Profile America — Saturday, April 21st. Today marks the birthday of a German educator most Americans have never heard of but whose ideas about how young children learn have had a profound effect on many generations. His name was Friedrich Froebel, born in 1782. He believed that directed play was an important part of each child's education — a theory that led to the establishment of the first kindergarten — literally, "children's garden." The first kindergarten in a U.S. public school opened in St. Louis, Missouri in 1873. Today, underlining the acceptance of Froebel's ideas across the country, 3.8 million youngsters go to public school kindergarten each day. And nearly a half million more attend private kindergartens. You can find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at www.census.gov.
Sources: Chase's Calendar of Events 2012, p. 227 Statistical Abstract of the United States 2012, t. 225
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