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The Impact of the Kindergarten Movement on Education

The Impact of the Kindergarten Movement on Education


Little can be recalled when children did not start their elementary in kindergarten. The establishment of kindergartens influenced the ideas and practices of different philosophers, including Robert Owen, J.H. Pestalozzi, Maria Montessori, and Friedrich Froebel. Kindergarten was founded to supplement elementary school, accommodating students below six years. The kindergartens were to support a child’s emotional nature and enhance their self-understanding in a free and interactive environment before imposing adult ideas in their first-grade level. Kindergarten provides an essential time in a child’s life since it gives a child exposure to the real world, and the children can interact with others apart from their parents, including their peers and teachers. Kindergarten develops children’s interest in learning, which is effective throughout their lives. Initially, children were regarded as defective adults who were required to be disciplined to become adults.

Keywords: kindergarten, Industrial Revolution, early childhood education and care, child-centred, preschool

The Impact of the Kindergarten Movement on Education

Kindergarten programs began in the early nineteenth century through the need to educate and care for young children outside the home. The Industrial Revolution contributed significantly to the development of kindergarten for the young population since their parents and caregivers had to work in the factories for long hours. Friedrich Froebel founded a kindergarten, opening the first kindergarten in 1837 in Blankenburg, Germany. He called the school “The Institution for Play and Occupation” since the children were involved in songs, sharing, and playing activities (Gutek, 2011, p. 265). Froebel believed children had high intelligence and the potential to learn valuable lessons by playing. He understood that children aged six and below were not prepared for normal schooling but could acquire self-control, cooperation, and interdependence skills. Froebel also encouraged students to teach professionalism since men comprised the enormous proposition of the profession, yet he founded kindergarten education as a form of mothering. Similarly, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody was the first to open a kindergarten in the United States in 1860 after reading Froebel’s pedagogy and methods of empowering children. After Elizabeth interacted with Froebel, she recommended the United States nationwide kindergartens. In 1873, the first public kindergarten was established in St. Louis, and over the years, kindergartens spread widely (Passe, 2010). The kindergarten movement has contributed to reforms in the education system, resulting in kindergarten integration as part of elementary education.

Summary and Context

Froebel’s vision for kindergarten was greatly influenced by the ideas of other philosophers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, who brought progressive education reforms to establishment a learning environment that would help children utilize their potential to become productive (Muelle, 2013). Froebel encouraged teachers to use more effective techniques and methods to develop children into better adults through stories, music, and dramatic play to promote learning. He also enticed the use of manipulatives and teamwork to encourage learning. Froebel opened a women’s training school to empower women and improve their skills to effectively guide children in their learning since he believed that women were more suitable to work with children in enhancing their emotional skills. The development of kindergartens faced significant challenges due to opposition from some stakeholders. In 1851, the Prussian government closed the kindergartens because it saw Froebel’s idea as extraordinary and that it would lead to a socialist revolutionary movement (Passe, 2010).

After Margarethe Schurz opened the first kindergarten in Watertown for her fellow German community, it encouraged Elizabeth Peabody to found the first English-based kindergarten in Boston, which marked the foundation of kindergartens in the United States. Charity organizations funded the kindergartens to care for the children of immigrant factory workers aged three to six years. Later, Peabody realized that the curriculum based on her institution did not align with Froebel’s practices and methods. Peabody traveled to Germany to learn more about Froebelian kindergarten’s teaching ideas and incorporate them into her institution (Imagine Child, 2021). She acquired relevant skills that led to growth and revolution in the kindergartens in the United States. The industrialization developments in the late 1800s and early 1900s encouraged most mothers to appreciate the significance of the kindergarten (Muelle, 2013). The kindergarten movement has impacted child care from home maternal care to child organizational care.

The kindergartens adhered to Froebel’s program, which promoted an effective learning spirit. The kindergartens were child-centered, which prompted kindergarteners to focus on educational and developmental benefits that directly impacted a child. The kindergartners were responsible for the holistic development of a child. The kindergarten movement became progressive, making kindergarten the first level of elementary schooling. Development in kindergarten has made them society-oriented since individuals regard preschool and kindergartens as the foundation for building well-educated and competent workers. The kindergartens’ benefit of fostering a qualified workforce has promoted social investment in the program due to the cost-benefit of funding early childhood education and care. Early childhood professionals and policymakers used the cost-benefit rationale for the kindergarten curriculum to encourage parents to enroll their children in institutions to enforce learning early and persuade financiers and well-wishers to fund the program to implement the designed curriculum effectively (Michel, 2015).

Numerous changes and reforms have influenced the kindergarten curriculum, where specific subjects were introduced, including music and art, literature, science, and nature study. The subjects taught help children to connect their lives with things in their surroundings. The development in early childhood education led to increased interest in the program, which prompted the development of theories for effective integration of the new kindergarten curriculum. Thorndike and Watson developed the behavioral theory, which called for educators to avoid fostering a motherly love culture in the classroom. The psychologist advocated for a learning environment that supported habit formation or achieving set learning objectives. Dewey developed the social education theory, which encouraged an environment that supported socialization instead of the behavioral theory (Muelle, 2013). Further changes have occurred since kindergarten was integrated into the public schools, where the kindergarten and first-grade curriculum became unified.

Critical Analysis

The kindergarten development and movement have significantly impacted the education sector. Taking children to kindergarten marks the first best step for learning and knowledge development. The kindergarten program builds a child’s interest and skills, which increases their ability to be successful throughout their educational journey. Children learn more effectively in an interactive environment. Hence, the kindergarten curriculum gives a child an opportunity to explore and interact with things that boost the willingness to learn and expand their knowledge. Kindergarten helps children to develop their social skills through collaboration and interaction with their peers when integrating learning activities. Children who enroll in the kindergarten program become familiar with the learning environment, which builds their sense of identity and belonging, eradicating challenges that might arise when registering for grade one without prior experience in a learning environment.

Further, the kindergarten program has promoted reforms in education. Initially, education professionalism was dominated by the male workforce. Froebel encouraged women professionals to integrate the kindergarten curriculum since he believed women had the best caregiving and nurturing skills needed to empower the children in that stage. The development of kindergarten aligns with the biblical perspective. “Train children in the way they should go; when they grow old, they won’t depart from it” (NIV, Proverbs 22:6). The kindergarten program equips children with skills that influence their entire academic journey. The skills or knowledge developed during the young age do not vanish. Hence, children should enroll in kindergarten programs to acquire vital skills and improve their learning ability.


Froebel is the father and founder of the kindergarten program and curriculum. Since the first kindergarten was opened, the program has undergone significant changes and reforms. Kindergarten has become the first step of elementary education, which helps children build their skills and interest in learning, influencing the success of their academic journey. Initially, kindergarten was believed to be an environment where children learn using songs and play. However, since the program’s implementation in the general education curriculum, the purpose of kindergarten has evolved. Children learn specific subjects in the kindergarten program, including music and art, science art, and literature. As individuals paid attention to the benefits of kindergarten, different psychologists and philosophers were interested in developing theories that promote the success of kindergarten. Also, the Industrial Revolution significantly impacted the need for kindergarten since factory workers preferred it as a place where mothers would take their children to be nurtured in their work. Kindergartens have become instrumental in today’s education system in fostering basic skills among learners and instilling effective skills to be incorporated into future engagements. The education system, through policymakers, encourages parents to enroll their children in the kindergarten program to foster learning skills and mentor their behaviors in preparation for their future responsibilities. Enrolling children in the kindergarten program promotes social, emotional, behavioral, and academic development. Students interact and collaborate with their peers, which builds their social skills and equips them with effective academic skills, steering their academic excellence. Children’s behavior is also mentored and trained in how to manage their emotions to eradicate conflicts among their peers.


Gutek, G. L. (2011). Historical and philosophical foundations of education: A biographical introduction (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson.

Imagine Child. (2021, April). The history of kindergarten. Imagine Early Education & Childcare. Retrieved from

Michel, S. (2015). Preschool, childcare and welfare reform in the United States. In The Development of Early Childhood Education in Europe and North America: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (pp. 275-288). London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

More Muelle, C. (2013). The history of kindergarten: From Germany to the United States.

New International Version (NIV): Proverbs 26, Biblica, Inc.

Passe, A. S. (2010). A brief history of kindergarten. In A. S. Passe, Kindergarten in the twenty-first century (pp. 42-43). Redleaf Press.


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The purpose of the Historical Topic Analysis Assignment is to evaluate historical events, topics, and trends and their related causes and effects, especially in the field of education. The topic will also be addressed from a Biblical worldview perspective integrating current course materials and peer-reviewed journal articles. Candidates are encouraged to explore from a historical perspective a topic they anticipate might relate to their future capstone or dissertation project. Candidates research and conduct the analysis. They demonstrate knowledge of educational ideas of the past, consider the relevance of the topic, analyze the topic in light of their own educational beliefs, and critically analyze related actions and beliefs.

The Impact of the Kindergarten Movement on Education

The Impact of the Kindergarten Movement on Education


This paper is based on the topic, guiding question, and preliminary thesis statement you submitted in previous assignments and should be in APA format (see the APA Format Quick Guide).

Length: This paper is to be at least 1,300 words in length from the introductory paragraph to the conclusion. This does not count the title page, abstract, or reference pages.

Citations and References: Cite at least five sources throughout the paper and list them on the reference page. Of the five sources, one of them is required to be the course textbook. You may incorporate articles from your Annotated Bibliography Assignment and other course assignments as appropriate. Other sources may include course videos, academic journal articles, books, and textbooks from other courses.

Structure: You have a great deal of latitude in how the paper is structured, but it should follow a logical progression of thought and the guidelines below. See the Historical Topic Analysis Grading Rubric for required elements.

  1. Title Page
  • Pagination: In APA, all pages are numbered. The title page should be page 1.
  • Title: The title should not be the name of the assignment (i.e., Historical Topic Analysis). It should be a phrase drawn from the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph. It should provide the reader with a hint of the topic and the main idea supported throughout the paper and maybe phrased in a clever, unique fashion. The first letter of all words should be capitalized except for articles (e.g., a, an, the), conjunctions (e.g., and, but), and short prepositions (e.g., of, about), unless they appear as the first word, which is always capitalized. Center and boldface your title and position it near the middle of the page or slightly above the middle.
  • Other Information on Title Page: All other information on the title page should comply with current APA requirements.
  1. Abstract: The heading of the abstract should be centered and boldfaced.
    • Place the abstract at the top of a page by itself after the title page.
    • Do not indent the first line.
    • The abstract is a brief, comprehensive summary of the contents of the paper. It should present the main ideas and main conclusions/implications. Including the main ideas and conclusions in the abstract is much more important than a simple outline of the structure or headings.
  1. Introduction: Do not use the word “Introduction” as a heading for this section.
    • The purpose of the introductory paragraph is different from that of the abstract. Do not simply copy the abstract.
    • In this section, introduce your thesis statement, which will be developed throughout the paper. It is the main idea you are presenting. Save other supporting ideas for the body of the manuscript. Do not overload the introductory paragraph with too many concepts that distract from the key point of the thesis statement.
    • It is best to place the thesis statement at the end of the introductory paragraph. It is typically one or two sentences that serve as a transition into the rest of the paper. Some writers choose to place it as the first sentence of the introduction. Either option is acceptable as long as the introduction is well-written and has a logical progression of thought.
  1. Summary and Context: Centered in bold with all major words capitalized, enter the first Level 1 heading of your paper. (Level 2 headings are unnecessary for this sort of paper.) Use the words “Summary and Context.”
  • This brief section describes and/or summarizes the topic you have chosen so the reader understands the setting in which the topic developed. This is a succinct presentation of events or circumstances that may have influenced the topic.
  • Include transitions that build a logical progression from the thesis statement in the introductory paragraph into the topic and its historical context.
  1. Critical Analysis: This Level 1 heading should be formatted the same as the previous one. Use the words “Critical Analysis.” This section should reflect various perspectives about the topic, including a Biblical worldview lens.
  1. Conclusion: Use the same Level 1 formatting as you have done with your other headings above and enter the word “Conclusion” in centered, bold font. Although your conclusion should include concepts from the thesis statement in the introduction and should have some alignment with the title of the paper, you should not simply restate the thesis statement. Wrap up the paper by emphasizing your main idea and draw a clear conclusion. Typically, a good conclusion does not introduce new information. The conclusion is where you are to discuss the implications of what you have already shared and relate ideas to current educational issues.
  1. References: Starting at the top of the next page after the end of the manuscript, center the heading “References” in bold font.
    • Double-space everything throughout your paper, including the reference page. Do not insert additional extra lines/spaces.
    • Using a hanging indent means that the first line of every reference is left-justified with all other lines of the reference indented.
    • Follow the format below for books. Only initials are used for the author’s first and middle names. See the APA manual for examples of multiple authors, editors, etc.

Author Lastname, A. B. (2019). Book title in italics with only the first word and proper nouns, like Christian, capitalized: If there is a subtitle, the first word is capitalized. Publisher.

  • Follow the format below for journal articles. Both the journal title and the volume number are italicized. There is no space between the volume and issue numbers. (Sometimes, the source provides no issue number. If that is the case, simply place a comma after the italicized volume number.) Page numbers are last without “p.” or “pg.” before them.

Author Lastname, A. B. (2019). Article title in regular font with only the first word and proper nouns, like European, capitalized: Subtitles may or may not be used. Journal Titles Capitalize All Major Words Except for the Articles, Conjunctions, and Short Prepositions, 15(2), 41-50.

  • For the APA format for citing the Bible, see Religious Work References on the APA website. The Bible should be cited in addition to other required references.

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