Harry N. Abrams and republished in 2014 by Kaleidograph Design.