Milton Bradley's Kindergarten Materials: Gift No. 4

Milton Bradley's Kindergarten Materials: Gift No. 4

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Description
The concept of Kindergarten was developed in Germany by Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852), a student of Swiss educator Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. Froebel’s German kindergartens encouraged children to enjoy natural studies, music, stories, play with manipulative learning toys. He recommended teachers use geometric shapes and crafts for teaching and advocated the use of ‘gifts’ or playthings in the form of geometric shapes to promote learning and occupations or activities. Froebel also incorporated learning through expression, systematized play and social imitation. The first kindergarten opened in Germany in 1837; the first in the US was opened by Margarethe Schurz to a German speaking community in Wisconsin in 1856. In 1860, Elizabeth Peabody opened the first English speaking kindergarten in Boston. Over time, kindergarten was introduced into public schools with the changed purpose of providing an early academic foundation for 5 and 6-year old children preparing for 1st grade.
This cherry wood box at one time contained the fourth “gift” in the series manufactured by the Milton Bradley Company. The container is a small, square varnished cherry wood box with a removable sliding top and a slightly faded dark blue label on one side. This box however is missing all its wood blocks. They may have been put away after play in the enlarged Gift 6 box which appears to have more than it should of this size blocks.
Milton Bradley Company was established in 1860 by Milton Bradley (1836-1911). A mechanical draughtsman and patent agent interested in lithography, board games and puzzles, Milton Bradley became interested in the kindergarten movement after he attended a lecture by Elizabeth Peabody in 1869. Elizabeth and her sister Mary, who was by then the widow of educator Horace Mann, were devoted to promoting Froebel’s philosophy of creative play for pre-school children and helped spread of the Kindergarten Movement to America’s cities. These “gift boxes” are examples of school equipment made by Milton Bradley sometime between 1880 to 1900 for use in kindergartens. Milton Bradley produced educational materials free of charge for the kindergartens in his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts and was committed to developing kindergarten educational materials such as these gifts, colored papers and paints.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
kindergarten blocks container
date made
ca 1880-1900
maker
Milton Bradley Company
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Springfield
Physical Description
varnish (container, including lid material)
paper (label material)
wood, cherry (container including lid material)
ink (label material)
Measurements
overall: 6.2 cm x 6.5 cm x 6.5 cm; 2 7/16 in x 2 9/16 in x 2 9/16 in
ID Number
2014.0244.373
accession number
2014.0244
catalog number
2014.0244.373
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Richard Lodish American School Collection
subject
Education
Kindergarten
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Education
Women Teaching Math
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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