The first kindergarten opened in Blankenburg, Germany, in 1837. Friedrich Froebel (1782–1852) designed this system to offer a preschool education to young children in a less formal environment. His plan was to offer an organized setting in which children's creativity and play instincts were nurtured in a constructive and supervised manner. He believed that children could be taught to become better, more cooperative learners through the use of tools like songs, stories, games, and other group activities. The central idea of his theory was that a good education starts with learning creative expression and social cooperation. This concept had a direct influence on American school systems. In 1856 the first American kindergarten was founded in Watertown, Wisconsin, and by the end of the nineteenth century it had become a standard part of the American educational philosophy.
Further Information: Bartleby's Bookstore. [Online] Available www.bartleby.com/65/fr/Froebel.html, October 23, 2000; Goode, Clancy. The World of Kindergarten. Los Angeles: W. Ritchie Press, 1970.